Asks Centre, CBFC to ensure scenes depicting tobacco use are not shown in films

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday directed the State government to ensure that no tobacco products of any nature are sold within 100 yards from the outer limits of the boundary walls or fence of educational institutions.

A Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjulla Chellur and Justice A.V. Ramakrishnan Pillai, directed the Central government and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to ensure that scenes violating the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production Supply and Distribution) Act 2003 (COTPA) were not depicted in films, tele-serials, and other visual media.

The court was allowing a public interest writ petition filed by the Kerala Voluntary Health Service, Kottayam, seeking a directive to strictly enforce the COTPA and the Prohibition on Sale of Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products around Education Institutions Rules, 2004.

The Bench ordered that school protection committees be formed and these be chaired by the heads of institutions. The committees shall consist of parents and teachers selected by the heads of institutions. The panel's duty would be to set the law in motion against the violators of the provisions of COTPA and its allied rules. The committees, which would meet once in a month, should take action within 15 days from the date of receipt of information on violations.

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