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Ravishankar v. Union of India [India] [October 28, 2013]
A tobacco control advocate filed a lawsuit against various government agencies seeking full enforcement of India's omnibus tobacco control law and the rules promulgated to implement the law. The advocate did not allege any specific violations of the law. After receiving information from government agencies that they plan to take appropriate action to enforce the law against violators, the court disposed of the petition. The court noted that it is not appropriate to go directly to the court for enforcement of a law if law enforcement agencies are designated.
Cancer Society of New Zealand v. Ministry of Health [New Zealand] [September 30, 2013]
The New Zealand Ministry of Health inspected a portion of a casino complex and determined that it constituted an “open area” under the Smoke-free Environments Act. The Cancer Society of New Zealand and other organizations disagreed with the Ministry’s interpretation and asked the Court to review the issue. The Court found that the Ministry’s enforcement agents improperly relied on an “Open Areas Calculator” (a mathematical tool) in determining whether the space was substantially enclosed. The Court found that the Open Areas Calculator was inconsistent with the definition of an “open area” in the law. The Court ordered the Ministry to reconsider whether the area of the casino could allow smoking under the law.
Doctors For You v. State of Bihar [India] [September 24, 2013]
Doctors for You, a humanitarian organization, sued the State of Bihar seeking enforcement of various provisions of India's omnibus tobacco control law. The court ordered the government to undertake an educational campaign (including newspaper, electronic media, and radio communications as well as through displays at public places) on the harmful effects of smoking and chewing tobacco prior to taking any enforcement action.
Health for Millions v. Union of India & Ors. [India] [July 22, 2013]
The tobacco industry challenged rules implementing the advertising provisions of India's tobacco control law, particularly the restrictions on advertising at the point-of-sale and the definition of indirect advertising. In 2005 and 2006, the Bombay High Court ordered that implementation of the rules be stayed. Health for Millions, an NGO, challenged this decision, and, in July 2013, the Supreme Court of India found that there was not a sufficient reason for the earlier decisions staying the rules. The Court ordered the government to rigorously implement India's Tobacco Control Law and its rules. The legality of the rules, however, still is at issue in the Bombay High Court.
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 becoming a party to 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 requiring a health warning, limiting the size of the advertising, and prohibiting lighting or pack images. The rules also included a definition of indirect advertising. The tobacco industry challenged the Rules in Mumbai High Court, and the Court issued an interim order staying the implementation of the Rules.
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 that prevented implementation of the Rules.
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 governments 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.
Doctors For You v. State of Delhi [India] [August 22, 2012]
Doctors for You, a humanitarian organization, sued the State of Delhi urging the government to implement a ban on gutkha, pan masala, and other forms of chewing tobacco. The court ruled that because that the Delhi government is considering the matter, it would dispose of the petition for now with an opportunity for refiling if no action is taken by the government.