‘Scale Of Drug Usage In Kerala Unacceptably High’ : HC Issues Slew Of Directions To Check Drug Abuse In Schools, Colleges

first_imgNews Updates’Scale Of Drug Usage In Kerala Unacceptably High’ : HC Issues Slew Of Directions To Check Drug Abuse In Schools, Colleges LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK10 Feb 2021 9:22 PMShare This – xObserving that the “scale of drug usage in Kerala is unacceptably high”, the Kerala High Court has issued a slew of directions to control drug abuse among youngsters and students in educational institutions.Notable among the directions is the one given to the State Government to establish campus police units in all educational institutions to prevent drug abuses in campuses. The Court ordered…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginObserving that the “scale of drug usage in Kerala is unacceptably high”, the Kerala High Court has issued a slew of directions to control drug abuse among youngsters and students in educational institutions.Notable among the directions is the one given to the State Government to establish campus police units in all educational institutions to prevent drug abuses in campuses. The Court ordered the formation of the campus units as it found that the law enforcement agencies were not conducting regular checks inside educational institutions. The Court also ordered that State Government should take measures to make it easier for police and excise officials to enforce the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, in educational institutions.”Section 32B(d) of the NDPS Act, 1985 speaks about the fact that offence is committed in an educational institution or social service facility or in the immediate vicinity of such institution or facility or in other place to which school children and students resort for educational,sports and social activities as one of the aggravating factors, which maybe justified for imposing higher than the minimum penalty prescribed for the offence”, the Court observed.A division bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice AM Shaffique took note of an alarming report of the State Special Branch that around 400 institutions in the State are affected by drug abuse and out of such education institutions, 74.12% are schools, 20.89% are colleges and professional institutions, and 4.97% are other institutions viz., ITI, Polytechnics etc.The report of the Special Branch further revealed that in most of the cases detected in the college campuses, the seizure is below 1 kg of ganja, which is bailable, and this encourages a person to engage in drug abuse. Apart from the narcotic and synthetic drugs usage being rampant among the student community, inhaling of noxious chemicals like whitener, ink,fevicol, varnish solution used for repairing tyre puncture, are being used by the students for getting intoxication. The Court observed that this would cause illness and sometimes damage their organs permanently. Since the above substances do not come under the purview of NDPS Act, no legal action was initiated.The Court voiced the concern that the unacceptably high drug usage in Kerala is significant driver of economic under-performance, crime, risk to children and health inequalities.The Court has issued the following directions :State Government is is directed to adopt a method of establishing Campus Police Units, since the Law Enforcement agencies are not conducting regular checking inside the educational institutions. Measures shall also betaken to make it easier for the police and excise personnel to enforce NDPS Act, 1985, in the educational institutions.State government should convene a meeting of all the key officials from the Department of Home Affairs, Excise, Health, Law, Education and representative of State Mental Health authority, Department of Social Justice, and chalk out programmes, to ensure reduction in the incidence of Substance abuse among teenagers and youth and for the implementation of the suggestions made above.The Universities/Colleges/School authorities shall be provided with guidelines as a charter of duties and responsibilities, to make the campuses of the educational institutions, drug free.Kerala Police should seek the services of Student Police Cadets, NCC, NSS and other similar organisations to tide over the situation that the students are unaware of the legal repercussions of the usage and trafficking of drugs, and the health and career hazards caused due to the usage of drugs. Kerala Police should introduce a special scheme to ensure that the premises of the educational institutions and Universities are drug free. It should also initiate steps to conduct anti-drug programmes in the institutions, propagate health awareness campaigns, and use the assistance of social medias.Counselling and rehabilitation mechanisms should be established by Police, to save the students who are already using drugs and addicts, and for that purpose, co-operation of University authorities, affected students, and their parents be elicited.The directions issued, be complied with strictly, in letter and spirit, in accordance with law, within a period of three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment, the Court said.The division bench issued the directives while disposing of  a suo moto case initiated on the basis of a letter from a former IPS officer N.Ramachandran highlighting the rampant abuse of drugs in schools and colleges.In order to tackle the problem of sale of drugs in schools and colleges, the Court suggested that the following measures can be adopted: a) Local police shall pay special attention to areas surrounding schools and colleges in their efforts to tackle drug peddlers.b) Schools and colleges be encouraged to look out for peddlers in their vicinity and report them to police. c) Schools and colleges be encouraged to conduct surveys(possibly anonymous) to assess the levels of drug addiction among their students, and if addicted students can be identified, to talk to their parents or wards to find medical help to cure their addiction. d) The Central and State Education Authorities to include a mandatory and comprehensive chapter on drug abuse and illicit trafficking and its socio-economic costs to self,society, and the country, in the syllabus for 10+1 and 10+2students. e) Schools and colleges be encouraged to constitute the Anti-Drug Club to promote a drug free life among its members and also in the institution.Measures to deal with street peddlersStreet peddlers being an important link between the addicts and the traffickers, the Court said that it is vital to contain them to tackle the drug problem. To deal with street peddlers, the following steps should be taken :a)Increase the public awareness about the potential harm street peddlers can do to their societies and their children and the need to report peddlers to police and to follow up. b) NGOs, resident welfare societies, etc., be involved in reporting peddlers and follow up with police.c) Sensitize police that dealing with street peddlers is an important part of their job. d) Train and build capacities of the local police to deal with peddlers, including those who are addicts themselves. e) In large cities, develop special, mobile, anti-peddling squads of police with jurisdiction all over the city and linked to a helpline.f) Similar to the method of contact tracing followed in the case of Covid-19 patients, police can explore the possibility of tracking drug peddlersg)Like in the case of history sheeters, there should be constant monitoring of street peddlers.Click here to read/download the judgmentNext Storylast_img

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