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HC seeks state poll panel response on ensuring ‘drugs free elections’

The division Bench, in 17 petitions out of 27, directed the registry to segregate the applications from the bunch of matters and to be listed for hearing individually, and disposed of 10 petitions by granting the petitioners suspension of sentence.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
January 13, 2022 7:44:24 am
The bench has passed the order while hearing a bunch of 27 cases related to suspension of sentence in NDPS cases. (File)

Pointing towards alleged incidents of ‘drugs for vote’ in elections in Punjab, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the state Election Commission, Punjab, to solicit their response to ensure ‘drugs free elections’.

The division bench of Justice Ajay Tewari and Justice Pankaj Jain, for this purpose, ordered to implead the Election Commission of India through its secretary, in the main case, for January 20, 2022.
The bench took cognizance of the matter over the submission of former Chief Election Commissioner who had stated with respect to 2012 elections that in one month alone recovery of around 55 kg of heroin and around 430 kg of poppy husk was made in the state and that almost every psychotropic substance was found in circulation during elections.

The bench has passed the order while hearing a bunch of 27 cases related to suspension of sentence in NDPS cases.

The division Bench, in 17 petitions out of 27, directed the registry to segregate the applications from the bunch of matters and to be listed for hearing individually, and disposed of 10 petitions by granting the petitioners suspension of sentence.

Further expressing concern over the drugs menace in Punjab, the bench said, “Picture showing gold smoked mustard fields with the proud prosperous farmer used to showcase this land of five rivers. Today, Punjab is related to a portrait of wailing mother holding corpse of her son who died of drug overdose as well.

Statistics relied upon by Justice Tewari are an ode to this fact. More than the burden of over 16,000 appeals pending before this court what weighs in is that over the years, the number of cases has not shown any decline. When this number is pitched against number of working days, in some years the average is more than one appeal per day. There are more than 16,000 convicts under NDPS and majority of them in the State of Punjab. This makes out a case for state to look beyond deterrent measure in the form of NDPS Act and evolve reformative measures as well.”

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