Though the regulations under the Control of Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) came into effect in 2008, the territorial administration is yet to designate and notify the enforcement officers under the Act, which had resulted in total non-enforcement of the law in the Union Territory.
The Act was passed by the Union government to regulate the trade and commerce, production, supply and distribution of tobacco products, and prohibit advertisement, apart from ensuring that the packs carried pictorial and other statutory warnings.
According to senior officials in the Health Department who spoke to The Hindu on Tuesday on condition of anonymity, not a single case of violation has yet been booked under the COTPA though almost three years have been completed since the Act came into effect.
While the Act has been notified and republished in the territorial gazette, the regulations remained toothless as the authorised persons have not been designated.
“Only when the notification for officers comes, they will have powers to levy fines on institutions that violate the rules,” officials said.
Particulars such as how to collect the fine, which account to deposit the collected amount, and printing of receipts that are to be issued when the fine is levied, have to be clearly put out by the territorial government before the enforcement of the Act could begin, they said.
Penalty under the law could range from imposition of heavy fine to criminal prosecution, in case of individuals, and cancelation of licences for institutions.
Officials also said that absence of notified officers also meant that the ‘Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Rules-2008,' brought in by the Centre to prohibit smoking in public places such as hotels, restaurants, workplaces, shopping malls, hospitals, educational institutions and several other places notified as “public spaces” under the Act, could not be implemented.
Keywords: World No Tobacco Day