Supreme Court Directed Union Government to Enforce Tobacco Ad Rules at Shops

Jul 23, 2013 12:52 IST

The Supreme Court of India on 22 July 2013 directed the Union Government of India to enforce rules on the advertisement of tobacco products at all the sales outlet which prohibits the display of those ads which are larger than 60 cm x 45 cm. A Bench headed by Justice G. S. Singhvi nullified the interim order of the Bombay High Court, while staying the implementation of the Point of Sale Rules or Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Rules of 2004 in order to regulate the advertisements at those shops which sell the tobacco products.

The Apex Court, in the meanwhile, also criticized the Union Government for being shrewd with the tobacco lobby, especially when thousands of people die of cancer every day. The Bench expressed its concern over the way the Union Government handled the case in High Court, which in 2005 stayed implementation of the rules. In an interim order passed in the year 2005, the High Court had stayed implementation of Point of Sale Rules of tobacco products.

According to the Point of Sale Rules, every board in an Indian language shall contain the warnings saying tobacco causes cancer or tobacco kills. This should be prominently visible on the display that measures 20 cm x 15 cm.

The Apex Court passed this order on the Public Interest Litigation filed by an NGO called Health for Millions, which challenged that the rules should be strictly implemented as a part of Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC), wherein, India should impose serious and comprehensive ban on all the promotion, advertisements as well as sponsorship of tobacco products in order to bring down the rate of tobacco consumption globally.

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