Apex court restores ban on cigarette ads at retail shops
- New Delhi, July 22
The Supreme Court today restored the ban on large advertisements on cigarettes and other tobacco products at the retail shops by vacating a stay granted by the Bombay High Court in 2005.Under a law enacted by Parliament in 2003, the size of such advertisements should not exceed 60 cm by 45 cm and one third of the area should carry the statutory warnings such as “tobacco kills” and “tobacco causes cancer.” Manufacturers moved the Bombay HC in 2005 and got an interim stay in December 2005, which was made absolute on March 27, 2006 due to non-appearance of the Central Government counsel.The Centre also stayed away from challenging this order in the SC which allowed the manufacturers to promote their products at the point-of-sale (retail shops) in a big way by displaying huge advertisements without carrying any statutory warnings. Ultimately, the HC order was challenged in the SC by an NGO, Health for Millions.During the hearing today, a Bench headed by GS Singhvi was critical of both the HC and the Centre for allowing the violation of the restrictions clamped under the Cigarrettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distrubution) Act, 2003 and the relevant 2004 rules without any concern for people’s health.The Bench said the HC ought to have considered four aspects — public interest, irreparable loss, prima facie material and balance of convenience —before granting stay. It pointed out that one million people were dying of oral and lung cancer caused by tobacco and its products every year and by 2015 about 8.5 million would meet with a similar fate.HCs should be extremely loath to passing interim orders in matters affecting public. “The court can’t put on hold any legislation without recording comprehensive reasons. The HC did not apply its mind to any of the ingredients,” the SC said and made it clear that the Centre’s attitude was also intriguing.“We are sure that the government will take remedial measures to engage only those counsel who espouse public cause,” the Bench said while directing both the Centre and the states to enforce the restrictions rigorously.Bench raps Centre, Bombay HCz Under a law enacted by Parliament in 2003, the size of advertisements on cigarettes and other tobacco products must not exceed 60 cm by 45 cm and one-third of the area should carry statutory warnings such as “tobacco kills” and “tobacco causes cancer”z Manufacturers moved the Bombay HC in 2005 and got an interim stay in December 2005, which was made absolute on March 27, 2006 due to non-appearance of the government counselHealth Ministry welcomes orderThe Health Ministry on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court order vacating the stay granted seven years ago by the Bombay High Court on the rules that restricted the scale of advertisement of tobacco products in warehouses and at points of sale such as shops and showrooms. “We will now write to all state governments to implement the rules that had veen stayed by the Bombay HC and now stand reinstated by the SC order. It means at the points of sale whereas you can write - cigarettes are sold here, you cannot write ITC cigarettes are sold here. Also, the board advertising cigarettes is supposed to be in the margins and the one displaying anti tobacco statutory warnings has to be bold,” said a health ministry official.Thank you very much.
With warm personal regards,NikhilDr. Surender N. Gupta,MBBS; PGDHHM;PGDMCH;PGDCHFWM;FAIMS;MA (Phil);FIMS;MAE (Epidemiology); OCCRTI
HFA_PHC_Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA;
Com_Ch_Public health, Johns Hopkins University, USA;
MSData, University of Toronto, Canada;
Epidemiologist-in-Charge, District Chamba-cum
Faculty, Regional Health and Family Welfare Training Centre,
Chheb, Kangra-Himachal Pradesh, India.
Pin-176001.01892-265472 (Fax); 01892-263472 (Office)
-Editorial Board Member_African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology;-Member_National Editorial Advisory Board_
_Indian Journal of Trauma and Emergency Pediatrics;
-Editorial Board Member_Wudpecker Journal of Medical Sciences;-Editorial Board Member_Journal of Environmental Science & Water Resources;
-EIC-Pediatric Education and Research
E-mail IDs: drsurendernikhil@...