No stay on gutkha ban notification

The Delhi High Court on Friday declined to stay the city government’s notification imposing a blanket ban on manufacture, sale, storage and display of all gutkha products under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA).

The court, however, issued notice to the city government and the Centre through the health and family welfare ministry and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and sought their response by December 11. The plea was made by a city-based gutkha manufacturer, challenging the September 11 notification.

“Except issuing notices, we are not inclined to pass any order as the notification (of September 11) was issued (by the city government) on the basis of the Centre’s regulations, which is not under challenge,” said a Bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.

The Bench dismissed the stay application filed by Trimuti Fragrances Private Ltd. In its plea, the gutkha manufacturer had said the city government had issued the notification in terms of the Centre’s August 2011 regulations under the Food Safety and Standards Act.

Terming the city government’s notification as arbitrary, the petition had said, “The notification is arbitrary and bad in law in as much the same is ultra vires the FSSA itself, which does not confer any power to impose permanent prohibition on any food product.”

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