The Supreme Court today paved the way for the Centre to regulate the rules on advertisement of tobacco products at their sale outlets as per which displaying ads larger than sixty centimetres by forty-five cm at shops is barred.
A bench headed by justice G S Singhvi allowed the Centre to enforce Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Rules, 2004, also known as Point of Sale rules, for regulating the advertisements at shops selling tobacco products.
The apex court vacated seven-year-long stay on implementing the rule, imposed by the Bombay High Court in 2005 and said there is total frustration of the objectives of the Act due to stay on its implementation.
The high court in an interim order passed in 2005, had stayed the implementation of Point of Sale Rules of tobacco products.
The rule says each board shall contain in an Indian language warnings that 'tobacco causes cancer' or 'tobacco kills' and it should be prominently displayed measuring twenty centimetres by fifteen centimetres.
The apex court passed the order on a PIL by an NGO Health For Millions which contended that the rules be strictly implemented as being a signatory to international treaty, Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC), India has to impose a comprehensive ban on all advertisements, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products to reduce tobacco consumption globally.
The court after a brief hearing issued notice to the Centre and the tobacco companies asking it to file their replies within four weeks and vacated the stay imposed by the high court.
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