Other States

Is India a hub for international drug peddling? Madras High Court asks Centre

Observing that Punjab is serving as the transit point for the smuggling of narcotic drugs which make their way as far as Kerala, the Madras High Court has directed the Centre to spell out whether India is being used as a hub by international drug cartels. It also asked if the money involved was being used to fund terrorists and anti-national activities.

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A Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and V. M. Velumani said: “We have a bad experience in the State of Punjab where youngsters and students are mostly addicted to drugs and the same situation should not be allowed to spread to other States. It is known that Punjab is the transit point on the drug route and the State has become a major consumer base.”

The judges also said the High Court of Kerala too had taken a suo motu public interest litigation petition recently on the basis of a letter written by retired IPS officer N. Ramachandran highlighting the increase in drug abuse cases and related crimes. Kerala Police filed an affidavit conceding that educational institutions had become a hotbed of drug peddlers.

Further, the Bench referred to a recent survey by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in association with the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), which revealed that 3.1 crore Indians use cannabis, bhang, ganja, charas, heroin and opium. However, the Bench said, only one in 20 drug addicts gets treatment at a hospital.

“The problem of drug addiction of children is more prevalent in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana. It is a fact that many youngsters, especially students, are getting addicted due to easy availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances near schools, colleges and other public places and it results in the commission of heinous crimes,” the judges said.

They directed the Centre to explain by June 28 the steps it had taken so far to curb the menace. The judges called for a detailed report on the number of cases booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985 in the last 10 years, the quantity of contraband seized, and those seized materials were disposed off.

The court also wanted to know about the involvement of international drug mafias in crime, the approximate value of drugs transacted in the country, and the remedial measures undertaken by the Centre. It posed similar questions to the State government, too, and directed it to explain steps taken to not only arrest the drug peddlers but also to prevent the crime.

The queries were posed in interim orders passed on a habeas corpus petition which had challenged the preventive detention of a drug peddler under the Goondas Act. The detainee — M. Vijayakumar, 35, of Tirupattur Taluk in Vellore district — had been accused of transporting 32 kilograms of ganja from Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in October 2019.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 10:12:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/is-india-a-hub-for-international-drug-peddling-madras-high-court-asks-centre/article32106389.ece

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