The JHU Bill seeking to set up a National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol is not inconsistent with the Constitution, except for certain clauses which needed to be amended, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday.
Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara announced the Court decision on the Bill, which was presented to the House on December 20 last year by JHU leader the Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera and referred to the Supreme Court by Parliament for a special determination.
Referring to clause 29 which states that a person shall not promote, sell, offer for sale or permit the sale of any product or alcohol within a radius of one hundred metres of any premises frequented mainly by children or young adults, the SC said it was inconsistent with Articles 12 (1) and 14 (1) (g).
`The objective of this clause could be achieved by substituting it with a suitable provision that prohibits the sale of tobacco and alcohol products to persons below the age of 21`, the Supreme Court said in its determination.
It said Clause 16 should be amended to provide any direction issued to be subjected to the provisions of any law that is specifically applicable.
The SC said Clause 33 (2) (f) should be substituted with a provision worded in the manner stated above while Clause 37 was amended to provide for tests that should be formulated in consultation with the government analyst and the word `shall` in line 20 of clause 38 be replaced with `may`.
The Court advised for a suitable provision to be included to prohibit smoking in enclosed public places in keeping with the submission made by the Bishops and Church leaders.