The Delhi High Court has asked the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress Government here to examine the feasibility of imposing a ban on the sale of tobacco products in the National Capital Territory (NCT) and to file its reply within two weeks.
A Bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued the directive to the government, while disposing of a PIL filed by ‘Doctors for You’-- a registered society-- seeking to ban tobacco products in the light of the spurt in oral and lung cancer cases in the capital.
Besides, the court asked the petitioners to approach the Delhi Government in this regard and asked the state administration to treat the petition as a representation. Counsel for the state government Najmi Waziri told the Bench that steps had been initiated on the issue and if a representation is made, the government will consider the same.
Additional Solicitor General Rajiv Mehra, appearing for the Centre informed the court that the Centre had written to all the states to implement the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and some States had already banned the sale of tobacco products by invoking the provisions of the Act.
The petitioner averred that eight states had already banned the sale of gutka, but the Delhi Government was yet to initiate action in this regard. It alleged that the inaction on the part of the state government took place inspite of the Centre’s regulation.
The petition further stated that under the Food Safety and Standards Act, the Centre had framed a regulation last year, which empowered the Food Safety Commissioner to ban tobacco products.