Petition Closed

Ban chewing tobacco/supari/ Paan in all public places under IPC 268.

This petition had 377 supporters

I would like to draw your attention to the widely pervasive habit of spitting in our country which contributes significantly to dirtying our public places.

This habit of spitting is resulting in the crime of defacing public property and forcing the administration to use hardworking tax payer’s money to paint and repaint the walls. It is a nuisance which results in huge wastage of public money.

Spitting is also a major public health hazard and contributes to spreading communicable diseases e.g. Tuberculosis [TB Bacilli can survive in spit for an entire day], H1N1 (Swine Flu), Avian Flu, Pneumonia and Gastro-Intestinal diseases. There are several reasons of public spitting, but the most common cause of the red splotches everywhere in public places is the indiscriminate spitting habit by the tobacco chewers. Chewing tobacco use enhances the frequency of public spitting as everyone needs to spit after consuming tobacco in various forms such as paan, khaini, zarda, paan Masala etc;.

Thus tobacco chewers not only put their own lives and the fortunes of their families at risk; their spitting spreads disease and also dirties public property.

Discouraging spitting in public places would thus have a double benefit – it would clean our country as well as discourage & reduce the usage of chewing tobacco.

I therefore seek your intervention in stopping this reprehensible habit and suggest the following:

Section 268 of the Indian Penal Code which makes the act of causing “public nuisance” a punishable offence and has been effectively used to curtail public smoking can also be extended to curb the use of chewing tobacco at public places in view of the threat to the sanitation and public health by the act of spitting in public place.

The IPC defines public nuisance thus: ‘A person is guilty of a public nuisance who does any act or is guilty of an illegal omission which causes any common injury, danger or annoyance to the public or to the people in general who dwell or occupy property in the vicinity, or which must necessarily cause injury, obstruction, danger or annoyance to persons who may have occasion to use any public right’.

Section 269 in The Indian Penal Code prohibits any negligent act that is likely to spread infection of disease danger­ous to life. As per this section - whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

Section 278 prohibits any act that makes atmosphere noxious to health.—Whoever voluntarily vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighborhood or passing along a public way, shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.

Therefore, chewing tobacco in public places can be prohibited under all of the above sections. I urge the Ministry of Home Affairs to please issue suitable orders to do so under swachh bharat mission.

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