New Delhi: The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to complete a national survey and generate a data base within six months about the drug abuse by children saying “protecting children from wide-spread prevalence of substance abuse is one of the biggest policy challenges facing India”.
The apex court also directed the Union Government to formulate a comprehensive plan within four months to curb the menace among children.
A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud also directed the Centre to adopt a specific content in the school curriculum under the aegis of the National Education Policy (NEP).
“The Union government shall 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,” the bench said.
It said, “India is home to the largest child population in the world with over forty-four crore children, according to the census of 2011…They constitute a vulnerable age group for social, educational, moral and physical development. Protecting children from wide-spread prevalence of substance abuse is one of the biggest policy challenges facing India”.
The 21-page judgement penned down by Justice D Y Chandrachud for the bench said that the importance of adopting a holistic solution to deal with issues pertaining to alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse in the school curriculum has to be “adequately emphasised”.
The directions were passed on a 2014 PIL filed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan of Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi.
The NGO, in its plea, had sought a direction to formulate a national action plan for children on drugs and substance abuse including all issues of identification, investigation, recovery, counselling and rehabilitation.
The bench further said that the entire issue is pending consideration before the government, it would be appropriate to await the “ultimate formulation”.
The court said that it would appropriate if the competent authorities consider how children should be protected from the dangers of substance abuse.