India bans smoking in all public places
It's bad news for the smokers in India. Government of India has passed a law banning smoking at all the public places from thursday onwards. This is country wide ban and those violating the rule will have to cough up $5.
With a population of around 1.2 bn in India, about 250 million people, mostly men, use tobacco and it is major cause of death.
Smoking will be banned at all public places hotels, restaurants, schools, pubs or discotheques, hospitals, airports and bus stops. However Private homes and alongside roads are among the few places where smoking will be allowed.
Smokers beware! Hotels, restaurants, pubs, offices and even the international airport would be out of bounds to light up the rolled tobacco from tomorrow with the ban on smoking in public places coming into effect.
The ban, the implementation of which is effective from Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary, will cover even hookah bars and pubs as well as private offices and public places like bus stops.
Union Health Ministry issued a notification for the ban under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution), Act 2003.
The notification, which was brought out on May 30, was challenged in many high courts by the ITC as well the Hotel Association of India following which the Health Ministry approached the Supreme Court submitting before it to hear all the cases at one time.
Hearing the petition, the apex court yesterday refused to stay the Central government's notification on the ban on smoking in public places from October two.
A Bench, headed by Justice B N Agarwal, while refusing to stay the notification dated May 30, 2008, also transferred four petitions challenging the ban.
The petitioners had alleged that the notification made no distinction between private space and public space and it may create problems.
Though Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss had written letters to Chief Secretaries, Chief Ministers and Governors of all the states, some states like Bihar and Maharashtra have expressed their inability to implement the ban.
Indian government is very proactive in passing law but it has very poor record of implementation and enforcement of laws. And no wonder not everybody is convinced the new law will work. Indians are known for violating all the laid rules like jumping traffic lights, spitting on street and getting people to honor the ban will be an uphill battle.