Fall­ing in the grip of drug abuse

The Ut­tarak­hand High Court gives stern di­rec­tions to curb drug ped­dling and con­tain it from fur­ther spread­ing.

Alive - - News - by S. Sirohi

It has to be said at the very out­set with a lot of ap­pre­ci­a­tion that in the land­mark case of Manoj Singh Pawar v State of Ut­tarak­hand & oth­ers Writ Pe­ti­tion (PIL) No. 156 of 2016 which was de­liv­ered on June 18, 2018, the Ut­tarak­hand High Court is­sued a slew of land­mark di­rec­tions to check drug ped­dling and abuse in the state.

We all know that drug ped­dling and abuse has be­come a very com­mon phe­nom­e­non. It has to be checked from spread­ing fur­ther so that the dam­age can be con­tained from fur­ther spread­ing.

As it turned out, the Bench com­pris­ing Jus­tice Ra­jiv Sharma and Jus­tice Lok Pal Singh specif­i­cally took note of drug abuse in ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, pre­vail­ing so ram­pantly. It di­rected the State to en­sure that a po­lice­man in plain clothes is sta­tioned around each ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tute from 8 am to 6 pm. It fur­ther di­rected all ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes in the State to en­sure ap­point­ment of the se­nior­most teacher as the nodal of­fi­cer to coun­sel stu­dents ev­ery Fri­day on the ill ef­fects off drugs.

Liquor Vends

Sim­ply put, the present pe­ti­tion has been filed by the pe­ti­tioner, Mr Manoj Singh Pawar high­light­ing the open­ing of liquor vend right in the heart of Almora town in the close prox­im­ity of Dis­trict Hos­pi­tal, op­po­site the Gov­ern­ment Mu­seum and Govt. Girls In­ter Col­lege and bus stand. Mr Manoj had drawn the Court’s at­ten­tion to the fact that the es­tab­lish­ment of liquor vends is reg­u­lated and con­trolled un­der the Ut­tar Pradesh Num­ber and Lo­ca­tion of Ex­cise Shops Rules, 1968 which bars open­ing of such vends in close prox­im­ity of places of public wor­ship, schools, hos­pi­tals or res­i­den­tial colonies. Sim­i­lar in­struc­tions had been is­sued by the State as well.

Briefly stated, the essence of Sub-rule 4 of Rule 5 is as fol­lows: “4(a) No shop or sub-shop shall be li­censed within a dis­tance of 50 (fifty) meters in case of Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tions; within a dis­tance of 75 (seventy-five)

These liquor vends should be far away from the ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, busy hubs, com­mer­cial cen­ters, hos­pi­tals, fac­to­ries, tem­ples etc.” Very rightly said! There can be no deny­ing it! Truth be told, the Bench then en­larged the scope of the pe­ti­tion in larger public in­ter­est to en­sure that no liquor vend is is­sued li­cence, opened, and op­er­ated in con­tra­ven­tion of these rules.

meters in case of Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cils and Na­gar Pan­chayat; and within a dis­tance of 100 (one hun­dred0 meters in other ar­eas from any place of public wor­ship or schools or hos­pi­tals or res­i­den­tial colony:

Pro­vided that if any place of public wor­ship, school, hos­pi­tal, res­i­den­tial colony comes into ex­is­tence sub­se­quent to the es­tab­lish­ment of shop or sub-shop, the pro­vi­sions of this rule shall not ap­ply:

Pro­vided fur­ther that the dis­tance re­stric­tion shall not ap­ply in ar­eas des­ig­nated as “com­mer­cial” or “in­dus­trial” by the de­vel­op­ment au­thor­ity/in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment au­thor­ity or other com­pe­tent au­thor­ity.

(b) The dis­tance re­ferred in clause (a) shall be mea­sured from the mid­point of the en­trance of the shop or sub-shop along the near­est path by which pedes­trian or­di­nar­ily reaches to the mid-point of the near­est gate of the place of public wor­ship or a school or a hos­pi­tal or a res­i­den­tial colony, if there is a com­pound wall and if there is no com­pound wall to the mid-point of the near­est en­trance of the place of public wor­ship or a school or a hos­pi­tal or a res­i­den­tial colony.”

For the sake of brevity, the men­tion of ex­pla­na­tion af­ter Sub-rule 4 (a) has been omit­ted.

