HC refuses to stay Maharashtra's ban on tobacco products
Citing public interest and health, Bombay High Court today refused to stay Maharashtra Government's decision to ban manufacture, sale and storage of gutkha and pan masala.
The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Nitin Jamdar was hearing the petition filed by Dhariwal Industries, challenging the government's decision and seeking permission to sell pan masala products.
The ban on gutkha and pan masala -- both flavoured tobacco products -- was imposed through a notification on July 19 under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA).
Senior counsel Ravi Kadam, appearing for the petitioner, argued that state government's notification spoke of only gutkha products and not pan masala.
"There cannot be a complete ban. The ban on gutkha products has been imposed as it contains zinc, nicotine and magnesium carbonate which are injurious to health. But our pan masala products contain minimal amount of zinc which is not harmful," he argued.
Advocate General Darius Khambatta, however, opposed the petition, stating that laboratory testing of pan masala showed that it too had harmful ingredients.
Stating that the authorities had justified the ban well, the court said, "Considering public interest and safety of public health, the ban cannot be lifted."
The petition was posted for further hearing on September 12 along with other petitions filed by gutkha manufacturers.
Justifying the ban, state government had earlier said it was its duty to raise nutrition level and living standard of citizens.