The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday directed the Chandigarh Administration to explore the possibility of setting up a separate forensic science laboratory for Chandigarh so that reports in important cases are not delayed.
The directions came from a division bench after finding that the forensic reports of samples of confiscated nicotine-laced products sent to the forensic science laboratory after conducting raids at hookah bars in Chandigarh in 2012 had not yet come.
Chandigarh Home Secretary Anurag Aggarwal, who was present in the court, was asked, “Is it not possible to set up a separate forensic science laboratory for Chandigarh when it takes three years for getting sample reports? You can very well know the value of forensic reports coming after three years.”
However, the court was upset over the Chandigarh Administration’s response in not ensuring issuance of relevant notification for stopping abuse of nicotine in chemical form by hookah bars and other such restaurants despite court orders. In this regard, Anurag Agarwal submitted that the UT authorities had taken up the issue with the Union Home Ministry and had sent several reminders.
But the court said, “For every matter you say the central government is responsible. Then what for are you here? Do you know that children are being affected by the use of nicotine?” The court suggested the home secretary to make efforts for getting the required notification issued by visiting the Union Home Ministry. The court also made it clear, “If you do not pass the notification, we’ll pass contempt orders.”
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by the Burning Brain Society of Chandigarh in 2007. Questioning the unregulated sale and supply of nicotine’, the petitioner organisation had urged the authorities of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to initiate criminal proceedings against all establishments providing nicotine for inhalation and oral consumption, and to seize all the stocks available in market.
The court was also not satisfied with the status report filed by the Haryana government, and thus, summoned the state drug controller.
However, the Punjab government sought some time to file the status report. The case would now come up for hearing on March 2.