Narcotics

It would be per­ti­nent to men­tion here that in view of the pe­ti­tioner’s sub­mis­sions, the Bench ob­served that, “This should not have been per­mit­ted to be done by the state gov­ern­ment. The avail­abil­ity of narcotics in­clud­ing liquor, wine should not be read­ily avail­able. These liquor vends should be far away from the ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, busy hubs, com­mer­cial cen­ters, hos­pi­tals, fac­to­ries, tem­ples etc.” Very rightly said!

There can be no deny­ing it!

Truth be told, the Bench then en­larged the scope of the pe­ti­tion in larger public in­ter­est to en­sure that no liquor vend is is­sued li­cence, opened, and op­er­ated in con­tra­ven­tion of these rules. Dur­ing the course of the hear­ing, it also in­ter­acted with the po­lice au­thor­i­ties in the State, and ex­pressed its con­cerns with re­gard to the avail­abil­ity of cha­ras, heroin and ar­ti­fi­cial drugs to the stu­dent’s

com­mu­nity in the state. It lamented the fact that “drug abuse has bro­ken the so­cial fab­ric and has de­stroyed num­ber of fam­i­lies”, and di­rected the of­fi­cers to sen­si­tize the en­tire po­lice force to en­sure that drugs are not avail­able to the stu­dents.

Go­ing for­ward, the

Bench was fur­ther in­formed that a Spe­cial Op­er­a­tional Group (SOG) has been con­sti­tuted in each dis­trict un­der his ju­ris­dic­tion. It how­ever noted sev­eral de­fi­cien­cies in the ma­chin­ery put to­gether by the State, ob­serv­ing, “There are no spe­cial check posts to check the smug­gling of drugs/narcotics sub­stances from across the bor­der as well as in the bor­der­ing dis­tricts of Hi­machal Pradesh, Ut­tar Pradesh, Haryana. A star­tling rev­e­la­tion has been made by the Deputy In­spec­tor Gen­eral that there is only one Drug In­spec­tor avail­able in the en­tire Ku­maon Range. There are no re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ters in the en­tire Ku­maon Re­gion for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the youth ad­dicted to drugs. There are no suf­fi­cient num­bers of psy­chi­a­trists for coun­selling in the hos­pi­tals. There is no sep­a­rate ward ear­marked for re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of drug ad­dicts.”

Need­less to say, the Court then opined that king­pins of the trade should be booked un­der the pro­vi­sions of Money Laun­der­ing Act, 2002. It in fact went on to di­rect the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary (Home) to the Gov­ern­ment of Ut­tarak­hand to is­sue di­rec­tions to all in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cers in the State to take re­course to Sec­tion 27A (pun­ish­ment for fi­nanc­ing il­licit traf­fic and har­bour­ing of­fend­ers) of the Nar­cotic Drugs and Psy­chotropic Sub­stances Act, 1985 for charg­ing those ac­cused of such ac­tiv­i­ties in or­der to curb the men­ace of drug abuse.

Hav­ing said this, it is now time to dwell upon the manda­tory di­rec­tions which were is­sued by the Bench of Ut­tarak­hand High Court be­fore dis­pos­ing of the pe­ti­tion. Those di­rec­tions are as fol­lows:

Spe­cial Pro­tec­tion Groups

The Spe­cial Op­er­a­tional Groups shall be headed by an Of­fi­cer not be­low the rank of In­spec­tor along with at least 10 po­lice per­son­nel out of which 5 should be women. The S.S.P./S.P. of each dis­trict shall be per­son­ally re­spon­si­ble to mon­i­tor the op­er­a­tions car­ried out by the Spe­cial Op­er­a­tional Group. The Cir­cle Of­fi­cer of the con­cerned Cir­cle shall be the Su­per­vis­ing Of­fi­cer.

The State Gov­ern­ment is also di­rected to launch aware­ness drives to make the peo­ple aware of the ill ef­fects of drugs on the so­ci­ety. The Dis­trict Mag­is­trate of the dis­trict shall be the Nodal Of­fi­cer to make the cit­i­zens aware of the ill-ef­fects of the drugs and con­trol­ling the same. The State Gov­ern­ment shall make suf­fi­cient pro­vi­sions for aware­ness drives through elec­tronic me­dia, print me­dia, in­ter­net, ra­dio tele­vi­sion etc.

