Formulate national plan to protect children from drugs: SC to Centre
Protecting children from wide-spread prevalence of substance abuse is one of the biggest policy challenges facing India.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre to complete a national survey and generate a data base within six months about the drug abuse by children saying “protecting children from wide-spread prevalence of substance abuse is one of the biggest policy challenges facing India”.
A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur also directed the Union Government to formulate a comprehensive plan within four months to curb the menace among children.
The court, passing a slew of directions to the Centre on a plea filed by Nobel prize winner Kailash Satyarthi’s NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) said, “This is a serious issue and cannot be swept under the carpet.”
The NGO, in its plea, had sought a direction to the Centre to formulate a national action plan for children on drugs and substance abuse including all issues of identification, investigation, recovery, counselling and rehabilitation.
The court also ordered opening of de-addiction centre for children in every district within six months and inclusion of awareness against alcoholism and substance abuse in the school curriculum. The directions also included creation of a standard operating procedure to deter drug peddling and distribution of drugs in schools, child care institutions and on police action to be taken in these cases.
The 21-page judgment said, “India is home to the largest child population in the world with over forty-four crore children, according to the census of 2011. They constitute a vulnerable age group for social, educational, moral and physical development. Protecting children from wide-spread prevalence of substance abuse is one of the biggest policy challenges facing India.”
In the PIL, the Bachpan Bachao Andolan had cited the latest Health ministry survey according to which among the boys aged between 15 and 19, a shocking 28.6 per cent used tobacco and 15 per cent were addicted to alcohol. Similarly, in the girls aged 15-19, 5.5 per cent used tobacco while 4 per cent were addicted to alcohol.