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Mere keeping of tobacco at residence would not amount to being an offence: Kerala High Court

The High Court of Kerala, through learned judge, Justice Kauser Edappagath in the case Abhijith v. State of Kerala (CRL.MC NO. 880 OF 2021) held that mere keeping of tobacco at residence would not amount to being an offence. 

BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE: The petitioner was accused under Section 6 r/w Section 24 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 , Section 77 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and Section 118(i) of Kerala Police Act, 2011. The accused, without any valid licence or documents, was found in possession of prohibited tobacco products totaling 2770 packets which were kept at his residence. It was alleged that the petitioner had intention to sell the same to the children.

JUDGEMENT: Section 6 of the COTPA Act prohibits sale of tobacco products and cigarettes to a person below the age of 18 years and in an area within a radius of 100 yards of any educational institution. As per Section 6, one must actually sell, expose to sell, offer to sell or permit the sale of tobacco products or cigarettes to a person below the age of 18 years or in an area within a radius of 100 yards of any educational institution. The court observed that there was no case for the prosecution that the petitioner had given tobacco or offered products to any minor child. Besides there was no education institution situated within a radius of 100 yards of the petitioner’s radius. The only allegation against the petitioner was that the petitioner had kept the tobacco products at his residence, and it was presumed by police that they were kept for sale to minors. Hence the court remarked that the said Section will not be attracted.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – AMRUTHA K

Click here to read Judgement

 

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