The Meghalaya High Court has ordered surprise checks on Army vehicles in the wake of allegations that drugs are sometimes transported in military trucks, which are generally immune from such inspections.

The order was passed by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W Diengdoh, while hearing a PIL filed by former chairperson of the Meghalaya State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) M Kharkongor.

The high court also lauded the amicus curiae for meticulous work involving visiting correctional homes, opioid substitution therapy (OST) centres and discovering from some inmates that for the safe passage of the drugs, “high-ranking defence personnel may have been roped in”.

Unbelievable though such allegation is, it has to be noticed nonetheless that according to the relevant inmate drugs are sometimes transported in Army trucks, which are generally immune from checking, it said.

If what is reported is 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 bench said.

During the hearing, the amicus curiae forwarded details of certain places where the drug menace is prevalent, including several localities in Shillong and its neighbourhood.

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 are otherwise not subjected to checks by civilian personnel,” the court said.

The bench also observed that the other area which needs to be looked into is for therapy centres to be set up within the state, as many affected families have to look beyond Meghalaya in the absence of adequate facilities.

There may also be a need for de-addiction centres, particularly to house young female offenders, it said.

The court fixed the next date of hearing on April 28.

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