Meghalaya High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ. and W. Diengdoh, J. took up a PIL suggesting surprise checks on Army vehicles after allegations of drug transit through them were reported.
Amicus Curiae had forwarded details of certain places where the drug menace was prevalent which included several localities in Shillong and its neighbourhoods and it appeared that the list was illustrative rather than exhaustive since it did not refer to several other parts of the State. He further drew the attention of the Court towards the fact that since Meghalaya falls within the transit route of drugs emanating from a neighbouring country or going to such neighbouring country, there is a modus operandi which is being followed and, quite alarmingly, recently an Army Major from Imphal had been implicated in facilitating the transit of drugs.
It was also a matter of concern that drugs were sometimes transported in army trucks, which are generally immune from checking.
The Court of the opinion that if what was stated was true there must also be intelligence reports received by the State in such regard and the Chief Secretary should coordinate with, inter alia, the Army and Assam Rifles, both to make the highest officials aware of the problem and for immediate action being taken. The Court suggested that it may also do well for teams of flying army checkers to be deployed along the route to make surprise checks on Army vehicles which were otherwise not subjected to checks by civilian personnel.
The Court also emphasized the need for therapy centres to be set up within the State as many families affected have to look beyond the State where wards are sent in the absence of adequate facilities being available in Meghalaya, despite the urgent need therefor. There may also be a need for de-addiction centres, particularly to house young female offenders.[M. Kharkongor v. State of Meghalaya, PIL No. 13 of 2018, decided on 30-03-2022]
For the Petitioner: Mr SP Mahanta, Amicus Curiae with Mr M. Lyngdoh
For the Respondent: Mr A. Kumar, AG with Ms S. Laloo