HC directs govt to enforce law on smoking

The High Court on Monday directed the State government to strictly implement the Cotpa Act, 2003—which prohibits advertisement and regulation of tobacco business—and punish the violators accordingly.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice S N Satyanarayana directed the government to consider the petition by the party in person, S S Ravishankar, as a representation and take necessary steps to implement it. Cotpa Act refers to the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act.

The petitioner had contended that cigarette-manufacturing companies were glorifying smoking by using “misleading” descriptions, attractive graphics and designs, audio-visual stationery and moving displays.

It was also contended that the Advertising Standard Council of India had failed to safeguard the ethics in advertising. What’s more, no action was taken against public smoking and no fine collected, the petitioner stressed.

He also sought directions from the court to instruct the government to take immediate action against printing of clear pictorial warnings on all sides of the cigarette pack, cigarettes, pack outers and cases in order to stop the “misuse of law” by the companies.

He also prayed for instructions to the government to take immediate action against such companies and prevent such “repeated illegal acts”. The companies should also be restrained from making, marketing, promoting and encouraging smoking.

The petition had also sought direction to the government to ban all forms of glorifications of cigarette smoking.

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