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Dutch Association of CAN v. Netherlands [Netherlands] [March 26, 2013]
A public health organization challenged a government decree that allowed smoking in small cafes and bars that are less than 70 square meters. In this decision the Court applied FCTC Article 8 to the Dutch law. The court found the exception for smoking in small bars to be inconsistent with Article 8.2 of the FCTC requiring legislation to provide effective protection from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor public places, without exception. The court held this section to have direct effect on Dutch regulations despite the flexibility contained in other parts of the FCTC. The court ultimately set aside the ruling of the lower court and ordered the government to enforce their ruling.
Health for Millions v. India [India] [January 03, 2013]
India passed The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) in 2003, before joining the FCTC. In 2005, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare exercised the powers granted to it by COTPA by promulgating rules on tobacco advertising. These rules included restrictions on advertising allowed at point-of-sale, such as a required health warning, limited size, and no lighting or pack images. The tobacco industry challenged the Rules right away in Mumbai High Court before they could go into effect. The Mumbai High Court issued an interim order that stayed the implementation of the Rules until a later date. That was seven years ago. The government unsuccessfully tried to get the stay revoked. During that time, tobacco companies were given free rein to advertise at point-of-sale throughout the country although technically the jurisdiction of Mumbai High Court is just within the state of Maharashtra.
NGOs, including Health for Millions, filed a petition before the Supreme Court and in one High Court on this matter. On January 4, 2013 the Supreme Court stayed the Mumbai Court’s 2005 interim order staying implementation of the point-of-sale rules. This allows the government to finally move forward with implementing the rules on point-of-sale. The Government is rising to this challenge and sending out letters to all states to begin immediate implementation.
Marlboro Motorcycle Helmets [India] [November 27, 2012]
A private citizen brought a public interest case seeking to compel the relevant authorities to enforce the ban on tobacco advertising against commercial vendors of motorcycle helmets with Marlboro Cigarettes advertisements. The court dismissed the petition when the government showed they had already issued notices to the commercial respondents regarding the illegality of their products. The court further ordered the State Tobacco Control respondent to take further action to ensure enforcement of the law and ban the sale of helmets with Marlboro Cigarette symbols.
Burning Brain Society v. India [India] [November 05, 2012]
In this public interest litigation, a public health organization, Burning Brain Society, brought a case against the Indian government and several state governements seeking to ban the operation of hookah bars. The petitioners argued that nicotine is a poisonous drug and that its use in hookah violated the right to life guaranteed by the Indian constitution. The petitioners argued that concentrated nicotine was added to the hookah tobacco to create a more dangerous and addicting product. The court found the tobacco products used in hookah to be commonly laced with nicotine and that this was a harmful and dangerous drug. Ruling for the petitioners, the court required the closing of the hookah bars and for the States to create a permanent task force to monitor and enforce the use of nicotine in hookah bars and to pursue criminal penalties against violators of the law.
Indian Dental Association of U.P. State and Another v. State Of U.P. and Another [India] [September 17, 2012]
In a further development of this case, the court recognizes the directions of the Federal government requiring the state of U.P. to place restrictions on the sale and distribution of “pan masala” or “gutka” that contains tobacco. Here the court recognizes the State’s failure to implement the required restrictions and the existence of similar restrictions, with court approval, in other Indian states. The court demands implementation of the regulations within 14 days and threatens to issue a mandamus demand to the state government and the food business operators if the regulations are not implemented.
Indian Dental Association and Another v. State of U.P. and Another [India] [May 23, 2012]
The Indian Dental Association sued the State of Uttar Pradesh in an effort to reduce the production, sale and consumption of pan masala and to restrict the use of tobacco in pan masala, also known as gutkha. The Court noted arguments made by the State government: (1) There are no restrictions on the consumption of pan masala in the Food Safety and Standards Act, and thus the State government cannot impose restrictions on this product; (2) The Government is considering placing restrictions on the use of pan masala mixed with tobacco, including gutkha. In this order, the Court discusses the addition (and briefing schedule) of various intervenors and a respondent, the Union of India.
Indian Dental Association of U.P. State and Another v. State Of U.P. and Another [India] [April 23, 2012]
The Indian Dental Association, a public interest group, brought a case seeking to compel the U.P. state government to enforce the ban on tobacco and nicotine in food products, particularly in gutka and pan masala. The group argued that regulations, passed by the Central government under the Food Safety and Standards Act, which banned the use of tobacco and nicotine in food products should be enforced by the U.P. government. The court held that the U.P. government should enforce the regulations or show cause before the court why they are not enforcing the ban against tobacco in food products.
Kerala Voluntary Health Services v. Union of India, et al. [India] [March 26, 2012]
Kerala Voluntary Health Services (Kerala VHS) sued the Union of India, et al. to enforce the provisions of India's omnibus tobacco control law, COTPA. Kerala VHS claimed that the Union of India, et al. had been negligent in enforcing COTPA as evidenced by the tobacco industry's facilitating smoking in films and engaging in sale of tobacco near educational facilities. The Court observed that Indian Constitution's right to freedom of speech and expression is circumscribed by the Constitution's right to life and found that provisions of COTPA had been violated. To remedy these violations, the Court imposed measures for compliance and appropriate implementation mechanisms for such measures.
Judicial Review of Article 114 of Law No. 36 of 2009, Ruling in Case 43 [Indonesia] [October 18, 2011]
A group of public health advocates, including Indonesian doctors and a student public health association, filed a petition to clarify the Indonesian public health law - Article 114 of Law Number 36 Year 2009. The law stated that graphical warnings "may" accompany textual warnings required on tobacco packaging, in apparent contradiction to a subsequent provision that required tobacco product packaging to also include graphical warnings. The court found that the use of the the word "may" resulted in ambiguity, "resulting in the absence of a fair legal certainty for the whole community." The Court agreed that justice required a broader view of the intent and purpose of the law, and that the need for legal certainty warranted the removal of the inconsistency. To remove the inconsistency, the Court ruled that the word "may" should be read as compulsory, thereby removing the ambiguity. The Court also found that Petitioners had standing as their right to health was being impaired by the implementation of the act, citing to the Pancasila (the founding principles of the Indonesian State) and the Preamble to the Constitution of the State Republic of Indonesia Year 1945, particularly Article 28D paragraph (1), stating that "health as a human right must be realized in the form [and] provision of various health efforts to the entire community..."
Crusade Against Tobacco v. Union of India, et al. [India] [October 05, 2011]
The plaintiff, Crusade Against Tobacco, an Indian NGO, filed a public interest litigation against the Government of India, alleging the lack of enforcement and compliance with the conditions on smoking areas required for obtaining an “eating house” license. The said conditions have been incorporated by a circular, the legality of which was upheld in a previous decision. Following the Central Government Act regarding restaurant licenses, the high court affirmed that contravening the terms and conditions of the license could lead to prosecution and punishment for each offence with fines. Further, the court held that officers mentioned in the Central Government Act were competent to punish and collect fines, in case of violation of the said conditions, from owners or any other person in charge of the restaurant with smoking areas.