NGO Opposes Government for Allowing Sanjay Dutt to Smoke in Jail

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 4 2007 12:58 PM

A Chandigarh-based non-government organisation Friday moved an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Maharashtra government, seeking information on how Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt was being allowed to smoke inside the prison.

The NGO - Burning Brain Society - has questioned how the Maharashtra government and prison authorities in the state were allowing Dutt access to cigarettes inside the prison when the law prohibits it. Dutt has been moved to Yerawada Jail to serve his six-year prison term in the 1993 Mumbai serial bombings case.

"Smoking does not come under the category of food or life-saving drugs. It is also not a source of entertainment or recreation that a convict should be allowed access to inside the jail," society president Hemant Goswami pointed out in his representation to the Maharashtra government.

Goswami's society had led an anti-smoking campaign in the city to get Chandigarh declared India's first 'smoke-free city' July 15. Smoking is now banned at all public places in the city.

The NGO said that instead of allowing Dutt to smoke, jail authorities should provide him medical advice and anti-nicotine patches or chewing gums to help him get rid of the addiction.

Goswami challenged Dutt's plea to a Mumbai court for probation from his jail term as he was working for cancer awareness.

"Someone who himself is addicted to cancer-causing tobacco should at least refrain from making such statements," he added.