Contempt plea in SC against makers of Rajnigandha, Tulsi

The petition filed by Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) has sought contempt action against Rajeev Kumar, Managing Director of Dharampal Satyapal group, for selling tobacco product in plastic cover in violation of the apex court order.

The NGO contended that despite the ban, the company has been selling its product -- Rajnigandha and Tulsi -- in plastic sachets and pleaded the court to initiate contempt proceedings against its MD.

"Dharampal Satyapal group whose turnover runs into thousands of crores of rupees and which manufactures big brands like Rajnigandha and Tulsi is packing its products in plastic material even after March 1," the NGO submitted.

The petitioner also annexed some samples of tobacco product with its petition.
"This, prima facie, amounts to a serious violation of court's order and thus constitutes a contempt of court. This violation by such a big group could not have been done without the tacit understanding with the enforcement agencies that no action would be taken against the business group," the PIL petition said.

The NGO also sought contempt action against Ministry of Environment and Forests Secretary.

In a blow to gutkha and pan masala manufacturers, the Supreme Court in December last had imposed a ban on the use of plastic in packaging of tobacco products and set March 1 as the deadline within which the tobacco manufacturers need to implement its order.

The Supreme Court ruling had come in midst of reports that more than five million children under the age of 15 years in India suffer from various forms of mouth cancers, which is mainly attributed to the unregulated consumption of gutkha. In states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, more than 16 per cent mouth cancer patients are children.

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