HC to top cop: Enforce tobacco ban

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Wednesday ensured that the new commissioner of police, B K Gupta, has one task cut out removal of shops selling tobacco products within a 100-m radius of hospitals and educational institutions.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan, while hearing a PIL, directed the police chief to make sure that no tobacco products are permitted to be sold within 100 metres of schools, colleges and hospitals in the city.

HC’s directive came on the PIL filed by World Lung Foundation, seeking the court’s intervention due to failure of authorities to implement the ban on tobacco sale under the provisions of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 (COPTA).

Pointing out the abysmal failure of the government to implement the ban mandated by COPTA, the PIL alleged there was large unchecked sale of tobacco products such as pan masala, cigarettes and gutkha in the prohibited areas. This not only resulted in luring youngsters to such products and wreaking their lives, but also caused widespread social and mental damage to society, the petitioners informed the court.

In order to make their point that those violating provisions of COPTA are not being prosecuted, petitioners annexed pictures in their PIL showing sale of tobacco products in these areas. The photographs showed how many areas around Delhi University and other educational hubs across the capital continue to offer unrestricted sale of tobacco products putting the health of students in jeopardy.

The PIL highlighted how a survey of 83 colleges and schools by World Lung Foundations’ Delhi chapter in September 2010 showed tobacco products being sold in many outlets near educational institutions. They also informed the court that similar situation prevailed in hospitals spread across the city.

Appearing for the government, standing counsel Jatan Singh assured the bench that steps will be taken to ensure proper implementation of the ban and Delhi Police will book the violators.

source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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