Himachal Pradesh HC Directs State To Ensure That No Sale Of Loose Cigarette And Bidis Takes Place [Read Judgment]
‘The State Act of 2016 was brought into force only during the pendency of this petition and the same needs to be implemented in letter and spirit.’
The Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the state to ensure that no sale of loose cigarette/bidis/prohibited articles shall be allowed to be carried out, more specifically within the radius of 100 metres of educational institutions.
Suo motu writ petition was registered by the High Court after it took note of a letter by a resident Ankush Dobhal, highlighting non-implementation of state policy for the sale of tobacco products and loose cigarettes.
State of Himachal Pradesh in 2106 had enacted the Himachal Pradesh Prohibition of Sale of Loose Cigarettes and Beedies and Regulation of Retail Business of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2016. But it was brought into force 30.8.2018 during the pendency of this petition. As per the Act, sale of loose cigarettes is completely banned.
There is also a central law viz. Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation and Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, (COTPA) which banned smoking in public places and also prohibited advertisements of cigarettes and other tobacco product. It also bans sale of cigarettes or any other tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age and also in an area within a radius of 100 yards from educational institutions, providing further that cigarettes or any other tobacco products can only be sold/produced/ supplied/distributed under packages containing specified warnings and not otherwise.
Taking note of these, the bench comprising Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel asked the state government to implement the state policy in letter and spirit. Following directives have been issued.
- The authorities, both under the COTPA and the State Act shall ensure that no sale of loose cigarette/bidis/prohibited article, either under the Central Act or the State Act, shall be allowed to be carried out, more specifically within the radius of 100 metres of educational institutions.
- The State shall consider further strengthening the mechanism for proper registration, renewal and the procedure for entry, search and seizure.
- The State shall ensure that Officers for the purposes of compounding of offence committed under Section 3 are appointed forthwith in proper, complete and effective implementation of the provisions of the Act. Not only that Officers under Sections 4,6 and 10 of the COTPA must be notified forthwith.