SC to decide whether rotation of cigarette pack warnings compulsory

SC to decide whether rotation of cigarette pack warnings compulsory

A bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar wanted to know the views of the cigarette manufacturers on the issue and questioned why leading companies like ITC and Godfrey Phillips were opposing rotation of pictorial warning on their packets, even though this is explicitly provided for in the Packaging and Labelling Rules, 2008.

On this, senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for India Tobacco Company (ITC), and Mukul Rohtagi, representing Godfrey Philips, submitted that the present pictorial warning on their packets was enough to give the message.

However, both advocates acknowledged that the law has provision for such changes.
On this, the bench said, "If you are agreeing to it, then we would consider it."

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for NGO Health for Millions Trust, submitted that various countries are now thinking of having nine different pictures on tobacco packages, which would be rotated every year.

Dave further submitted that Rule 5 of the Packaging and Labelling Rules, 2008, clearly mandates rotation of the warning on cigarette packs every year.

He further submitted that the pictorial warning was first used on cigarette packets on May 31, 2009, and it is high time that it is rotated. However, the government has extended the date of rotation to December 1, 2010.

The petitioner further highlighted the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's statement to the Rajya Sabha on November 9, 2010, that the revised pictorial warnings would be made effective from December 1, 2010.The apex court has posted the matter for a further hearing in March, 2011

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