Introduction came to mean good management of


“Change alone is permanent” humanity
has been experiencing and witnessing to this change. These changes are from
ancient man to modern man, he hunted animals for food, ate fruits and
vegetables that were available, latter agriculture got under way, control over
environment came to mean good management of crops and flocks, Changes in dress code,
life style, culture etc. all these changes paved the way for an organised
society latter to which a set of laws, rules and regulations adopted to
regulate proper functioning and to have better life conditions.

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As the development took place man
incorporated new set of culture, a culture of Alcohol, a culture of drugs. This
new culture plays predominant role in society by becoming   part of marriage functions, get together,
funerals, anniversaries, without which no event will take place. Latter,
affecting health and causing serious ailments to the users.

This, became in realisation of
the importance of health, and incorporating of law related to health, protect
health systems and to deal with health related issues. Among the many existing phenomenon’s
like politics, police, state power, media, society, etc. it is only law that
can ensure proper functionality of public health system. What is public health
law? “Public health law is the study
of the legal powers and duties of the state, in collaboration with its partners
(e.g., health care, business, the community, the media), to assure the
conditions for people to be healthy (to identify, prevent, and ameliorate risks
to health in the population) and the limitations on the power of the state to
constrain the autonomy, privacy, liberty, proprietary, or other legally
protected interests of individuals for the common good.” Laurence Gostin.

This definition emphasizes the
dynamic tension between the government’s powers and duties to protect
the public’s health and the limitations on government’s power by
individual liberties.

The drug abuse and addiction
problem is not of the particular area, city, state and country but all over of
the world. Today it has emerged as global problem. Developing country like
India has been a victim of it, for more than many decades. It is very important
to look into precipitating problems while offering significant importance to
complexity of drug addiction. It is actually a curse for mankind that inhibits
their development and economic growth. It is a like cancer disease which is
destroying the life of peoples. It has also taken the life of billion people.

“Right to life” is one of the
human rights. Human rights are those which people have by virtue of their
humanity. These are the rights which cannot be deprived. The right to life is a
right to a life which is much more than mere animal existence. The right to
life means to have intact all limbs and faculties through which life is enjoyed
and life has meaning. The right to life, thus, means right to live with full
human dignity, without humiliation and deprivation or denial of any sort.1

The constitution of India deals
with right to life in Articles 21, 38, 42, 43, 46 and 48(a) – the supreme court
has concluded in a consumer education and research centre union of India, that
right to health, medical aid to protect the health of a worker while inn a
service or post retirement is a fundamental right to make the life of the workman
meaningful and purposeful with dignity of person. Art. 38 – it is a dynamic
device to mitigate the sufferings of the poor, weak Dalit’s, tribal, and
deprived sections of the society and to leave them to the level of equality to
live a life with dignity of person. It further held that health of the worker
enables them to enjoy the fruits of his labour.2
Art. 39(f) lays down that the children are given opportunity and failings to
develop in a healthy manner and in condition of freedom and dignity and that
youth are protected against exploitation.3

Under G.I. Act 35, the federal
court had held that the power to legislate in respect of intoxicating liquor
carried with it the power to prohibit the use of, or trade in, intoxicating
liquor. Under our constitution, the legislative power in respect of intoxicating
liquor is the same as under the G.I. Act 35. However, that legislative power is
subject to the fundamental rights conferred by Art, 19(1) (f) and (g), and also
to the directive principle (DPSP) in Art. 47 which provides that “the state
shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of its
people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in
particular, the state shall endeavour to bring prohibition of the consumption
except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of the consumption
except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are
injurious to health.4

DPSP Art.47, has to be
studied and understood in light of Art.38, and Art 41, that says, the state
should endeavour to secure the health and strength of workers, men and women,
and to endure that the tender age of children is not abused and that citizens
are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age
and strength, and that childhood and youth are protected from exploitation and
from moral and material abandonment,5
and it is the state’s duty to provide public assistance in cases of
unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement respectively.6

In view of Art.47,
total prohibition of intoxicating liquor is a reasonable restriction. “in
judging the reasonable restrictions one is to bear in mind the directive
principles set forth in Art.47 that the restrictions imposed by the section on
the right of citizens to possess or sell or buy or consume or use spirits of
wine, methylated spirit, wine, beer, toddy and all liquids consisting of or
containing alcohol.7


