Hyderabad: In 2019, the Hyderabad control room received only one call via Dial 100 for smoking in public place, reveals an RTI query filed by activist Akshay Kumar. The RTI sought information about the number of cases filed and fines collected under COTPA (2003) by Rachakonda, Hyderabad and Cyberabad commissionerate.
Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 [COTPA, 2003], came into force in 2003. This Act regularises the use and advertisement of tobacco products. The RTI response shows that the violations registered under this Act in Hyderabad are the highest compared to the other two commissionerate in the past three years. Rachakonda, as mentioned above, demonstrates the least number of cases registered.
Violations under the COPTA act (2003)
Akshay also sought a response on arrests under Section 77 of the Juvenile Justice Act, under which selling tobacco products or cigarettes to minors is punishable with seven years of jail and fine of Rs 1 lakh. According to the RTI, police filed no cases in Cyberabad and Rachakonda jurisdiction for this offence in the past three years. Meanwhile, in Hyderabad, police booked 135 violators in 2017 and 216 violators in 2018, and 40 violators until September 2019.
In 2013, ghutka was banned in the united Andhra Pradesh, as anyone found selling or possessing it was seized, and police arrested peddlers under the Food Safety and Standards.
The number of arrests for possessing Ghukta
While talking to NewsMeter, Akshay said, “As per Section 6(a)(b) of COPTA(Act) 2003 tobacco and cigarettes should not be sold within 100 meter of any educational institution but, that is not the case. Fines for smoking in public places should be collected efficiently. Though COTPA was introduced in 2003, it hasn’t been properly implemented by the police. The amount of fines collected is also less. Police have only booked petty cases for such offences. This effort is not enough.”