Karnataka

KSE finds fault with police

Minister for RDPR K.S.Eshwarappa has found fault with Shivamogga police who took action against shopkeepers, for selling cigarettes violating the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COPTA). Mr. Eshwarappa, who is also in charge of Shivamogga district, has instructed the police not to punish the shopkeepers, stating that they (the police) would attract his wrath if they did not follow his instruction.

A delegation of shopkeepers had met the Minister in Shivamogga on Friday. The Minister had spoken to a police officer over the telephone on this issue. A video clip of his telephonic conversation, with the speaker turned on, has gone viral.

The Minister is seen enquiring with the police about their action against shopkeepers who sold cigarettes. When the officer at the other end tried to convince the Minister that they were acting as per the COPTA, Mr. Eshwarappa wondered if there was a law prohibiting shops from selling cigarettes. He also wanted to know if the law was being implemented only in Shivamogga.

Even as the police officer said the police had been acting as per the instruction from the senior officers, the Minister said the police were free to punish to those smoke in public places. “Why are you penalising shopkeepers? If they are not allowed to do business, how can they survive? Have you fallen sick?” he asked. Further he said the police should spread awareness on the law among the shopkeepers before implementing it.

The COPTA prohibits shops from selling cigarettes within a radius of 100 yards from education institutions. Besides that, shopkeepers are not to sell cigarettes to any person below the age of 18 years. And, shops should not display advertisements promoting tobacco products. Those who violate the law attract action. The police can impose penalty and seize tobacco products found in the shop.

When The Hindu contacted Shivamogga SP B.M.Laxmi Prasad, the officer said the police had been acting as per the law. However, he refused to comment on the Minister’s instruction to police officers.


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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 8:48:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/kse-finds-fault-with-police/article37737708.ece

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