SC issues notice to Centre on plea to ban tobacco products

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today issued notice to Centre on a plea for complete ban on manufacture and sale of gutka, pan masala and other tobacco products in the country.

A bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi sought the government's reply on the plea by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation seeking its direction to the Centre to impose the ban effectively.

"Prohibit the manufacture, distribution, sale, export, import and consumption of chewing tobacco, gutka and pan masala in all their forms and direct that violation by this order will not only make the manufacturer liable under the Environment Protection Act and Food Safety And Standards Act, but also would constitute a contempt of this court," said advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO.

He also alleged that the government is not implementing court's direction for banning plastic packaging for tobacco products.

"The government has not taken any step to implement the order of this court or their own notification (which was issued pursuant to this courts orders). Such large-scale of illegality and nullification of rule of law could not have happened without the active connivance of the government.

"Petitioner submits that it is a known-fact that gutka/ pan-masala and also plastic manufacturers lobbies are very strong and they have significant control over policies and actions of the government," the petition said.