Man fined for spitting paan masala on road

In a first, the Ahmedabad municipality fines him 100 for doing so, reports Tehelka Bureau

In a first development of its kind in India, where the number of paan masala consumers is in millions, a case has been filed against a man for spitting it on road. The culprit has also been fined 100 for the act. Mahesh Kumar from Ahmedabad’s eastern suburb of Naroda, was caught spitting on CCTV near the Sardar Patel Statue Road.

According to AMC, it is the first such case in the country. The press statement also states that the civic body issued an e-memo for violation of public health laws. Recently, Ahmedabad was selected as the top city in a national cleanliness survey. Despite having strict laws and high prices after the GST bill was passed, major number of people in India still consume Paan Masala and tobacco.

Earlier, the Municipal authorities in Pune had come up with an exemplary punishment in November 2018 to clamp down on those spitting gutka and paan on the streets. People found spitting in public places would be made to pay a fine of 100 and also clean up their act and this will be captured via videos and photographs.

In a separate incident, the Madras High Court bench on April 15 sought to know from the Tamil Nadu government as to why a total and permanent ban on ‘gutka’ and ‘paan masala’ cannot be imposed. Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice S S Sundar directed the state chief secretary and the health secretary to file a reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking the ban.

‘’Why not the government is going for permanent ban on the two products, why only a government order has been issued banning them (for a specific period) instead of a total ban,’’ the judges asked. The bench posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.

The petition sought the ban saying the tobacco products could cause cancer. The state government had in 2013 imposed a ban on the items and has been extending it annually by way of an order.

In yet another development, gutkha worth 51.83 lakh was seized from two different places in Palghar district of Maharashtra and three people were arrested in this connection in the third week of April.

Acting on a tip-off, the police intercepted a tempo at Acchad checkpost on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway night while it was coming from Gujarat and found gutkha worth around 41.83 lakh being carried in the vehicle, a police spokesperson said. The tempo driver and its cleaner were arrested following the seizure and the vehicle was impounded, he said.

Besides, the police also raided a godown in Vasai area the same day and seized gutkha worth 10 lakh from there, the spokesperson said. The godown owner was subsequently arrested, he said. All the three accused were booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Food Safety and Standards Act, he added.

The sale and consumption of gutkha and paan masala was banned in Maharashtra in 2012. The state government last year announced that sale of gutkha would be made a non-bailable offence.