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No sale of gutka, pan masala in pouches from March 2011

Wednesday December 08, 2010 09:00:59 AM, IANS

New Delhi: In a major setback for manufacturers of gutka (chewing tobacco) and pan masala, the Supreme Court Tuesday imposed a ban, from March 2011, on these products' sale in plastic sachets.

Asking the manufacturers to explore and decide by March, 2011 on the alternative material for packaging them, an apex court bench of Justice G.S.Singhvi and Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly also directed the central government to carry out a survey by the National Institute of Public Health to ascertain the harmful consequences of gutka, pan masala and other tobacco products.

The National Institute of Public Health will also go into the adverse effects, if any, of the plastic pouches used for packaging the material.

The apex court passed the order while hearing a petition by the tobacco manufacturers challenging the Rajasthan High Court's 2007 order banning the sale of chewing tobacco and pan masala in plastic sachets.

The Rajasthan High Court order came in 2007.

The chewing tobacco pouches (as the sachets are commonly called) are essentially made of polypropylene and have a small amount of plastic for preserving the tobacco product.

The apex court Sep 7, 2007 had stayed the operation of the Rajasthan High Court order. The petitions challenging the high court's Aug 29, 2007 order were filed by manufacturers of Jayanti Gutka, Ankur Gutka and Laxmi Brand.

The high court had also asked the Rajasthan government to get the sachets examined by the Forensic Science Laboratory to ascertain the plastic content of the pouches.

It had directed the chewing tobacco manufacturers to comply with the provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition, Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, which came into force from February 2007.

Besides this, the court had imposed a fine ranging between Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 12 lakh based on their turnover by the sale of chewing tobacco.

The matter will come up for hearing in the apex court March next year.


 

 

 

 

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