The food safety and
standards Act. 2006, (24) restrictions of advertisement and prohibition as to
unfair trade practices- 1. No advertisement shall be made of any food which is
miss –leading or deceiving or contravenes the provisions of this act, the rules
and regulations made thereunder. (2) no person shall engage himself in any
unfair trade practice for purpose of promoting the sale, supply, use and
consumption of articles of food or adopt any unfair or deceptive practice
including the practice of making any statement whether orally or in
writing  or by visible representation.8

Despite the laws and Acts, the
humanity is facing a great challenge in the present scenario for the violation
of human rights. These are being violated by fundamentalists’ drug mafias and
drug suppliers. Such violation blocks the way for development of human, society
and nation. Thus, the violators have to be taken in to serious trials.

It is very evident in ‘Indian
Penal Code’ chapter XIV, section 272 (adulteration of food or drink intended
for sale), that says; whoever adulterates any article of food or drink, so as
to make such article noxious as food or drink, intending to sell such article
as food or drink, or knowing it to be likely that the same will be sold as food
or drink, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term
which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand
rupees, or with both.9
IPC, sections 273 – sale of noxious food or drink, 274 – adulteration of drugs,
275 –  sale of adulteration of drugs, 276
– sale of drug as a different drug or preparation, 277 – fouling water of
public spring or reservoir, 278 – making atmosphere noxious to health, all
these malpractices brings trials on the violators.10

The social development has been
accepted and adopted in the ideal concept of United Nations charter as “Universal
Brotherhood” and “Live and let others Live”.11
Not in exploitation of others’ life and rights. The development has been
understood in terms of harmony, unity and solidarity. The American State has
repeated occasions recognised that the human rights are not derived from the
fact that he/she is a national of a certain state, but based upon attributes of
his human personality. The 9th International conference of American
States agrees: to adopt the following preamble; “All men are born free and
equal, in dignity and in rights, and being endowed by nature with reason and
conscience they should conduct themselves as brothers and sisters one to

In many countries around the
world, there are various drug control policies for preventing and regulating
the problem of drug abuse and addiction. The United
Nations Conference to consider amendments to the Single Convention on Narcotic
Drugs, 1961, met at the United Nations Office at Geneva from 6 to 24 March
1972. There were 97 countries including India, represented by representatives
at the conference. Resolutions were adopted by the United
Nations conference to consider amendments to the single convention on narcotic
drugs, 1961. The third resolution was ‘Social conditions and
protection against drug addiction’ – that Recommends, that the Parties:

Should bear in mind
that drug addiction is often the result of an unwholesome social atmosphere in
which those who are most exposed to the danger of drug abuse.

Should do everything in
their power to combat the spread of the illicit use of drugs.

Should develop leisure and other
activities conducive to the sound physical and psychological health of young

Despite all these
instrumentalities and institutional arrangement meant for the protection of
human rights standards in our country, there have been large scale reports
violation of human rights in a different parts of the country. These have been
observed particularly at three different levels i.e. individual, society and

In addition, even
though India had signed the 1961 and 1971 UN conventions on narcotic drugs and
psychotropic substances the Indian laws did not introduce any major changes to
give effect to the requirements and obligations under the convention.15 India
is also signatory to the UDHR and party to various international covenants,
conventions and treaties. Furthermore greater access to the statesmen of
various countries and international human rights agencies have been
facilitated. It is to reaffirm the atmosphere of freedom and India’s commitment
to its own catalogue of rights.16 Thus
the nation has predominant role to play in safe guarding the rights of its
citizens. The violation of human rights is a matter of great concern today as
the state seems to be the worst kind of institution of violating human rights. The some
governments have justified wide range of human rights abuse in the name of
fighting a “war on drugs”.17  Some examples:

China                   – 1990 against Deadly Drug

Thailand             –

Arabia      – 1995, Aug 23, beheaded 144
people for smuggling of drugs in the country.18

Puduchery          – Jun 26, 2013, Gutkha, Paanmasala
banned in the union territory with immediate effect.

