PANAJI: The Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, in its proactive efforts to safeguard children’s health, has taken suo motu cognizance of the matter related to the “Pan Masala” advertisement.
Specifically, the advertisements for Vimal Pan Masala, Rajniwas Pan Masala and Shikhar Pan Masala displayed by the Village Panchayat of Penha de Franca, have been brought to the Commission’s attention.
This advertisement has raised significant concerns as it represents a clear violation of both Section 5 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) and Section 77 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015. This disregard for community well-being, particularly that of children, necessitates immediate intervention.
Violation of COTPA Section 5: Promoting Vimal Pan Masala is considered a breach of Section 5 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). Such promotion not only normalizes tobacco use but also encourages harmful habits, especially among children, posing a direct threat to their well-being and warranting legal action.
Violation of Section 77 of the Juvenile Justice Act: The violation of Section 77 of the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection) of Children Act, 2015, is centered on the commitment to shield children from the detrimental effects of substances, particularly tobacco. Section 77 addresses concerns about indirect contributions to providing these substances to minors, especially through advertising.
The interpretation of “cause to be given” assigns responsibility to those arranging or encouraging such activities, expanding accountability beyond direct providers.
The primary objective is to establish accountability for making harmful substances, such as tobacco, accessible to minors.
Other Key Concerns
Protecting Children from Tobacco’s Consequences: Recognizing the significant impact of tobacco on the developing bodies of children, heightened by prominent advertisements, the Commission emphasizes the risk of long-term consequences. Banning surrogate advertising becomes crucial to shield children from negative health effects associated with tobacco.
Normalization of Tobacco through Urban Advertising: Urban tobacco advertisements normalize tobacco for children, increasing the risk of early experimentation. Banning such advertising is crucial to prevent negative influences, combat addictive substances in pan masala, and avert long-term addiction among children.
1) The Director of Panchayats and Director of Municipal Administration is instructed to promptly issue a directive to all Panchayats/Municipalities, directing them to withhold permission for pan masala billboards in their respective villages/cities/towns. This action is of utmost importance due to the acknowledged health risks associated with pan masala, particularly concerning children. Swift measures are required to address the appeal of these advertisements to the younger demographic, with the goal of preventing a potential increase in pan masala consumption among children and promptly mitigating associated health risks.
2) The Block Development Officer, Bardez, is directed to immediately remove the Vimal Pan Masala billboard along the Mandovi River. This action must be executed urgently to minimize further public exposure and potential influence, particularly on children.
Failure to comply may result in further legal actions as per provisions under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005. This order is issued with utmost concern for the well-being of children.