The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the authorities to ensure compliance with the law prohibiting manufacture, sale and distribution of e-cigarettes.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma refused to entertain a PIL seeking constitution of a court-monitored committee to review effective implementation of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage, and Advertisement) Act, 2019 and noted that action was already being taken by the State machinery pursuant to the law, including conducting raids.
The court nonetheless asked the authorities to take all possible steps to ensure online sale of e-cigarettes, as alleged in the plea, does not take place. It also said the Delhi police shall take steps to ensure that e-cigarettes are not sold near and around schools and colleges.
“As stated above, raids are being carried out and the Act itself provides for a complete mechanism, this court does not find a reason to interfere. This court does not find it expedient to interfere under writ jurisdiction in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, said the bench, also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad.
However, the State is directed to ensure compliance of the Act of 2019 by conducting more periodical checks… in all localities in and around Delhi, it said.
Petitioners Vinayak Gupta and Anubhav Tyagi argued there was a vacuum between the Act and its implementation and e-cigarettes are even abundantly available within 5 km of the high court but only two FIRs have been registered since the Act came into being. The petitioners submitted that Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said e-cigarettes are extremely harmful as they cause damage to the DNA.
The Delhi government’s standing counsel, Santosh Kumar Tripathi, said the administration was taking action against the sale of e-cigarettes on its own as also on the basis of complaints.
The petition sought a direction to police to forthwith seize the entire contraband of the illegal stock of e-cigarettes and other related substances and to the Centre to immediately remove all related content from online websites.
The plea sought directions to all the respondents in order to expediently take control of the e-cigarettes industry under the Act, find out the source of its illegal sale in the city and ensure introduction of public awareness programmes against its use.