Kerala HC directs state govt to set up campus police units to check drug abuse among youth

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Kochi, Feb 11 (PTI) Observing that the scale of drug use in the state is unacceptably high, the Kerala High Court has directed the state government to establish campus police units to check the abuse among teenagers and youth.

A Division bench of the high court, comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice A M Shaffique, said drug usage is a significant driver of economic under performance, crime, risk to children and health inequalities.

Issuing a slew of directions to control drug abuse among youngsters and students in educational institutions, the court directed the state government 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 be taken to make it easier for the police and excise personnel to enforce NDPS Act, 1985, in the educational institutions,' it said.

The court gave this direction on Wednesday while disposing of a petition registered on its own on the basis of a representation on March 15, 2019, submitted by N Ramachandran, IPS (Retd), former district police chief, Kottayam, to a judge of the court highlighting various aspects of drug abuse in Kerala.

The court directed the state government to convene a meeting of all 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 the youth and for the implementation of the suggestions made by it.

'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,' the court said.

It also directed the state police chief to 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 use of drugs.

The state police chief was also directed to introduce a special scheme to ensure that the premises of the educational institutions and Universities are drug free.

'The 3rd respondent (state police chief) shall initiate steps to conduct anti-drug programmes in the institutions, propagate health awareness campaigns, and use the assistance of social media.' 'The 3rd respondent is further directed to establish counselling and rehabilitation mechanisms, 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 court said.

The court said 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 the judgment.

'Failure to implement the directions, by authorities concerned, would only affect many,' it added. PTI COR TGB BN ADMINISTRATOR BN ADMINISTRATOR