Habitual drug offenders to be taken into preventive detention: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the Assembly on Wednesday that habitual drug
addicts in the state would be taken into preventive custody under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act to prevent illegal trafficking.
“As per the Act, there is a provision to keep habitual drug offenders in jail for two years without bail. So far, we have not used this provision. Now necessary instructions have been given in this regard. The officers of both police and excise should be ready to submit a necessary recommendation to the authorities concerned as per the Act,” the chief minister said while replying to an adjournment motion moved by Congress MLA PC Vishnunath.
CM Vijayan told the assembly that there has been an alarming increase in cases related to substance abuse in the state. According to the data tabled in the Assembly, 16,128 drug-related cases have been registered in Kerala till August 22 this year. 4,650 cases were registered in 2020 and 5,334 cases were registered in 2021. The number of people arrested has increased from 5,674 in 2020 to 17,834 this year. Along with this, 1,340 kg of cannabis, 6.7 kg of MDMA, and 23.4 kg of cannabis oil have been seized this year.
He called for a change in the existing method of investigation and charge-sheeting of drug cases. In narcotics cases, the charge sheet does not mention the history of the accused if they have faced convictions in the past. To ensure maximum punishment for those facing offenses under sections 31 (enhanced punishment for offenses after previous conviction) and 31A (award of death sentence to repeat offenders) of the NDPS Act, in similar cases should include their history relating to punishment. He said that necessary instructions have been given in this regard.
The Chief Minister said that there is a provision in the NDPS Act wherein the police and excise can submit a bond from the criminals confirming that they will not indulge in such cases in the future. The authorities should make use of this provision. In addition, a data bank of those involved in drug abuse and drug trafficking cases should be maintained.
Pinarayi Vijayan said that the state government would launch a mass campaign against drugs with the cooperation of different sections of society.