The Supreme Court Wednesday issued notice to the government on a plea for ban on manufacture, distribution, sale, export, import and consumption of chewing tobacco, gutka and pan masala in all their forms.
The apex court bench Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya issued notice after petitioner Centre for Public Interest Litigation's (CPIL) counsel Prashant Bhushan told the court that 14 states had banned gutka but the restriction was not effective as the product was still being manufactured in other states.
The CPIL sought direction that violation of the prohibition order, as sought by it, would not only make a tobacco product's manufacturer liable under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, but also constitute an offence of contempt of court.
The petition sought direction to the government and the Food Safety and Standards Authority to rigorously enforce the restrictions.
Seeking ban on all forms of gutka, the application said that 14 states have banned gutka only and there were no curbs on chewing tobacco and pan masala.
The NGO alleged that the government had not taken any steps to implement the orders of the apex court or even its own notification which was issued in pursuance to the court's orders.
The court would next hear the matter in February 2013.