The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 (Act no. 34 of 2003) was enacted as piece of the Central Government’s legislation for imposing prohibition on the advertisement of Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products, and also to make provisions on regulation of trade and commerce, and also production, supply and distribution thereof. The Present enactment was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 9th day of April, 2003 and on 30th day the same month it was passed by Lok Sabha. The President of India has given its assent to the Act on 18th day of May, 2003 and the provisions herein are brought into effect on 1st day of May, 2004. And the extension of this Act is provided to the entire territories of India.
In India, during the period of 1600 century, the Portuguese Traders came for trade and commerce purpose and as such they introduced Tobacco in India which later became a valuable commodity in barter trade and also the use thereof spread rapidly. Even British rulers in India, during the rule of East India Company, has initiated policies by which they supported Tobacco agriculture, which was continued even after the Independence. It was seen by the studies in India that use of Tobacco by any way is directly responsible for increasing Cardiovascular diseases, Cancers of the Oral Cavity, Espohagus, TB etc, which had resulted in death of consumers as seen in large amount. Thus, it was in the years 1986 and 1990, the World Health Assembly’s resolutions urged member states to have strong legislative efforts in protection of population against dangers of Tobacco. In India, by 1990, the Central Government has issued directive against smoking in Public Places and also banned Tobacco advertisements on National Radio and Television channels. In the year 1991 the Regional and National consultations on ‘Tobacco or Health’, convened by Government of India (Ministry of Health) and WHO. In the year 1999 the Ministry of Railways banned sale of cigarettes and beedis on railway platforms and in the trains. The Central Government has banned, in the year 2000, the advertisements of Tobacco on cable Television. Honorable Supreme Court of India in the year 2001 has confirmed ban on smoking in Public Places and in the same year the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) convened a South-East Asia Regional consultation on ‘Public Health and Human Rights”, and advocated the control of Tobacco as an essential measure to protect Human Rights. And as such, in the year 2003 the present enactment was passed by the Indian Parliament.
In section 2 of this enactment, it is very specifically mentioned that the Union of India should take under its control the Tobacco industry as it is expedient in the interest of public. The Act also provides for the very important prohibition on Smoking in the Public Place and also it is made clear that the provisions for smoking areas or space can be made in the Hotel having 30 rooms, restaurants having seating capacity of 30 persons and in the Airports. Similarly, the Act sought to prohibit advertisements in Cigarettes and other tobacco products. And notably, the Act sought to prohibit selling of Cigarette or other tobacco products minors i.e. persons below the age of 18 years and also such selling of Cigarette in area within a radius of 100 yards of any Educational Institution is also prohibited by this Act.
Also the Act provides for imposition of restriction on the trading, producing, supplying and distributing Cigarettes and other tobacco products and this restriction include the printing on the label and package of such products a specified warning in English language, Indian language and Foreign language as the case may be. For the testing of Nicotine and Tar contents the Central Government will have to notify the granting of recognition to the necessary testing laboratory.
The provisions of the Act are also extended the powers of police personnel or an officer from the State Food or Drug Administration or any other holding post of equal rank to the Sub- Inspector of Police, to entre the premises or any place where such the provisions of this enactment are violated in the opinion of such officers for which he has reason to suspect. Similarly, certain other powers such as the power of seizure, confiscation, etc. are also contemplated in the Act. And in case of any persons if feeling aggrieved by the orders of confiscation by the Court, or by the orders of payment of costs, etc. then he is entitled to prefer appeal before the Court having appellate jurisdiction ordinarily against such order making courts. And the Act makes no provisions as to second appeal against the decision of first appellate Court.
The Act sought to provide for punishment in case of failure of giving specified warning while producing the Cigarettes or other tobacco products. The offender will be at the first instance punished with jail of term up to 2 years or fine of up to 5000 rupees or even with both jail and fine. However, for subsequent commission of same offence, the punished will be of jail of term up to 5 year and also with fine of amount up to 10000 rupees. Act also specifies certain other offences, like selling, distributing, etc. of such products having no such specified warning and nicotine and tar contents printed, smoking in public place, advertising cigarettes and tobacco product and other given acts which are sought to be punished under this Act. It is very clearly contemplated in the Act itself that the concerned offences under this Act are bailable and compoundable, irrespective of whatever contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
In its miscellaneous provision, the Act sought to protect the actions of Central Government, State Governments or any officers thereof against the legal actions if those actions were taken by then in furtherance to the provisions of this Act or in good faith. The rule making powers under the Act are provided for the Central Government and such rules to be provided on the matters enumerated under the concerned provision of the Act.
Notably, the Act in its ending provision sought repealing of the Cigarettes (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1975 (Act no. 49 of 1975) and if under the provisions of that Act, whatever, had been done then the same here sought to be treated as has been done under the provisions of this Act.
Recently, there is a bill namely, the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertise and Regulation of Trade, Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Amending Bill, 2015, which was introduced by the Ministry of Heath and Family Welfare (Tobacco Control Division), Government of India for amending the provisions of the present Act.