Ap­point­ment of Drug In­spec­tors

The State Gov­ern­ment is di­rected to ap­point more Drugs In­spec­tors in each dis­trict in clus­ter of two dis­tricts in hill ar­eas and two Drugs In­spec­tors in each plain dis­trict i.e. Dehradun, Haridwar, Ud­ham Singh Na­gar and plain ar­eas of Cham­pawat and Nainital within three months from to­day.

Check Post on Bor­der

The Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice, State of Ut­tarak­hand is di­rected to set up spe­cial check posts on Indo-Nepal Bor­der to check the free flow of narcotics sub­stances into the State of In­dia from Nepal. The Spe­cial Check Post shall be headed by a per­son not be­low the rank of Sub In­spec­tor. Need­less to add that the check post shall be equipped with the lat­est state of art equip­ment i.e. Scan­ners. The check posts shall be set up within three months from to­day and the nec­es­sary equip­ments shall be sup­plied within this pe­riod only.

Spe­cial Task Force

The State Gov­ern­ment is di­rected to have Spe­cial Task Force (STF) at all the check posts ad­join­ing the State of Ut­tarak­hand i.e. Hi­machal Pradesh, U.P., Haryana etc. to check the trans­porta­tion of narcotics and more par­tic­u­larly ar­ti­fi­cial drugs in the State. The units and check posts shall keep a close vigil on the buses, trains and other con­veyances in the State of Ut­tarak­hand.

Up­root­ing of Cannabis

The State Gov­ern­ment is di­rected to un­der­take spe­cial drives to up­root the cannabis found even in the wild. All the rev­enue of­fi­cers, for­est of­fi­cers and elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Pan­chayat Raj Bod­ies are di­rected to in­form the po­lice about the il­le­gal cul­ti­va­tion of cannabis, opium and poppy in their re­spec­tive ar­eas.

Aware­ness Drives

The State Gov­ern­ment is also di­rected to launch aware­ness drives to make the peo­ple aware of the ill ef­fects of drugs on the so­ci­ety. The Dis­trict Mag­is­trate of the dis­trict shall be the Nodal Of­fi­cer to make the cit­i­zens aware of the ill-ef­fects of the drugs and con­trol­ling the same. The State Gov­ern­ment shall make suf­fi­cient pro­vi­sions for aware­ness drives through elec­tronic me­dia, print me­dia, in­ter­net, ra­dio tele­vi­sion etc.

Lat­est Kits to Of­fi­cers

The State Gov­ern­ment is di­rected to pro­vide lat­est kits to the In­ves­ti­gat­ing Of­fi­cers to in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ters un­der the Opium Act, NDPS Act and other al­lied Acts.

Reg­is­tra­tion of Cases

The State Gov­ern­ment through the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice is di­rected to regis­ter cases against the king­pins un­der the Money Laun­der­ing Act, 2002 at the time of lodg­ing the FIR un­der the NDPS Act and Opium Act and also, if nec­es­sary, by at­tach­ing their prop­er­ties pro­vi­sion­ally re­lat­ing to sup­ply of poppy straw, coca plant and coca leaves, pre­pared opium, opium poppy and opium, opium by cul­ti­va­tor, cannabis plant and cannabis, man­u­fac­tured drugs and prepa­ra­tion and psy­chotropic sub­stances in­clud­ing ar­ti­fi­cial drugs etc.

Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tres in Each Dis­trict

Since the drugs men­ace has at­tained alarm­ing prepa­ra­tion, the State

Gov­ern­ment is di­rected to es­tab­lish Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ters in each dis­trict of the State within a pe­riod of six months from to­day. The re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ters shall pro­vide all the ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties to the in­mates in­clud­ing board­ing, lodg­ing, coun­selling etc.

Psy­chi­a­trist for coun­selling

The State Gov­ern­ment is di­rected to ap­point one Psy­chi­a­trist for coun­sel­ing in each Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter. The Coun­sel­lor ap­pointed in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­ter shall also visit all the schools fall­ing in his ju­ris­dic­tion ad­vis­ing the stu­dents about the ill ef­fect of drugs.

