Supreme Court: In the petition highlighting the alarming increase in the use of drugs and alcohol among children in India, the Court said that these are matters which should not be brushed under the carpet. The authorities should consider how children should be sensitized, having due regard to the age and stage of the child, of the dangers of drug use, the necessity to report drug use and the need to develop resistance to prevailing peer and social pressures. The 3-judge bench of T.S. Thakur, CJ and A.M. Khanwilkar and Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, JJ listed the below mentioned immediate measures to be taken up by the Union of India:
- Formulation of a national action plan for children;
- Creation of a module containing an appropriate curriculum for children of all age groups in order to keep them away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco;
- Setting up of de-addiction centres;
- Establishing a standard operating procedure on enforcing the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 particularly Sections 77 and 78; and
- Implementing the action plan with the national policy on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substance which has been approved by the Union Cabinet.
Taking note of the recent reports both of official and private agencies which indicate that there has been a substantial increase in the prevalence of use and abuse of substances in young children, the Court directed the Union Government to:
- Complete a national survey and generate a national data base within a period of six months;
- Formulate and adopt a comprehensive national plan within four months, which will among other things also address the areas of immediate concern noted earlier; and
- Adopt specific content in the school curriculum under the aegis of NEP.
[Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1467, decided on 14.12.2016]