The High Court on Tuesday issued a rule asking the government to explain as to why the ineffectiveness of the authorities concerned in preventing scenes depicting smoking in movies and plays, should not be declared illegal.
The HC bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil issued the rule following a writ petition.
It also asked the authorities concerned to explain as to why directives should not be given to them for implementing the Narcotics Control Act.
Secretaries to the Public Health and Family Planning, Law, Home, Information and Bangladesh Film Censor Board Chairman have been made respondents to the rule which is returnable in four weeks.
Advocate Maniruzzaman Linkon stood for the petitioner while deputy attorney general Tushar Kanti Roy represented the state.
On February 3, Bangladesh Cancer Society, Anti drug organisation ‘Prattyasha’ and Population Development Organisation (PDO) filed a petition seeking ban on use of smoking and showing smoking scenes in movies and plays.
“There is a law on using drugs and tobacco but it is ineffective,” said Advocate Maniruzzaman.
On March 11, 2020, a legal notice was sent to the Secretaries to the Public Health and Family Planning, Law, Home, Information and Bangladesh Film Censor Board Chairman seeking implementation of the law. But no response came from the respondent, he said.
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According to the writ, Bangladesh has signed the ‘Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’ (FCTC) in an effort to discourage people from smoking and tobacco during the 56th conference of World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2003.
To make the issue a success, the government enacted a law on Smoking and Using of Tobacco Products (Control) Act, 2005.
According to the law, smoking in public places is an offence and there is a provision to fine Tk 300 to those who are found smoking in public places or public transport.
As per the section 5 (1) of the law, Prohibition of advertisement of tobacco products. -(1) No person shall-display advertisement on tobacco products in cinema hall or government and non-government radio and television channel, and shall not make any exhibition of photographs audible or made audible :print or publish or make published any advertisement in any books, magazines, handbills, bill-board, newspaper or printed papers published in Bangladesh; and distribute or supply to public any leaflet, handbill or documents containing the name of brand of tobacco product, colour, logo, trade mark, sign, symbol or advertisement.