It sounded like a joke when the Indian government prohibited smoking in public places. They introduced this law on the 2nd of October, the birthday of Gandhi. I was always suspicious whether people would follow this rule. In the very first week after the law was implemented, media people took pictures of people smoking at public places and showed it to the DM (district magistrate) and asked if this rule was made for Benares or not. DM said that they hadn’t got the written copy of rules yet, and that is why they did not know in what case they should stop people.
I was in Delhi few days ago. I went to the Delhi High Court for some work. I was surprised to see that a lot of advocates and the police were smoking inside the high court premises. First of all I thought that I had come to the wrong place because I just could not imagine that law makers would go against the laws that openly. There was a canteen inside the court premises where people could smoke, I am not sure about it, but a lot of people smoking outside of the canteen and most them were advocates.
I came out of the court after finishing my work. There was a tea shop about 50 meters away from the high court. I went there and asked for a tea and a cigarette. The shopkeeper did not have cigarette. I asked him where was the nearest cigarette shop and he said – inside the high court. I asked why he was not selling cigarettes and he replied that it was not allowed to sell tobacco products near the high court area. Then I told him that I had seen a lot of people smoking inside the high court. He also did not know why it was allowed to sell tobacco products inside the court but not outside.
I often see people smoking at public places including inside the trains and buses which has been prohibited for years. All the restaurants that are for foreigners allow their customers to smoke. People talked about this law for the first few days after it was implemented but I am sure nobody ever followed it, and nobody will ever follow it. Just nobody just cares about it. Everybody makes fun of this law. They know that it will never work in India.
Indian government made the law to stop the smoke that comes from cigarettes but the same government took the law called ‘POTA’ (The Prevention of Terrorism Act) back, which was implemented by the last government of BJP, to stop the smoke of gunpowder (terrorism). Terrorism still existed even when this law was in, but it was not too much. Terrorism was very much under control. The number of terrorist activities have increased rapidly after the government took out this law.
The whole world is making new laws to stop terrorism but I think India is the only country which is taking the existing laws back. This law was taken back only because of political reasons. We had sixty-four bomb blasts within the last six months. I don’t know how many people died but we had never seen this many bomb blasts.