J&K High Court Upholds Preventive Detention of Alleged Drug Trafficker while Acknowledging impact of Drug Abuse worldwide

Preventive Detention legal law order breach Law Insider

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Published on: 04 September 2023 at 15:10 IST

The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has recognized the far-reaching impact of illicit drug trafficking and drug abuse on countless lives worldwide, leading to the loss of productive years for many individuals.

Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal upheld the preventive detention of an alleged drug trafficker from Punjab, emphasizing the severe toll that drug trafficking and abuse, especially among the younger generation, has on human lives and productivity globally.

The court highlighted the role of drug traffickers in seamlessly transporting various types of drugs across borders, making contrabands readily available to vulnerable segments of society who fall prey to drug peddlers and traffickers.

The court’s observations came in response to a petition filed by the detainee challenging the grounds for his detention under the potent Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1988.

The petitioner argued that the detaining authority failed to provide convincing reasons for resorting to preventive detention rather than conventional legal measures to address the alleged transgressions. Additionally, he contended that essential evidence, including a copy of the First Information Report (FIR) and other pertinent documents, was withheld from him, hindering his ability to mount an effective challenge to his detention, as stipulated in Article 22(5) of the Indian Constitution.

In contrast, the respondents maintained that the detaining authority carefully assessed the situation and, based on a subjective evaluation, concluded that the detainee posed a clear threat to national health and well-being.

They argued that there was a high likelihood of the detainee engaging in illicit activities if granted bail. They also alleged that the detainee intentionally concealed vital information regarding his audience with the Central Advisory Board, which had thoroughly reviewed his case and extended an opportunity for legal representation.

Furthermore, the respondents contended that the detainee had a documented history of involvement in multiple instances of drug trafficking, indicating a troubling pattern of conduct detrimental to the wider community.

Justice Nargal, after scrutinizing the arguments and available records, acknowledged that preventive detention primarily aims to prevent individuals from re-engaging in prejudicial activities based on their past behavior.

Recognizing the grave threat posed by drug trafficking, which transcends borders and jeopardizes public health, safety, and national stability, the court affirmed that the detention order followed the prescribed legal procedure, ensuring that the detainee received due notice.

As the detainee is a habitual drug peddler involved in numerous cases under the NDPS Act, this Court is of the view that through his active involvement in illegal drug trafficking and psychotropic substances, the detainee has engaged in prejudicial activities related to illicit trafficking of narcotics and psychotropic substances, which poses a serious threat to the health and welfare of the people of District Jammu and other adjoining areas,” noted the court.

The court also noted that the Central Advisory Board had granted the detainee the opportunity to secure legal counsel, but the detainee had chosen to represent himself during the hearing.

The board had offered him an additional fifteen days to provide representation through his counsel, which he did not utilize.Considering these factors, the court declined to intervene and dismissed the petition.

Case Title: Happy Singh vs. Union of India

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