Author : Pragati Singh
Public smoking is one of the most recently discussed topics of the environment. Be it for people’s health or for the person smoking it. This debate has turned heads towards the idea that can Private vehicles can be treated as Publicspaces. When smoking can be banned in public places then why not in moving cars on the roads. This is debatable and a researchable topic when we are heading towards a healthy living. And seeing the two Judgements of the Supreme Court the author wants to show some light of the following topic, analyzing them and referring them explaining the topic.
It is said by the supreme court that private vehicles would not come within the ambit of ‘ public space’ , as per section 43 of the “Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act” 1985. The observation was made by the supreme court, within constituent bench and comprising justices KM Joseph and UU Lalit that, in a ruling on an appeal to challenge the final decision made by the Punjab and Haryana High court, the supreme court at Chandigarh in March, that the appellant has been dismissed the plea and the confirmation of their belief and make sense under section 15 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985.
How can you call it a public space ?
PUBLIC SPACE refers to an area or place that is open and accessible to all, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or socio-economic status. It can use the public waste collection sites, such as squares, plazas, and parks. To connect places, such as sidewalks and the streets are public spaces. Some important features related to public spaces, in making social contacts, in the neighborhoods, and communities. They come in a “meeting place”, and it can promote political mobilization, and the promotion of action, as well as to contribute to the prevention of crime. It is a place for collaboration and sharing of ideas that have an influence on the quality of the urban environment.
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985
The “Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985” commonly referred to as the NDPS Act , it is an act of parliament of India that prohibits the person, and in manufacturing/production, possession, sale , transportation, purchase and transfer of a narcotic drug or a psychotropic substance. The bill was referred to Lok Sabha on 23 August 1985, it was passed by both the houses of parliament and received the approval of the former President Giani Zail Singh on 16 September 1985. It came into existence on 14 November 1985. Since then , the NDPS Act was changed three times in 1988, 2001 and in 2014.
“This right extends to the whole citizens of India and applies also to all the citizens outside India and to al the persons on ships and aircrafts registered in India”. The Narcotic Drug Bureau was established in the framework of the law, which came into force in March 1986. Each and every person who violates any provision of this Act or any rule and regulation, as a condition of, or is licensed or issued a permit or a certificate of authorization is issued within the framework of the import or export out of India, or through any drugs or psychotropic substances, shall be punished with a severe imprisonment.
The Transgression of the NDPS Act 1985
· The certificate of registration of a vehicle that has been registered will not be in the public means of transport.
· Section 43 shows that the vehicle does not fall under the definition of the term public space as described in section 43 of the NDPS Act.
· By virtue of the decision the court under section 43 of NDPS Act , is not in the right position, at the same time however the case shall be subjected to section 42 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985.
· In section 43 of the NDPS Act it also deals with the power granted to seize or arrest in public space.
Case of Satvinder Singh related to public place
The Supreme Court heard the appeal of the four Rotarians from Jharkhand , who during the voyage of the Giridih to Patna on June 25, 2016, in a vehicle exposed to a breathalyzer test, are addicted to alcohol. Considering Bihar as a “dry” state, and cases have been registered against them under the provisions of article 53 (a) of the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016, which provides for sanctions for those of you that have alcohol in any public place or in which a third are in place. They were arrested and held in custody for two days.
First of all, those people will be applied to the Patna high Court to overturn the decision of the head of the Judicial Magistrate, who took note of this is going to happen. After that the High Court rejected the claim, and made an appeal to the Supreme Court. Their main argument in the Supreme court was that the car they’re driving can’t be called a “public place” within the meaning of Section 2 (17A) of the Bihar Excise Act, 2016, and that there are no bottles of alcohol, or other harmful material on their own.
It was also found that, while Section 2(54) of the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016, includes a private car in a public place, with the same provision that is not in the Bihar Excise Act, 2016. The Government of Bihar found that the vehicle was caught on a public way, and under Section 53 (a) of the Bihar Excise Act, 2016 that was fully enforced.
Final decision of Supreme Court related to the definition of “public space”
The Supreme Court, in its judgment noted that under Section 2 (17A) of the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016 defines a “public place” as any place to which the public has access, regardless of whether they are right or not, and includes all of the places that will be visited by the public, as well as an open plan space. Their key words are, “any place that’s open to the public,” and this opinion is further qualified by the phrase ” regardless of whether or not it’s only a matter of the law or not,” noted the court. In the case of four of the Rotarians, the court noted that their car was caught while on the road.
“If a private car is going to a public road, you might not allow the use of the public do not have access to. While it is true that the general public does not have access to a private vehicle to the right, as well as the general public has the opportunity to address the problems of their own vehicle, as long as it’s on a public road,” reads the resolution, which was adopted on the 1st of July of the previous year. The court rejected the argument that a vehicle does not fall within the definition of “public place” within the Law, as amended in 2016 by Bihar.
The vehicle can either be a public or a private place, depending on whether or not the passenger is wearing a mask
The court’s interpretation of the rules can lead to situations in which the legal system seems to be in contradiction with itself. Such a situation has emerged from the Delhi High Court, and the decisions of the Supreme Court in the case that your car is in a private or in a public place. In Saurabh Sharma & ors (2021), the court in Delhi had to decide whether or not to own a car to be considered to be a public place, in order to enforce laws, rules and regulations, it is mandatory to wear masks in the midst of the pandemic. The court found that it is, indeed, a public place, in the context of the Covid-compliant behavior, and modes of transmission, a person driving a car without a mask, if they were infected, and gave the respiratory droplets of liquid or cavities, in the car, you may still have the infection on to others in the car.
On the other hand, in the case of Boota Singh vs State of Haryana (2021), the Supreme Court ruled that in a car, it is a private place for the purpose of Section 43 of the Narcotic drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, which deals with search and seizure powers in a public place. At last the Supreme Court has concluded that a car is not something that can be accessed by members of the public, and has been established in accordance with article 42 of the Act, which provides for the protocol to a search without a warrant, considering that a personal car should be considered as a private space.
Hence when we say the word private vehicles and call them our own ,this case clarified that the vehicles are not your own any more until they are running on the road. The verdict stated “We have to further take into notice that the private vehicle of the appellants was intercepted when it was on the public road. When a private vehicle is passing through a public road it cannot be accepted that the public have no access”.With its latest ruling, the Supreme Court overturnIn а ruling issued by the Supreme Court on Mоndаy, private vehicles on рubliс roads аre nоw tо be соnsidered аs being а ‘рubliс рlасe’. This оverturns а 1999 Kerаlа High Соurt ruling аnd саn роtentiаlly hаve fаr-reасhing соnsequenсes! The deсisiоn, which was rendered by a bench соmрrising оf Justiсe Аshоk Bhushаn аnd Justiсe KM Jоseрh, effeсtively mаkes аny рubliс оffenсe – like smоking – аn оffenсe in your рrivаtе саr аs well. ed a 1999 Kerala High Court judgement that classified private cars on public roads as private space.
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