HC reserves orders on pleas against gutka ban, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms


VIJAYAWADA: The high court on Thursday reserved orders in a batch of petitions filed challenging the state government’s decision to ban the sale of gutka products. Several petitions were filed contending the notification issued by the commissioner of food safety by invoking section 302 of Food Safety & Standards Act, prohibiting the sale of tobacco products within the meaning of section 3m and 3p of the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce Production Supply and Distribution Act.

The petitioners argued that tobacco products come under COTA Act and the state government do not have the authority to regulate the sale of products defined under the Act. They said the notification issued by the government is not only entering into the legislative powers of the Union government but also curtailing their rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 301 to 307 of the Constitution. They further argued that the state government neither has the authority nor the jurisdiction to issue such notifications by misleading and misrepresenting facts while the matter is pending before the apex court and also in the high court for adjudication.

The state government, on the other hand, argued that it has taken a policy decision to ban the sale of certain tobacco products keeping public health and larger public interest in view. The Food Safety & Standards Act allows state governments to prohibit unsafe food products, and as gutka and other chewable tobacco products are consumed orally, they fall within the definition of food under the FSSAI Act, the government argued. Considering the arguments, the high court bench headed by Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice D V S S Somayajulu reserved the judgement.

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