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The Suo Moto Case Of Kerala High Court Orders The State Government For Checking Drug Use Inside Educational Institutions [READ JUDGMENT]

The court has ordered the state government to enforce campus police for checking these institutions that can amount for less use of unwanted substances and also asked to enforce the NDPS Act, 1985

By: Sanidhya Sharma, O.P. Jindal Global University

In Kerala High Court, a Division Bench on this Tuesday counseled the State government to institute campus police units in several educational institutions to prevent the use of unwanted substances like drugs in the campuses as the law enforcement agencies were not conducting any search in these institutions. The Bench comprising of the Chief Justice S. Mannikumar and Justice A.M. Shaffique directed the State government to assemble a meeting of all the key officials of Home, Excise, Health, Law, Education and Social Justice departments and representatives of the State Mental Health Authority to point out the programs to reduce the incidence of substance abuse among the youth.1 They have to conduct this regular checking inside these institutions and search each student if they are carrying any drug-related substances. 

This was instituted because of the rising drug use in Kerala which happened because the court issued a directive while organizing a suo moto case, that got started because of the letter issued by the former IPS officer and the former District Police Chief of Kottayam, N. Ramachandran who highlighted the drug use in the campus of schools and colleges and that letter also expressed concern over the increasing rate of crimes committed by youth under the effect of drugs and use of drugs in both the genders.

When the court registered the suo moto case, it had sought several reports from the top-ranking officials, police officers of the State that reported on the drug menace. It was noted that cases of drug abuse had suddenly increased in educational institutions and there has been a sudden rise which was seen by many throughout these years. There was a significant rise in the number of cases reported, and this was stated as a very serious problem in the institutions. 

Justices S Manikumar and AM Shaffique ordered the State government to take various measures to make it easier for the police and the excise personnel to enforce the famous Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 in these institutions.

The court ordered the authorities of colleges, schools, and universities will be provided with the guidelines to make the campuses drug-free as a charter of duties and responsibilities, that will be followed, strictly. 

The court observed, “On enquiry, it came to understand (sic) that around 400 institutions in the State are affected by drug abuse and out of the education institutions, 74.12% are schools, 20.89% are colleges and professional institutions, and 4.97% are other institutions viz., ITI, Polytechnics etc.”

The order also stated that the State Police Chief (SPC) should also seek assistance from the Student Police Cadets, the NCC, NSS, and other organizations that can help in spreading awareness about the legal consequences that will be faced if there are drug usage and any sort of trafficking and should also point out how it will affect the career and health of the students. It was added that “several schemes shall also be issued to ensure that the campuses of schools and the universities remain drug free and steps shall be taken to conduct the anti-drug programs in these institutions, increase the health awareness and they can also use the social media to influence several people.”2

The court also issued that the SPC should also establish several rehabilitation mechanisms and conduct counseling sessions to maintain the safety of the student who in case got into drugs and are not able to control and stop themselves.

Endnotes:

  1. Correspondent, Special. “HC Directive to Set up Campus Police Unit.” The Hindu, The Hindu, 10 Feb. 2021, www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hc-directive-to-set-up-campus-police-unit/article33802576.ece
  2. Correspondent, Special. “HC Directive to Set up Campus Police Unit.” The Hindu, The Hindu, 10 Feb. 2021, www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hc-directive-to-set-up-campus-police-unit/article33802576.ece

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