New Delhi, Dec 14: Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Wednesday hailed the Supreme Court's verdict asking the Centre to put in place within six months a national action plan to curb the rising drugs and alcohol abuse cases among schoolchildren, saying it would help create a safe environment for kids.
Satyarthi, the founder of NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan on whose PIL the apex court passed the directions, said it was a landmark and timely judgment in the midst of the government's crackdown on black money.
"Trafficking and drug abuse, inherently linked to each other, are the most prevalent forms of organised crime in the world that violate the fundamental rights of our children.
"I welcome this landmark judgment by the hon'ble court, and believe that it will go a long way in building a safer environment for our children. It is also a timely judgment, especially in the midst of Government of India's crackdown on black money," he said in a statement.
He said that society, school and parents must come together to tackle violation of child rights, especially child sexual abuse.
"It is a collective responsibility and action must be taken against drug mafia and for their rehabilitation. India cannot afford to lose a generation. If we are proud to be the youngest nation in the world, let us protect our young ones with top most priority," Satyarthi said.
Senior advocate H S Phoolka, who appeared in the case on behalf of the NGO, said the menace of drug abuse and trafficking among children in the country is "worrisome".
"This petition was filed to ensure that the government takes proactive steps to curb it and to extend protection to children who are vulnerable. This crucial judgment will ensure that children are provided with a better and more healthy childhood," he said.
The apex court in its verdict asked the Centre to conduct a national survey on the substance and alcohol abuse and use of psychotropic substances among children in schools across the country.
Issuing a slew of directions, the bench observed, "Children are encouraged to become drug peddlers once they are addicted (to drugs)."
The NGO, in its 2014 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.
It had also sought creation of model syllabus on ill- effects of drugs and substance abuse. The NGO had sought setting up of rehabilitation and de-addiction centres in each district of the country with a special wing for children.