The Law is an Ass
During Charles Dickens’ era penury and child-labour were the main theme of his novels. Had he knew about Indian judiciary he must have written few glorious pages on India which claims to be world-Guru on many aspects like oldest human civilization, oldest cradle for religion and family bondage.
But we are living in an era where medicines are affordable but not the bread and butter, where more academic degrees guarantee greater unemployability. India has peculiar law to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to minors of age under eighteen. Today I met a young and in reality very younger teenager who is in his early thirteen selling tobacco products, cigarette, paan masala, gutkha. I asked him his name, native place which he replied unhesitantly. But when it comes to catching few snaps he was almost against to it, believing me to be someone from health department to challan his petty shop. So, master Rohit is not attending school in order to sustain his family and shop, when you ask his age he will reply sheepishly to be eighteen!
The point is that the law of the land (THE CIGARETTES AND OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS (PROHIBITION OF ADVERTISEMENT AND REGULATION OF TRADE AND COMMERCE, PRODUCTION, SUPPLY AND DISTRIBUTION) ACT, 2003 ACT) prohibits the consumption and sale of tobacco to minors of under eighteen years age but this law is really an ass which has no provision that a minor should not sit in tobacco kiosk selling tobacco instead of playing in field, reading comics or attending school.
Who can dare to forget Charles Dickens’ famous quotation in Oliver Twist, chapter 51 –
“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass- a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience- by experience.”
© Sushil Kumar