Storage and disposal of seized drugs

Not only is it extremely important to discourage very strictly use and abuse of drugs and other psychotropic substances, arrest those trafficking in drugs, make seizures of the contraband items, prosecute and ensure conviction of the culprits but what to do with the seized substances. Seizures of drugs and steps to be taken thereafter in respect of storage and finally disposal are equally important. In fact, seized drugs throw more challenges to the police authorities and the administrative machinery that there must be such foolproof arrangement for storage purposes as are practically done in respect of valuables in Bank lockers. That is precisely for the reason that looking to the enormous prices of these contraband products in specific illegal markets, the possibilities of pilferage, dilution, theft, substitution and dealing in any other way cannot be overlooked or taken lightly, even least ignored more so in respect of the fear of such drugs, even after their usual expiry, getting out of the ”safe” premises of storage and managed to get circulated out and thus drug abuse getting accentuated.
In this connection, there must be a well defined and procedural mechanism in place in respect of recording of how much, when, what and where drugs have been seized along with their photographs and other evidences of the seizures. It is equally important to see whether any type of damage , loss or theft during seizure, transit and finally during storage do not take place under any circumstances. Maintaining a stock register recording the quantity, type and other particulars as also adequate storage facilities and finally its disposal and destruction are most dominant factors. It is very important as to how such seized drugs were disposed and destroyed after the relevant case to a seizure was decided in a Court. There must not only be a dual control or that of duly designated officers over storing of the drugs during the course of trial or as directed by the court but in between regular inspections done by senior judicial officers and other authorities. In this connection, there are, however, explicit directions from the Supreme Court as also from the Union Government in respect of all the aspects referred to herein.
It is astonishing that such directions are not complied with as has recently been revealed through an order passed by the Principal Sessions Judge Udhampur wherein it is pointed out that no change having taken place in the then state and now the UT of Jammu and Kashmir during the past three decades in the matter as the seized items continued to be dumped in the Police Malkhanas very casually. Not only are such seized substances pack dumped there but were emitting foul smell and being under charge of a mere Head constable like observations were made by the Judge which could be taken as symbolic of state of affairs in respect of storage and disposal/destruction of the seized items of contraband products.
It is hard to believe that not only even Drugs disposal Committees are not formed but special Malkhanas for storage as per the Apex Court directives too are not designated thus vulnerability to various associated risks being more, the UT Government especially the top Police authorities must take the observations of the Principal Sessions Judge Udhampur as a wakeup call to take immediate remedial steps towards total compliance of the directives of the Apex Court coupled with the standing instructions of the Union Government in the matter as it relates to drugs and associated issues of sensitive nature.