Punjab and Haryana High Court blasts UT Admn for cannabis chaos; slams unsatisfactory, casual efforts : The Tribune India

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Punjab and Haryana High Court blasts UT Admn for cannabis chaos; slams unsatisfactory, casual efforts

Bench also calls for an action plan to check its growth during rainy season

Punjab and Haryana High Court blasts UT Admn for cannabis chaos; slams unsatisfactory, casual efforts

Photo for representational purpose only. File



Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik 

Chandigarh, May 22 

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a scathing rebuke to the UT Administration and municipal corporation authorities for their grossly inadequate response to the rampant growth of wild cannabis plants across the city. The court expressed its deep disappointment with their failure to comply with its previous orders on the issue, calling their efforts “unsatisfactory” and “casual.”

The high court Bench of Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma and Justice Sandeep Moudgil also made it clear that a special team was required to be deployed to ensure complete eradication. The Bench, on a previous date of hearing, was alerted to the extensive presence of wild cannabis in multiple Sectors of Chandigarh, including areas near the Judges’ residences and public spaces such as Rajendra Park and the Secretariat roundabout. This unchecked growth, the court noted, posed a severe risk, especially to the youth, who were increasingly falling prey to drug abuse.

As the matter came up for resumed hearing, status reports in response to the court’s earlier directives were submitted by the Executive Engineers of Horticulture Divisions of the Municipal Corporation and UT Chandigarh. The reports purported to show efforts to remove the wild cannabis.

But the Bench found the measures woefully inadequate before admonishing the authorities for the half-hearted approach. Referring to the photographs attached to the affidavits, the Judges asserted it revealed significant remnants of the cannabis plants, scattered and untreated, despite removal efforts.

In its detailed order, the Bench observed the municipal corporation’s stand in the matter was that periodic cleaning of such wild growth was carried out at regular intervals, or as and when required. “This court is amazed at such a response, wherein a casual affidavit has been filed. Such an issue needs to be addressed with all seriousness, and a special team of staff, including labor, must be deployed to ensure that no such wild growth of cannabis plants ever grows again. But it does not seem to be the intention of Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh,” the Bench observed.

Pointing at the other affidavit filed on the UT Administration’s behalf, the Bench asserted the action taken so far was totally unsatisfactory. But the Bench refrained itself from passing a “harsh order” as the matter was at the initial stages,

Before parting with the matter, the Bench made it clear that “more stern steps”, such as uprooting the wild growth, were required to be taken. The Judges also called for an action plan to check its growth during the rainy season.

Punjab and Haryana also found themselves at the receiving end, as the Bench asserted the “clandestine stand” taken by counsel for both States was condemnable and unacceptable. Elaborating, the judges observed the States had not filed any affidavit but orally submitted that the meetings of the Chief Secretaries of the two States had taken place with the heads of the department and directions had been issued to take necessary action.

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