Govt sleeping over HC directives on setting up of exclusive forensic labs for narcotics

Existing labs lack equipment for exhaustive analysis of drugs

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Apr 29: In yet another testimony of non-serious approach towards growing drug abuse in the State, the PDP-BJP Coalition Government is sleeping over the explicit directives of the Division Bench of the State High Court regarding setting up of Forensic Science Laboratories specifically to deal with narcotics. Shockingly, the existing laboratories in Jammu and Srinagar are too lacking the equipment for exhaustive analysis of the narcotic substances, which otherwise is imperative to ensure adequate punishment to the drug-peddlers and to check acquittals.
Sources told EXCELSIOR that some months back highest court of the State, while dealing with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the menace of drug abuse, had categorically directed the State Government to set-up Forensic Science Laboratories specifically for narcotics so as to ensure timely opinion in the cases registered under Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPSA).
This was not for the first time that such a direction was issued to the State Government as while expressing concern over large number of acquittals in NDPSA cases due to weak prosecution cases not only the High Court even Subordinate Courts had laid stress on establishment of forensic laboratories especially to deal with narcotics, sources informed.
However, till date the directives of the highest court as well as other courts of the State have not been taken seriously by the State Government in general and Home Department in particular, sources said, adding “what to talk of initiating steps on ground even a formal proposal for implementing the orders of the High Court has not been prepared till date”.
This is evident from the fact that only few days back Division Bench of the High Court, while dealing with PIL on drug abuse, had directed the State to file status report indicating whether there is any forensic science laboratory in Jammu, Srinagar and Ladakh specifically for narcotics and if not what are the steps being taken to establish the same.
Not only on establishment of forensic science laboratories specifically for narcotics, the Government has even failed to provide necessary and advanced equipment to the existing FSL in Jammu and Srinagar for exhaustive analysis of the drugs, sources said, adding “it is only during the detailed examination of the seized drugs that exact quantity of the morphine or other contents can be worked out and the same is of immense importance for the courts while awarding punishment to the drug peddlers”.
This issue was flagged before the Home Department a number of times but till date no seriousness has been paid towards providing necessary and advanced equipment for detailed analysis of the narcotics, insiders in the FSL told EXCELSIOR.
“Though Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) have facility for examination of narcotic drugs yet in the courts the opinion and report of the FSL are admissible”, sources said.
“Division Bench of the High Court had also directed the Police Department to constitute specialized teams to deal with the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances cases but appropriate action on the part of Police Department is still awaited”, they further informed, adding “the non-seriousness on the part of all the concerned authorities towards the directives of the Division Bench is notwithstanding the fact that weak links in the prosecution cases are leading to acquittals in the NDPSA cases”.
It is pertinent to mention here that EXCELSIOR has exclusively reported a number of times that existing FSL will face closure in next two years because of absolute non-seriousness on the part of all the concerned authorities particularly the Home Department and Director General of Police, who otherwise are supposed to play key role not only in its modernization but also making available sufficient and competent manpower.
What to talk of providing manpower at key positions in the FSL, the Government has even failed to appoint full time Director since October last year, when the post had fallen vacant.
The non-serious approach towards the FSL is notwithstanding the fact that forensic science throughout the world has undergone sea change and gained tremendous importance in justice delivery system.