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SC issues notice to central government on blocking websites selling prohibited drugs

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the central government on a plea by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan seeking a clamp down on websites selling and delivering prohibited drugs which were being used by children on a large scale.

Photo Credit: http://www.bba.org.in
Photo Credit: http://www.bba.org.in

The social justice bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit issued notice after senior counsel H. S. Phoolka appearing for the NGO told the court that a survey has revealed that about two crore children are using these drugs, tobacco, and other narcotic products.

Describing the situation as “alarming”, Phoolka said that these drugs were being “openly used in the schools.”

As he handed over a paper to the bench carrying the names of the drugs sold on websites, the court said that these are old ones and now many new drugs have come and are circulating in the market.

Meanwhile, in the missing children matter, the social justice bench on Friday warned that it would take a stern view and initiate contempt proceedings against the officials if it was provided with “misleading” information.

The court said this as it let-off Navin Yadav, an under secretary in the women and child development ministry, summoned to the court for allegedly giving figures in an affidavit that were at variance with what the minister had told parliament in response to an question.

The court forgave the official after being satisfied that the error in furnishing figures to the court was “bonafide” and also waived the Rs. 25,000 fine that it had imposed on the ministry in the last hearing of the matter on July 31.

The court on July 31 had taken a strong exception to huge discrepancy in the figures of the number of missing children as told to it and those placed before the parliament and had said that such a situation would not be “tolerated”.

“Ideas can change but numbers can’t change,” the court had said observing that somebody was misleading it.

The court had directed the personal presence of Navin Yadav in the last hearing after Bachpan Bachao Andolan had told the court that the minister had told the Rajya Sabha that 79,721 children had gone missing during 2013-2015 whereas the ministry’s affidavit before the court was putting the figures at 25,834.

(IANS)

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Percentage of US College Students Using Marijuana at the Highest Level in 30 Years, Claims New Study

The increasing use of marijuana among college students deserves immediate attention from college personnel as well as students and their parents

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Marijuana
Marijuana grower and activist Juan Vaz checks marijuana plants in Montevideo, Uruguay, VOA

Washington, September 12, 2017 : Percentage of US college students using marijuana was at the highest level in 2016 since the past three decades, according to a study conducted by University of Michigan researchers.

The national Monitoring the Future follow-up study, funded by the the National Institute on Drug Abuse, showed in 2016, 39 per cent of full-time college students aged 19-22 indicated that they used marijuana at least once in 12 months, and 22 per cent indicated that they used at least once in 30 days, reports Xinhua news agency.

ALSO READ Substance abuse of Marijuana rises in the United States

Both of these 2016 percentages were the highest since 1987, and represented a steady increase since 2006, when they were 30 and 17 per cent, respectively.

Daily or near daily use of marijuana-defined as having used 20 or more times in the prior 30 days-was at 4.9 per cent in 2016; this is among the highest levels seen in more than 30 years, though it has not shown any further rise in the past two years.

“These continuing increases in marijuana use, particularly heavy use, among the nation’s college students deserve attention from college personnel as well as students and their parents,” John Schulenberg, the current principal investigator of the Monitoring the Future follow-up study, said on Monday.

“We know from our research and that of others that heavy marijuana use is associated with poor academic performance and non-completion of college.

In 2016, 30 per cent of those aged 19-22 perceived regular use of marijuana as carrying great risk of harm, the lowest level reached since 1980.

These findings come from the long term Monitoring the Future study, which has been tracking substance use of all kinds among American college students for the past 37 years. (IANS)

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Supreme Court to hear Pleas challenging Article 35A after Diwali, which talks about Special Rights and privileges of Permanent Residents of Jammu and Kashmir

Article 35A talks about special rights and privileges given to only permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir

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The Supreme Court of India
The Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia
  • The plea said that the special status which people of Jammu and Kashmir enjoys should be canceled
  • In 1954 by a Presidential Order, Article 35A was added to the Indian Constitution
  • The Plea has also challenged a particular provision of the Constitution which denies the right over the property to a woman who marries someone who is from outside the state 

New Delhi (India), August 25, 2017: After Diwali, the Supreme Court of India will hear pleas which challenge the Article 35A, the article talks about special rights and privileges given to people who are permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Supposedly, the date decided for the hearing of pleas was August 29 but both the Centre and state government of Jammu and Kashmir wanted 4 weeks’ time in order to file their replies respectively, due to this reason the hearing has been postponed to a later date.

The plea said that the special status which people of Jammu and Kashmir enjoys should be canceled.

The Supreme Court was earlier in favor of hearing the case by a constitution bench consisting of 5 judges if the Article 35A is ultra vires (beyond one’s legal power or authority) of the Indian Constitution or if there is any sort of procedural lapse (defective execution of work).

Also Read: Landmark Judgement: Right to Privacy Becomes Fundamental Right of India, Rules Supreme Court

The meaning of Article 35A as per Constitution is that the article gives the right to the state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir to call them permanent residents of that state and also give those (permanent residents) some special rights and privileges whereas by article 370 a special status is given to the state- Jammu and Kashmir.

In 1954 by a Presidential Order, Article 35A was added to the Indian Constitution. According to ANI report, “It also empowers the state’s legislature to frame any law without attracting a challenge on grounds of violating the Right to Equality of people from other states or any other right under the Indian Constitution.” This is the kind of power that this Article holds.

