Yes, smoking is legal on open roads and other public places in India.
However, the law has some restrictions on smoking in public places
Smoking is not allowed within 100 yards of hospitals, educational institutions, religious places and government offices. Smoking is also not allowed inside railway stations, airports and any other public transport facilities.
In addition to these restrictions, a person cannot smoke in a vehicle which is being driven by someone else. The rule applies even if there are no passengers in the vehicle at the time of smoking.
Smoking is prohibited in all public transport vehicles such as buses, taxis and auto rickshaws as well as in all trains belonging to Indian Railways or any other government owned railway company.
Passive Smoking is one of the major motivation behind making of smoke free laws. Why should a person other than the intended active smoker face any problem? The passive smoking also causes dangerous diseases like cancer, permanent disability and even leads to death. So, the people who smoke should think about its consequences on other people. The Constitution of India has provided to the people six fundamental and various other Rights. People always raise their voice if any of their rights get violated. But, do we really care about our fundamental duties that we must do as a citizen of India? The Article 51A Part IV of the Constitution of India states different fundamental duties incorporated under 42nd Amendment in 1976. The 86th amendment done in 2002 provides 11 fundamental duties to be done by every citizen of India. I am discussing about fundamental duties of our citizen because even after having legislation for different purposes it depends upon us to make it successful.
“Section 4 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) describes about Prohibition of Smoking at Public Places which is applicable from 2nd October, 2008”
Instructions for the Public Places
The public places must display a sign of “No Smoking” on a board. The size of the board should be 60 cm in length and 30 cm in width. The background of the board must be white in colour and all the other specifications must be followed. The board must display a warning “No Smoking Area- Smoking here is an offence”. The warning should be given in English language and one Indian language according to the respective location. The board must be displayed at the entrance of the public place and other prominent places of the building. If the public place has more than one gate then the board will be displayed on each entrance gate. The public building consisting of different floors will contain the display board on all the floors including at the staircase and lifts.
The name of a designated officer must be notified and displayed on the board to whom the complaint will be made if someone is violating the law by smoking at public place. The keepers of the public place must ensure that no ashtrays, matches, lighters or any other thing which can facilitate smoking are provided at the public place.
Judgment in Murli S. Deora v. Union of India
The harmful and dangerous effects of smoking in public was recognized by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the year 2001 during the case of Murli S. Deora v. Union of India. The ill effects of passive smoking and absence of any statutory provision regarding this problem was also recognised by the Supreme Court in this case.
The Supreme Court in its decision banned smoking in public places like auditoriums, hospital buildings, public offices, railways, court buildings, libraries, educational institutions, health institutions and other place of public use.
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