NEW DELHI: If a child is found to be under the influence of liquor, narcotic drugs, cigarette, paan masala or other tobacco products, the Centre has proposed to make it mandatory for the police to ascertain how the juvenile came under the influence or possess these substances and register a FIR. The move proposed in the draft rules is aimed at tightening the noose around those selling or offering such substances to a juvenile.
For the first time, the new Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 that was cleared by the Parliament in December made giving tobacco products to a child also a punishable offence inviting a jail term of up to a maximum of seven years and a fine of up to ` 1 lakh. In the old law tobacco products were not included. Only giving intoxicating liquor, narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances were covered under its ambit.
Currently, the law only prohibits the sale of cigarette or other tobacco products to a person below 18 years and also in an area within a radius of 100 metres of any educational institution. The penalty for violation ranges from ` 200 to ` 1,000 and up to a maximum of three month jail term. Giving drugs or psychotropic substance to minor is also an offence under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act and the Indian Penal Code.
The draft model rules also mandate that all tobacco products and intoxicating liquor will have to display a message that selling or giving such products to a child is a punishable crime with up to seven years jail and ` 1 lakh fine. Shops selling such products will also have to display these messages at a prominent place. The women and child development (WCD) ministry has invited comments from all stakeholders to the draft rules. “We will issue the final rules only after going through the suggestions received from all stakeholders,” an official said.
A World Health Organization study estimates that one out of two young people who start smoking and continue smoking throughout their lives will ultimately be killed by tobacco related illness. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development had in its report on the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Product (Prohibition of Advertisement & Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Bill, 2001, had also observed the ill effects of tobacco products on minors.