Friday, October 22, 2021
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The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday adjourned the hearing of a case highlighting the drugs menace in Punjab till October 26.

The matter on Thursday came up for hearing before the division bench of Justices Augustine George Masih and Ashok Kumar Verma.

After hearing the arguments of the counsels appearing in the case, the High Court ordered to list the matter for further hearing on October 26.

Earlier, in the suo-motu matter being heard by the HC, the intervener, Lawyer For Human Rights, through its counsel, Advocate Navkiran Singh, had submitted a synopsis before the court seeking the opening of a sealed report submitted by the state of Punjab in the case.

On Thursday, as the hearing in the case resumed, retired IPS officer, Shashi Kant, through his counsel, Senior Advocate Gurminder Singh, contended that this case is of public interest, and the court should monitor the steps taken by various departments and agencies for better coordination to root out the drug problem from the core. The reports related can be perused by the court at an appropriate time but should not derail the core issues involved in the case.

On the other hand, senior Advocate Anupam Gupta, disagreeing with Kant’s submission, contended that there may be million other issues in this case, but the principal one was for the opening of a sealed cover report as it relates to the culpability of people in high places. If the sealed report is not opened, it will be a tragedy, Gupta said.

Earlier, Advocate General APS Deol, representing Punjab, and Advocate Navkiran Singh appearing for different parties had told the bench that the issue of opening of sealed cover reports could be taken up on priority.

The application in the drug case has been filed by Advocate Navkiran Singh, on behalf of Lawyers for Human Rights International, contending that the sealed report contains the response of the state on a report submitted by then STF Chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu, who was asked by the HC to go through the sealed report submitted by ED assistant director Niranjan Singh. Advocate Singh had further contended that the matter relates to the drug mafia operating in Punjab, which has international links and needs to be dealt with on an urgent basis as it affected the lives of the Punjabi youth.

The sealed reports, which was been filed by Niranjan Singh, the then deputy director, Enforcement Directorate, and the Special Task Force, as well as the state of Punjab, needs to be opened and considered by this court, Navkiran submitted.



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