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S. Cyril Alexander v. Union of India [India] [June 22, 2016]
Cyril Alexander, a tobacco control advocate, filed a public interest lawsuit requesting that the government exclude tobacco companies from the corporate social responsibility (csr) requirements mandated by Indian law in order to prevent the companies from earning goodwill. The court directed the government to determine how tobacco companies can best meet their csr obligations and to take appropriate action within four months of the decision. Not satisfied that the government had undertaken the court's requested actions, Mr. Alexander filed a contempt petition. The court dismissed the petition on the basis that a May 2016 government circular clarifies that tobacco industry csr shall not contravene India's omnibus tobacco control law. Although Mr. Alexander maintained that his request seeks a general prohibition on tobacco industry csr, the court held that such a request cannot be the subject matter of the contempt petition.
Youth Smoking Prevention Foundation v. Netherlands [Netherlands] [November 09, 2015]
A non-governmental organization sued the Dutch government for violating Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Article 5.3 of the FCTC requires Parties to the Convention to protect tobacco control policies from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry. The court ruled that the NGO cannot require the Dutch government to take action in furtherance of Article 5.3 because the Article does not have a direct effect on the Dutch government. Additionally, the court found that Article 5.3’s requirements are not sufficiently clear. However, as a result of the lawsuit, the government created a document clarifying how it will implement Article 5.3.
Recommendation of the European Ombudsman in the inquiry into complaint 852/2014/LP against the European Commission regarding its compliance with the Tobacco Control Convention [European Union] [October 01, 2015]
A non-governmental organization (NGO) complained that the European Commission was violating the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which requires parties to protect against commercial and other vested interests of tobacco companies. The European Ombudsman agreed with the NGO that the European Commission’s policies did not provide sufficient transparency about its meetings with tobacco industry representatives. The Ombudsman recommended that the Commission put into place a policy—similar to the policy currently in place by the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety—that requires online publication of all meetings with tobacco industry representatives and publication of the minutes from those meetings.
Rahul Joshi v. Union of India [India] [July 28, 2015]
Rahul Joshi filed a contempt petition citing willful disobedience of the Rajasthan High Court's July 2015 order staying the Government's rules holding in abeyance the implementation of the 2014 pack warnings. The court noted that its July order had the effect of the immediate implementation of the 2014 pack warnings and held that Mr. Joshi's contempt petition will be tagged with a future hearing on the merits of the writ petition.
Rahul Joshi v. Union of India [India] [July 03, 2015]
Rahul Joshi filed suit, seeking direction from the court for, among other things, implementation of the 2014 rules that called for health warnings on 85% of both sides of tobacco product packaging and the plain packaging of tobacco products. The court stayed the Government notification holding the 2014 rules in abeyance and directed that the 2014 rules be implemented. The court also called for the Central Government and the Government of Rajasthan to address plain packaging policy in their reply briefs.
Black v. Secretary of State for Justice [United Kingdom] [March 05, 2015]
A prisoner claimed that smoking should be prohibited inside the prison. The court found that the national law prohibiting smoking in workplaces also applied to prisons, including state prisons. The court determined that the purpose of the law would be frustrated if it did not also apply to the government. The court found that it did not violate human rights laws or the prison rules to deny the prisoner access to a confidential complaint line to complain about smoking in the prison.
Dutch Association of CAN v. Netherlands [Netherlands] [October 10, 2014]
The Netherlands is a Party to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). In 2008, the Netherlands enacted a ban on smoking in public places. In 2011, the government added a limited exception for small cafes with a floor area less than 70 square meters and no staff. A tobacco control organization challenged the small cafe exception as a violation of Article 8 of the FCTC, which requires FCTC Parties to prohibit smoking in all indoor public places. In this decision, the Supreme Court agreed with the lower court that law's small cafe exception violated the FCTC and was illegal. Significantly, the court found that smoke-free requirements of the FCTC were sufficiently detailed to be supreme over a contradictory national law and directly binding within the country.
FIC Argentina v. Buenos Aires City Government [Argentina] [August 15, 2014]
A tobacco control NGO sued the Buenos Aires city government arguing that the lack of implementation of the local tobacco control law, with regards to smoke-free environments, violated the right to health. Furthermore, considering the violations of the law were higher in places like bars and night clubs, the NGO argued that workers in those places had lower standards of protection of their right to health. The judge rejected the lawsuit considering there was no illegal or arbitrary act from the local government. In addition, the judge stated that courts should not replace political decisions.
Doctors for You v. State of Bihar [India] [August 11, 2014]
Doctors for You, a non-governmental organization, sued the State of Bihar seeking implementation of various provisions of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). In response to the petition, the court ordered that signs informing the public about the negative effects of tobacco be posted at all government primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools as soon as possible. Additionally, the court ordered the local police to create a monthly report about enforcement of the Act and submit the report to various government agencies.
S. Cyril Alexander v. Union of India [India] [August 08, 2014]
Cyril Alexander, a tobacco control advocate, filed a public interest lawsuit requesting that the government exclude tobacco companies from the corporate social responsibility (csr) requirements mandated by Indian law in order to prevent the companies from earning goodwill. Mr. Alexander asked for the money that tobacco companies would have spent on a csr campaign instead be paid to the government for medical expenses for people with tobacco-related diseases and other tobacco control programs. The court directed the government to determine how tobacco companies can best meet their csr obligations. The court asked for appropriate action to be taken within four months of the decision and disposed the petition.