The expression ‘Public Place’ has been given wide amplitude to cover almost all those places, where the general public has occasion to visit.
Thus, ‘Public Places’ within the definition of the said Rules include auditoria, hospital buildings, health institutions, amusement centres, restaurants, public offices, court buildings, educational institutions, libraries, public conveyances, stadia, railway stations, bus stops, work places, shopping malls, cinema halls, refreshment rooms, discotheques, coffee houses, pubs, bars, airport lounges etc.
The violation of the rules fetches punishment of fine up to Rs. 200. Further, rules say that employees or visitors shall not be permitted to smoke within the office, which includes staircases/elevators, lobby, passages, terrace and the parking area.
However, the authorized personnel can approve or provide for a separately ventilated area, called “smoking area” to be suitable for smokers to use for the purpose.
The creditworthy step that the Government has taken to bring in the impugned rules is a commendable effort to be effective for saving the innocent non-smokers from the evil effects of smoking. But at the same time it is now up to the enforcing agencies as how they implement the rules extensively, effectively and indiscriminately.
People at large, the common people are also duty bound not just to abide by the rules but also to cooperate in order to accomplish the desired objective.
It is also submitted that Government should also take some additional measures like awareness campaign, etc., to restrain people from smoking or to help them quitting this evil practice. Merely imposing such minuscule fine of Rs. 200 is not enough to meet the goal of smoke-free nation and pollution-free environment.