Passive Smokers Suffer For no Fault Of Theirs, Enforce Ban: HC
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By Utkarsh Anand
New Delhi, India
High Court Directs Delhi’s New Top Cop To Stop Sale, Use Of Tobacco Products In Prohibited Areas
NOTING that "smoke, smoke and smoke" is visible in all areas where use and sale of tobacco products is prohibited, the Delhi High Court has asked Delhi Police Commissioner, B K Gupta, to strictly implement the ban on smoking. He has also been told to regulate the sale of tobacco products across the Capital and particularly within a radius of 100 yards of any educational institution.
Passing an order on an application alleging that prohibitory provisions on the smoking were not being effectively implemented, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan carved out the first task for Gupta.
"The application seeks the Police Commissioner to issue directives to prohibit selling of tobacco in the smoke–free zones and also issue instructions to his sub–ordinates to take steps against the outlets selling tobacco products in any form within 100 yards radius of colleges and any educational institute under Delhi University," said Chief Justice Misra.
Directing the Police Commissioner to ensure compliance with the The Control of To bacco Products Act (COTPA), the Bench also asked him to submit a status report on the next date of hearing. "Let the Commissioner also file the status report on the next date of hearing, February 13, 2011."
"Smoke, smoke and smoke...that is what I still see while passing through several such places. You cannot see anything but smoke coming out," noted Justice Misra.
Visibly upset, the judge addressed the courtroom, not just the counsels, and said: "Everybody should know that passive smoking is more dangerous than the active one. People suffer for no fault of theirs."
The Bench also pulled up the counsel for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. "You (the Ministry) frame a legislation and then you fail to implement it. You must work to put all the relevant provisions into practice," Justice Misra told the counsel.
The Bench was hearing a PIL by World Lung Foundation (South Asia chapter) that had sought court directives to the Ministry and the Delhi Police Commissioner to strongly execute the laws.
The petition further averred that a survey was conducted in more than 80 colleges of DU and it found the sale of tobacco products near colleges. According to statistics quoted by the Foundation, 5,500 adolescents in India start the use of tobacco everyday. A recent survey found that 31 per cent males and 7 per cent female students in Delhi colleges smoke.