Tamil Nadu         – bans manufacture, sale
of gutkha and paanmasala – Tamil Nadu government has issued an order banning
manufacture and sale of gutkha, paanmasal and all other products containing
nicotine and tobacco on May 30, 2013.19

These orders
and proceedings exist only in the documents. They are not active in reality. This
has been proved from the side of I-T Department, November last year. The
“secret letter” contained information about the alleged bribes paid to Health
Minister C. Vijaya Baskar, the then Commissioner of Police and others by
Madhava Rao, a partner of a gutkha manufacturing firm (MDM), to carry on the
illegal sale of banned tobacco products in Chennai.20

This is the condition of health system
at present existing in Tamil Nadu. Despite the serious ailments like cancer,
Neurological problems, Pathological problems, road accidents, Psychotic
disorders, Psychological problems, family problems resulting from the consumption
of alcohol, tobacco, drugs etc. it is undesirable on the part of government to
remain motionlessness by negotiating the issues on substance abuse. It is the
people who live on the fringes of the society being affected more by the
implementation and support to alcohol and other nicotine containing stuffs.
Therefor it is the intense responsibility of the government to initiate steps
to be undertaken to safe guard the lives of its citizens and promote healthy
living conditions.

This research study is the result of the
contradictions, gap that exist between the laws, and law regulating agencies, law
implementing agencies that failed to protect the health of its citizens. Down
the decades one could observe the absence of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse etc.
then, when did it emerged? How it evolved? Who are its users? How it invaded in
the roots of human history? All these questions are given considerable
importance in this research.

This exploratory study took shape
through the class lectures on public health, in-depth case studies and field
observation at NIEPMD (Kovalam), Railway Hospital at Perambur. In addition this
study would offer considerable importance on health in political dimension and
social dimension, the role of health laws, role of political strong will, and
the future of health.  As an action, this
research has another purpose, is to gain insights into the dynamics of drug
abuse for evolution of appropriate programmes in prevention, treatment and
rehabilitation for various target groups.




Ø  To
examine the awareness level on laws corresponding to health among the

Ø  To
inspect the role of government and steps taken by it on letting know the laws
that prohibits the substance abuse by the public.

Ø  To
know the public interest level on knowing laws related to health.

Ø  To
study the role of law in protecting public health

Ø  To
study the existence of strong political will to implement health laws.

Ø  To
offer suggestions for the improvement of healthy life.

Ø  To
rediscover the existing policies for drug abuse management.



Diwan, Peeyushi Diwan, ‘Human Rights and the Law – Universal and India’, Deep
& deep Publications, New Delhi, p 133-135.

2           AIR
1995 sc 923.

3           AIR
1994 sc 469.

4           Seervai
H.M., ‘Constitutional Law of India’, Tripathi private ltd., Bombay, 1976,

5           Id,
p 1037.

6           Ibid.

7           Ibid,
p 1040.

8           P.K.
Das, ‘The Right to Information Act, Universal Law Publishing, New Delhi, 2013,

9           Dhirajlal
keshavlal thakore, “The Indian Penal code” (the Bombay law reporter office,
Bombay, 22nd edn 1959), p 208.

10          Ibid,
p 209-211.

11          Dr.
Ashok Kumar, “Drug Addiction Human Rights and Criminal Justice, 2017, p 184.

12          P.K.
Das, ‘The Right to Information Act, Universal Law Publishing, New Delhi, 2013,
p 230.

13          Conference
on ‘Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, as amended by the 1972 protocol
amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961’.

14          Arun
Ray, ‘National Human Rights Commission of India-Formation, functioning and
future prospects’, Khama Publishers, New Delhi, 1997, p 65.

15          Saroj
Preshant, ‘Drug abuse and society’, Ashish Publishing house, New Delhi, 1993,

16          Excerpted
from the statement by Ghulam Nabi Azad, minister of civil aviation &
tourism at the 51st conference on human rights at Geneva. The
National Herald, New Delhi, dated  14th
march, 1995.

17          Dr.
Ashok Kumar, “Drug Addiction Human Rights and Criminal Justice, Pune, 2017, p

18          The
times of India, Aug 23, 1995, p5.

19          The
times of India, May 30, 2013.

20          The
Hindu, Nov 17, 2017. 

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