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Supreme Court bans sale of 'gutkha', 'pan masala' in plastic pouches


December 7, 2010 - New Delhi

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a ban on the sale of tobacco products like 'gutkha' and 'pan masala' in plastic pouches from March 2011, while asking the government to carry out a survey on the ill effects of these products within eight weeks.

An apex court bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly also asked the manufacturers to explore and decide by March next year on the alternative material for packaging them.

The directions of the court came while brushing aside the pleas of some of the gutkha manufacturers, who feared that such a direction could lead to closure of thousands of gutkha and pan masala manufacturing units.

"Let it come," the bench quipped when counsel for one of the manufacturers claimed that the whole industry would come to a standstill.

Cigarettes, however, are not a part of the ban issued by the apex ourt as they are generally sold in paper packs

The apex court bench also asked the government to examine the effects of packaging these products in plastics pouches over human health.

The bench recorded an undertaking from Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium that the government would get the requisite survey done by the National Institute of Public Health on the harmful effects of gutkha, pan masala and other tobacco products and also the adverse effects, if any, of the plastic pouches used for packaging the material.

The verdict came following a petition filed by a civil society, which has challenged the alleged unbridled sale of gutkha and pan masala material in the country, seriously impinging upon public health.

ANI

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