news Wednesday, April 08, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | April 7, 2015 | 7:10 am IST The Supreme Court on Monday said it would hear on July 14 a plea seeking direction to the central government to prohibit the sale of loose cigarettes and the enforcement of a 2014 notification mandating that 85 percent of the space on the principal display area of a cigarette packet should be covered by a new pictorial warning of 'cancer affected throat'. Petitioner NGO Health for Millions sought the vigorous implementation of the October 15, 2014 notification that the amended Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008 should be covered by the new pictorial warning. The implementation of the notification is in inertia after Harsh Vardhan was shifted out as the union health minister. As counsel Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, urged the court to issue direction to the central government, the bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice N.V. Ramana said they would hear the matter along with the main matter relating to pictorial warning and restrictions on selling cigarettes and chewing tobacco. The court clarified that if for some reasons, it was not able to hear the main matter on July 14, it would hear the application seeking ban on the sale of loose tobacco and enforcement of the 2014 notification on that day. The NGO said it was "deeply distressed at the callous and ineffective manner" in which the packet warnings have been implemented in the last five years. "Studies have documented the effectiveness of pictorial warnings in increasing awareness, readership and knowledge of the health risks associated with tobacco use, which is totally undermined by the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in single sticks or loose," in violation of constitutional rights, the NGO said in its petition. IANS

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