Ban on gutka: High Court pulls up Govt, calls response ‘unjustified’

Directs State To Take Necessary Steps To Impose Ban On Chewing Tobacco Items Containing Nicotine

D A RASHID

Srinagar, Feb 4: Evaluating the response of the state government to the Public Interest Litigation seeking ban on manufacture, sale, storage and distribution of gutka, panmasala and  other forms of chewing tobacco containing nicotine ingredients as “unjustified”, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Monday directed the government to take immediate necessary steps to impose ban on the items.
 A division bench of the High Court comprising Justice JP Singh and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar granted one-week to the government to file compliance report regarding the ban on gutka and other items containing nicotine.    
 After going through the government’s response, the court directed the Chief Secretary to take the necessary steps to impose ban on use of said items. “When the government is satisfied that the use of the items is damaging the health of users, we see no justification in its response that it is waiting for the Finance Department’s nod to ban the manufacturing and use of the items,” the Court directed.
 In its response, the government has stated that it was already conscious of the fact that use of gutka, pan-masala and other forms of chewing tobacco containing Tobacco and Nicotine as ingredients is harmful to health of people.   “The government is considering banning the use of these items in the State,” government response said.
 The respondents said before approaching the competent authority to put a ban on these products, views of the Finance Department were required to be obtained in the matter in keeping with the financial implications, saying the matter was referred to the Department in October 2012 which is under its examination.
 The PIL filed by Jammu and Kashmir Voluntary Health and Development Association through its counsel Sajad Geelani is seeking ban on the tobacco products in keeping with the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on sales) Regulation 2011 in the interest of public health.
 According to the PIL, the smokeless form of tobacco contains deadly chemicals which are major causes of mouth as well as throat cancer.
 The products contain nicotine, as delineated under new regulations notified by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), says the PIL.
  The PIL states that in keeping with the health hazards of the smokeless chewable tobacco products, 14 states in India including Delhi have banned gutka under provisions of FSSAI.
 Sajjad Geelani represented the petitioners and the State was represented by Additional Advocate General M A Chashoo.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 4 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 5 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST




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