Coun­sel­ing of Stu­dents

All the ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions i.e. gov­ern­ment run, gov­ern­ment aided, pri­vate schools, mi­nor­ity in­sti­tu­tions, are di­rected to ap­point the se­nior-most teacher as the Nodal Of­fi­cer to coun­sel the stu­dents on ev­ery Fri­day of the month about the ill-ef­fects of drugs. In case, he finds any drugs abuse or symp­toms, he shall be at lib­erty to sum­mon the par­ents of stu­dents. The par­ents will be sen­si­tized against the drugs abuse in par­ent­teacher meet­ings.

Po­lice­man at Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tu­tions

The State Gov­ern­ment is di­rected to en­sure one plain clothed po­lice­man from

8AM to 6 PM around all the ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions to nab the drugs ped­dlers and king­pins. The lo­cal in­tel­li­gence units are di­rected to keep a close watch on the shops in­clud­ing Dhabas, tuck shops, Khokas, tea stalls to en­sure that the own­ers thereof are not per­mit­ted to in­dulge in the sale of drugs etc.

Raid­ing

The Drugs In­spec­tor while raid­ing the fac­to­ries, in­dus­tries, med­i­cal shops shall be ac­com­pa­nied by a per­son not be­low the rank of Cir­cle Of­fi­cer in­clud­ing the Gazetted Of­fi­cer from the Food and Sup­plies Depart­ment.

SSP/SP to Mon­i­tor Cases

The SSP/SP of the con­cerned dis­trict shall per­son­ally mon­i­tor all the cases reg­is­tered un­der the Opium Act and the NDPS Act, 1985 to plug the loop­holes dur­ing the course of en­quiry and

in­ves­ti­ga­tion to in­crease the con­vic­tion rate.

Up­dat­ing Mag­is­trates and Of­fi­cers

The Ex­ec­u­tive Mag­is­trates and the Gazetted of­fi­cers through­out the State shall be in­formed about their du­ties to be dis­charged un­der the NDPS Act more par­tic­u­larly, Sec­tion 50 and the lat­est law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of In­dia and by this Court from time to time.

Can­cel­la­tion of Li­cense

The Po­lice Of­fi­cers shall en­sure that no mi­nor is served any drugs, al­co­holic bev­er­ages in any med­i­cal shops, bars restau­rants and through vend. No vend shall sup­ply/sell the liquor to any mi­nor. In the even­tu­al­ity of liquor be­ing sup­plied/sold to a mi­nor, the li­cense is­sued for bar/vend shall be can­celled af­ter putting them to no­tice. This di­rec­tion shall be com­plied with by the po­lice force as well as by the Ex­cise Depart­ment. The con­cerned Cir­cle Of­fi­cer shall visit ev­ery med­i­cal shop at least within 24 hours to check the sup­ply of drugs to any mi­nor.

Ex­am­i­na­tion of Liquor Vend

The SDM, Almora is di­rected to mea­sure the dis­tance as per the Rules and the norms pre­scribed by the State Gov­ern­ment within 72 hours. In case, the dis­tance is found less than 100 meters, the State Gov­ern­ment shall shift the liquor vend within 7 days from to­day at an ap­pro­pri­ate place and if, it is more than 100 meters, it shall be per­mit­ted to op­er­ate

Com­ply with the Law

The Sec­re­tary, Ex­cise to the State of Ut­tarak­hand is di­rected to en­sure that no liquor vend is sit­u­ated in vi­o­la­tion of the Ut­tar Pradesh Num­ber and Lo­ca­tion of Ex­cise Shop Rules, 1968 as well as the in­struc­tions is­sued by the State Gov­ern­ment on 16.06.2008. The nec­es­sary ex­er­cise shall be un­der­taken within one week from to­day.

All said and done, it is a land­mark judg­ment with far reach­ing con­se­quences. It has is­sued most land­mark di­rec­tives which must be im­ple­mented in let­ter and spirit. To check the young age group from get­ting im­mersed in drug abuse, it is im­per­a­tive that these land­mark di­rec­tives are im­ple­mented in its en­tirety.

Dehradun dis­trict recorded reg­is­tra­tion of 305 drug cases and 310 ar­rests this year.

The drugs, in­clud­ing smack, are be­ing sup­plied to Ut­tarak­hand mainly from Bareilly and Sa­ha­ran­pur dis­tricts of UP.

The court or­dered to form spe­cial task force on Indo-Nepal bor­der tocheck the flow of narcotics.

Ut­tarak­hand is also now ob­served in the grip of drug abuse cri­sis.

The Ut­tarak­hand High Court in Nainital.

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