HC notice to govt on plea for ban on loose cigarettes sale

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Asif Iqbal

Srinagar, April 12: The state high court on Tuesday issued notice to government on a public interest litigation seeks details about steps taken by it for banning the sale of loose cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Issuing the notice, a Division Bench of the court comprising Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal directed government to file the response within a period of two weeks.

The PIL has been filed by one Mohammad Altaf Dar, a resident of Budgam in central Kashmir.

The petitioner said that the state of Jammu and Kashmir is emerging as smoking capital of Northern India and smoking is almost double the nationwide prevalence as the state has 12% of cigarette smokers as compared to the nationwide prevalence of 5.7%. he said it has also came to light that highest proportion of Adults, 67.9% ,are exposed to tobacco smoking in offices.

He said that the parliament of India passed an Act,   the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act 2003 in order to regulate trade, commerce ,supply ,distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products in May 2004.  The Act, the petitioner, was passed in view of obligation enjoined by Article 47 0f the Constitution of India which casts obligation on the state to achieve improvement of public health section. The purpose behind the section 7 of the Act is to give warning to those persons who directly or indirectly are involved in selling or supplying or distribution of cigarettes by selling  cigarettes and lose tobacco without carrying pectoral warning in order to make public aware of the consequence of smoking and use of tobacco. However, in order to defeat the provisions, the petitioner said, the pictorial warning was missing when a shopkeeper sells loose cigarettes and other tobacco products.