Alarmed over drug trafficking and abuse, Himachal Pradesh High Court Thursday laid down broad parameters for a comprehensive policy framework to crack-down the peddlers and also create mass awareness about its serious ill-effects. Handing down a 15-page order, a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Sandeep Sharma asked the state’s Advocate General Ashok Sharma to apprise the chief minister Jai Ram Thakur about concerns of the court and a need for framing a policy. The mere actions and seizures of the drugs will not serve the purpose to eradicate the problem, it said.
“A policy needs to be framed for complete eradication of drug menace by the state/union, but we, being Constitutional Court, having noticed its glaring aspect definitely cannot be mute spectator and, as such, think it is fit to direct the Chief Secretary to apprise Chief Minister on orders of the court so that he can discuss the matter in the council of ministers to take follow-up steps ” the bench said.
The order also said chapters like ‘ill-effects of use of Psychotropic Substances’ may be introduced in curriculum of the school going children and at least twice a month, there should be expert counseling on the matter in educational institutions. It also added that the Authorities of the Educational Institutions should make efforts to identify the victims of such drug abuse and provide them counseling so that they are dissuaded from such activity.
“The government may also consider hiring services of some Research Agencies, who in turn may advise/recommend alternate use, especially medicinal use so that local residents, involved in illegal trade of cannabis are instead motivated to use cannabis plants for producing some medicines or other substance which can be used legally,” the order said.
It underlined the need to amend the Panchayati Raj Act, wherein the office bearers should be made accountable if any wild growth of cannabis /or cultivation is noticed and also cash award should be awarded to the panchayats which are free from cannabis or psychotropic substances. The bench also added that informers will not only be awarded cash rewards but security as well.
The order added, schools/colleges and shops nearby should be raided randomly so that no Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance is made easily available to the young generation.
In its harsh observations the bench said ” we are unable to understand that how mighty state/union can succumb or express its helplessness to deal with the handful of drug paddlers, who under the patronage of certain influential people, be it in service or in political life, has been able to thrive at the cost of thousands of lives”.