PIL regarding drug abuse in J&K
JAMMU, Oct 11: In a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by law student Atharv Mahajan seeking initiation of a special drive by J&K Police for checking the growing menace of drugs, Division Bench of High Court comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal has directed AAG Raman Sharma to file fresh status report with regard to the disposal of seized contraband in NDPS cases from the year 2016 till date and functioning of Forensic Science Laboratory in the UT.
When the PIL came-up for hearing, Division Bench observed, “from time to time, different status reports have been filed by the respondents and latest being an affidavit dated 16.06.2021 filed by Special Director General of Police, Crime Branch pursuant to the direction dated 22.04.2021”.
“A perusal of the affidavit reveals that by the each passing year, there is increase in registration of FIRs in NDPS cases consequently leading to increase in seizure of contraband. In the affidavit, details have also been mentioned with regard to the poppy/bhang crops having been destroyed from the year 2016 till 2021. Further, UT Government has constituted a separate wing—Anti-Narcotic Task Force (ANTF) and various steps have been taken by the Government for creating awareness about the drug menace”, the DB said.
“In view of the status report, it cannot be said that the respondents are not taking any steps for controlling/curbing the drug menace prevalent in the society. However, Deepika Mahajan submits that despite various efforts having been undertaken by the Government, drug menace is yet on the rise and there are certain hubs those are known for promoting the drug culture. She further submits that no report has been furnished by the respondents with regard to the disposal of the seized contraband”, the DB further said.
DB observed, “it needs to be noted that continuous efforts are required to be made to check the menace of drugs and for that purpose role of the Police is very important”. Accordingly, DB directed that the respondents shall resort to the provisions contained in Section 52-A of NDPS Act with regard to the disposal of the seized contraband.
“The regular surveillance be maintained/undertaken, particularly in the areas, those are being frequently visited by the youngsters, particularly the students so that the drug culture does not spread among the younger generation and while doing so no harassment shall be caused to them”, the DB further said and directed that proper training be imparted to the Investigating Officers as this court has come across number of cases, in which the accused earns acquittal just because of non-compliance of the mandatory provisions of the NDPS Act and also Investigating Officers be made aware about placing of the seized contraband in a safe custody, particularly from the date of seizure till the samples are sent to FSL for chemical analysis.
DB further directed AAG to file fresh status report with regard to the disposal of seized contraband in NDPS cases from the year 2016 till date and functioning of Forensic Science Laboratory in the UT of J&K. “Let both the status reports be filed before the next date of hearing”, DB added.