MoHFW asks States to authorize Head Constable to Impose Penalty under COTPA

October 28, 2018 01:01 PM

Punjab News Express/Y.S.Rana
CHANDIGARH: In order to provide more staff for implementation of COTPA, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has sent an Advisory to all Principal Secretaries of State health departments to consider notifying head constables, municipal officers etc as additional enforcement officers to impose and collect fines under Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA).

The letter of October 25 of the Ministry joint Secretary stated that India was the third largest tobacco producing nation and second largest consumer of tobacco worldwide. Mortality due to tobacco in India was estimated at upwards of 1.3 million (13.5 lakhs) annually. One feature of tobacco usage in India was the high incidence of oral cancers, exceeding even that of lung cancer and accounting for almost half of all oral cancers in the world.

As per section 25 of COTPA, there is provision for central/state governments to authorise enforcement officials. Police officers, not below the rank of sub inspectors of police have been authorised by the Act to take action in violation of Section 4 and Section 6 of COTPA 2003. However there is provision in the Act for Central or State Authorities to authorise other persons and designations to fine offenders.

The central government has enacted the Act to discourage the use of tobacco, with emphasis on protection of children and young people from being addicted the use of tobacco with a view to achieve improvement of public health in general as enshrined in the Article 47 of the constitution.

In order to strengthen COTPA enforcement campaign in the country, it would be appropriate that the States may consider notifying additional enforcement officers viz head constables, municipal officers etc, to impose and collect the fine against the violation of the Act.

While talking to doctors here welcomed the move and said the move would really prove helpful as more force would be available for COTPA implementation.     

Dr T.S. Mahant, world renowned heart surgeon said  that it was fact smoking and tobacco intake was a major killer and the move the central government would go a long way in controlling the cigarette and tobacco uses and added it would prove deterrent to the offenders.

Government of Himachal Pradesh has authorized the police personnel not below the rank of head constable to impose and collect fine under Section 4 and Section 6 under their respective jurisdiction in addition to the persons authorized

Under section 4 of COPTA smoking is prohibited in public places, and section 6 prohibits sale to /by minors, Sec 6a prohibits sale of tobacco products in an area within a radius of 100 yards of any educational institute.

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