This Article was dragged into controversy after a 2nd plea, was filed by a lawyer and former member of the National Commission for Women Charu Wali Khanna. In her plea, she challenged Article 35A of the Indian Constitution and also Section 6 (talks of permanent residents of the state) of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution.

Also Read: Long pending injustice to Muslim Women! Supreme Court Hearing in India to Decide Validity of Muslim Divorce Practice “Triple Talaq”

The Plea has also challenged a particular provision of the Constitution which denies the right over the property to a woman who marries someone who is from outside the state. This provision which leads the woman to lose rights over property is also applied to her son.


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Indonesia’s War on Drugs Follows Philippines’ Infamous Crusade to Curb Drug Use

Indonesia's Drug War by President Joko Widodo follows Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte way

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An Indonesian policeman checks crystal methamphetamine from China after a raid at Anyer beach in Serang, Banten province, Indonesia
An Indonesian policeman checks crystal methamphetamine from China after a raid at Anyer beach in Serang, Banten province, Indonesia. VOA
  • Idham Azis said he would not think twice to discharge police officers who were indecisive against drug trafficking
  • Human Rights Watch official Phelim Kline criticized the move

Indonesian president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is once again using the language of “emergency” to ramp up the country’s war on drugs, in a move that seems in step with Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s infamous crusade in a neighboring island country.

Widodo recently ordered police to shoot foreign drug dealers who “resist arrest,” claiming the country was in a “narcotics emergency position.” Then, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights announced a plan to consolidate drug felons in four prisons. On Tuesday, Jakarta police chief Gen. Idham Azis said he would “not think twice” to discharge police officers who were indecisive against drug trafficking.

Widodo’s speech last week came on the heels of a drug-related police shooting in Jakarta, targeting a Taiwanese man who resisted arrest while trying to smuggle one ton of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia.

Human Rights Watch official Phelim Kline criticized the move, writing in a statement that, “President Joko Widodo should send a clear and public message to the police that efforts to address the complex problems of drugs and criminality require the security forces to respect everyone’s basic rights, not demolish them.”

Meth panic

The target of President Duterte’s drug war is the cheap crystal methamphetamine known locally as shabu, and it is also the subject of Indonesian hand-wringing. The ton seized last month was the largest drug seizure in the nation’s history.

ALSO READ: What is the relation between Religion and Drug use?

The head of Indonesia’s narcotics agency, Gen. Budi Waseso, has been calling for a Philippines-style war on drugs as early as September 2016.

“The market that existed in the Philippines is moving to Indonesia, the impact of President Duterte’s actions is an exodus to Indonesia, including the substance,” Budi told Australia’s ABC News.

Indonesia enforces capital punishment for drug trafficking, which makes it an offense on par with murder and terrorism. It is estimated that about 70 percent of Indonesia’s prison population are low-level drug offenders.

“For me, there is a question mark over President Jokowi’s narcotics policy,” said Erasmus Napitupulu of Jakarta’s Institute for Criminal Justice Reform. “He always talks about the death penalty as a way to protect the nation’s children.” But in fact, he said, “the death penalty targets small drug couriers, which in many cases leads to unfair trials. Indonesian law has not been able to bear the burden of a fair trial,” he said.

Calls for leniency

“Of course we are concerned with the president’s rhetoric … to justify the war on drugs,” said Edo Nasution, national coordinator of the nonprofit Solidarity for Indonesian Drug Victims.

[sociallocker][/sociallocker]

“Evidence-based drug policy is what we need, not a policy that is only based on moral values or ideology,” said Edo, a one-time drug user who spent 13 years in Indonesian jails. “For example, there has been harm reduction programs in Indonesia for a long time and there is much scientific evidence as to the success of this approach.”

Harm-reduction refers to the practice of managing the risks of drug use, such as providing sterile needles, rather than trying to eradicate drug use.

Southeast Asia has long resisted trends toward leniency for drug users or traffickers, with countries like Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines resolutely maintaining harsh penalties that they say deters a major societal problem. As of last year, Thailand seemed like it might rethink the criminalization of methamphetamine because of overcrowded prisons, but there are no such signs in Indonesia.

Widodo’s last big anti-drug push was in 2015, two months after he was sworn into office when he executed 14 people for drug offenses.

“Far from having a deterrent effect, the number of drug-related crimes in Indonesia increased in the months after the executions were carried out in January and April 2015,” according to Claudia Stoicescu, an Oxford University researcher.

The increased resources devoted to drug-related arrests have drawn money away from rehabilitation centers that some say would better serve Indonesia’s nearly 1 million (according to the National Narcotics Agency) drug addicts. In the absence of such treatment, many poor addicts are turning to dubious herbal and faith-based cures that do nothing at best.

Erasmus wishes Indonesia would learn from the experience of the United States, which has gradually softened its approach to marijuana.

“American narcotics policy that criminally prosecuted drug users failed even without the death penalty. The result? The U.S. gradually changed the direction of policy toward decriminalization [of marijuana],” he said. “If Indonesia retains capital punishment as the main solution for drug issues, then I believe it is a political decision to preserve [politicians’] image, not to protect actual narcotics victims.” (VOA)