Srinagar, Dec 27: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh on Tuesday dismissed petitions by two “drug peddlers” who were booked under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances(NDPS) Act in January this year.
“Having glance of the grounds of detention, it is clear that right from the year 2017 till 2022, many cases are alleged to have been registered against the detenue (detainee) for his involvement in illicit drug activities,” a bench of Justice M A Chowdhary, said while dismissing Barkat Ali Malik’s plea.
Malik had been detained under preventive custody under Section 3 of the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988 by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir on 11January this year.
The authorities contended that Malik “did not shun the path of his nefarious and anti-social activities and continues to spoil the life and career of young generation making them the addicts of these drugs”.They said Malik was found actively involved in illegal business of drugs and had made peddling his sole profession.
“In the larger interests of the society, particularly to save the career of the youth of the society, it was found imperative to detain the detenue under the provisions of the Act.”
Pointing out that the preventive detention is devised to afford protection to society, the court said that the “object is not to punish a man for having done something but to intercept before he does it and to prevent him from doing”.
“Justification for such detention is suspicion or reasonable probability and not criminal conviction, which can only be warranted by legal evidence.”
Thus, the court said, any preventive measures, even if they involve some restraint or hardship upon individuals, “do not contribute in any way of the nature of punishment.”
The court also dismissed a plea by one Sartaj Ahmad Ganai who had been detained under the same provisions of law on 18 March this year.
Perusal of Ganie’s detention record, the court said, indicates that two FIRs bearing under Section 9/15 NDPS Act and under Section 8/18-20 NDPS Act were registered at Police Station Shopian, involving him. “The contraband seized from the (detainee) indicates that he was fully involved in the illegal trade in the organized manner which is a great threat for sustaining the conservative values of the society,” the court said, adding, “It has been observed that the activities of the (detainee) have posed a serious threat to the health and welfare of the people of the area.”