Pune City Police has taken action against nearly 1,500 people in the last one week for consumption and possession of tobacco and tobacco products, and defacement of the District and Sessions Court premises in Pune.
The action comes after a group of lawyers wrote to the Bombay High Court Chief Justice and the office of the Principal District Judge, Pune, over the issue.
In July, a group of lawyers practicing at Pune court had written to the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, Pradeep Nandrajog, and the Principal District Judge, Pune, pointing out that many people blatantly carried and consumed tobacco and tobacco products on the court premises.
Initially, the police team in charge of the court security confiscated the tobacco products and made the offender write an apology letter. But lately, police have started imposing fines, including Rs 2,000 against those caught spitting inside the premises.
Advocate Vikas Shinde, who led the group of lawyers who wrote the letter, said, “All of us have seen people chewing tobacco and gutkha on the court premises and spitting. Many places in the British-era building have been defaced with paan stains. As a first step, we wrote to the honourable Chief Justice of Bombay High Court and the principal district judge, Pune. The letter received an immediate response. A police team has been allocated for the task, and our team of lawyers is also helping them. The Maharashtra Prevention of Defacement of Property Act is being brought in force.”
“When we say this about people visiting the court premises, it also includes many lawyers, court officials and police personnel who not only chew tobacco and its products but also spit inside the balconies, corridors and open ducts. A walk in these areas will give you an idea of the level of this shameful behaviour… we believe that such action should be regularly conducted in all the courts across the state.”
Inspector Prabhakar Dhage, who is in charge of security at the court, said, “Our staff in uniform and in plainclothes are conducting random checks and frisking of people visiting the premises. If people are seen consuming tobacco or tobacco products like gutkha or paan masala, we confiscate the substance and issue a warning. If people are seen spitting, a fine of Rs 2,000 is charged. Till now, we have taken action against more than 1,500 people over the last one week. The drive will continue in the coming days.”