In a major step towards checking drug addiction among inmates inside the jails, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh Administration to take a decision on evolving a mechanism for “ensuring that the urine and blood tests of every jail inmate can be conducted” to find if they are addicted to drugs and need to be referred to de-addiction centres.
The division bench of Justices Surya Kant and Sudhir Mittal, which has been monitoring the official efforts to curb drug abuse in the region through the Bhola drug case, has asked the chief secretaries of the two states and the advisor to the Chandigarh Administration to convene meetings with the respective stakeholders for the purpose and place the decisions on record before the bench on January 31.
In October, bar members before the division bench had suggested that urine and blood test of every inmate should be conducted as soon as they are brought in the jail and such examinations should also be conducted periodically to verify whether the inmates are drug addicts.
The division bench had then asked the states and UT to conduct the medical check up of all inmates for the purpose.
Meanwhile, the division bench has also asked the Punjab government to file a response on the report of an inquiry, submitted in a sealed envelope, conducted by the Ludhiana Chief Judicial Magistrate on the alleged attack on a doctor inside the district jail in September. Dr Swarandeep Singh had alleged he was attacked for refusal to provide intoxicants to an inmate and that it was done in collusion with the jail staff.
The High Court has also asked the Centre to prepare model rules regarding the establishment of de-addiction and rehabilitation centres under the Mental Health Care Act at the earliest and circulate them among the states to allow them to frame them the rules on that pattern.