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High Court seeks detailed report on drug addicts in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the State of Punjab to specify the procedure adopted for destroying contraband recovered after it was supplied from across the border by drones. Amidst increasing concerns over the growing drug menace in the region, the High Court has also asked the Union of India (UOI) and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to submit a detailed report on addicts in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

The direction by the Bench of Acting Chief Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Nidhi Gupta came just over a month after the High Court took suo motu cognizance of a news report on the Border Security Force (BSF) handing over to Punjab police a list of 75 individuals suspected to be involved in drug trafficking.

Listing the case as a petition in public interest, the Bench had observed it was taking suo motu cognizance of the news report, wherein it was reported that the BSF had raised a concern regarding preventive detention of smugglers to combat drug smuggling. The details of seizures and recovery of narcotic items as well as rifles and pistols in 2023 were mentioned in the news report. It was reported that 755 kgs of narcotic items, being supplied in India on the border by way of drones, had been recovered.

As the matter came up for resumed hearing, the Bench asked the state to file a “better” affidavit or a status report. It was asked to clarify “as to when the heroin has been handed over to the State of Punjab and how the State of Punjab is dealing with the case property to destroy the same”.

The Bench added that it was of the view that the procedure to be followed for destroying the heroin was required to be monitored by a “judicial officer”. The counsel for the State of Haryana was also asked to file the latest status report in the context.

The Bench asserted: “The counsel for the UOI/NCB will file a reply mentioning that how many people are drug addicts in the states of Haryana, Punjab and the Union Territory, Chandigarh.”

The High Court during the initial hearing on the matter had also called for a status report from the State of Punjab. It was asked to specify the steps being taken following the report by the BSF. The Bureau was also asked to specify the nature of steps that could be taken to create awareness regarding the menace among the people, who till date were not into drug addiction. The Bureau was further directed to specify the preventive steps “as narcotic items recovered in the State of Punjab, as reported in the newspaper, are huge,” the Bench observed.

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