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HC pulls up Punjab for defunct de-addiction centres

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the Punjab government battling drug menace, for shutting down de-addiction centres due to lack of psychiatrists and issued directions to immediately advertise posts so as to restart operations of such defunct centres.

“If such centres have been opened just for foundation stone laying purpose without appointing doctors and psychiatrists, then we are sorry to say that there is no use of such de-addiction centres,” said Justice Surya Kant, speaking for the division bench also having Justice Darshan Singh.

The issue cropped up when advocate Navkiran Singh pointed out to media reports that state run de-addiction centres in Nawanshahr district have gone defunct owing to non-availability of psychiatrist. However, the additional advocate general Rita Kohli submitted, “It has become difficult for us to find psychiatrists despite issuing advertisements. We are managing by rotating the available psychiatrists in different de-addiction centres.”

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Refusing to hear any justification, the division bench ordered, “State government or the Red Cross society shall ensure posting of psychiatrist within a week and submit the report.”

The court added that till the new appointments are made, the authorities shall ensure rotation of psychiatrists at various de-addiction centres.

Also, the court took a serious note of the Punjab government for moving slow on finalising the curriculum for colleges and schools for different age groups to make students aware of harmful impact of drugs. “We have passed a number of orders in the past but till date no results are seen on ground level. It appears to be an eyewash of court orders,” said Justice Surya Kant. The court directed the concerned authorities to take up the case seriously and finalist the curriculum at the earliest.

The case has now been adjourned for August 3.

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