The Delhi High Court Tuesday pulled up a lawyer for filing a petition seeking direction to the Centre to prohibit the display of anti-tobacco health spots having graphic or gross images during film screenings in cinema halls and on television and OTT platforms, and asked him to file an affidavit expressing regret.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan, while hearing an appeal by the lawyer for expunging the remarks made against him by a single judge who dismissed his petition, said he needed a "course correction".
"He must give an affidavit expressing regret and then we will expunge the remarks. Absolute regret is required in this case," the bench, also comprising Justice Mini Pushkarna, said.
The court observed that the government was trying to take measures to spread awareness about the harmful impact and consequences of tobacco consumption and the petition could be a "sponsered litigation".
"Look at the way cancer is spreading.. I completely agree with the single judge," the court remarked as it listed the matter for hearing next on December 7.
Under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) rules, anti-tobacco health spots and disclaimers are being issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. These advertisements are aimed at creating awareness about the ill effects of tobacco consumption.
The petitioner had argued before the single judge that his grievance was against the incorporation and prevalence of distasteful, gross and graphic anti-tobacco imagery in the health spots played during the screening of movies and television programmes.
The single judge had dismissed the petition earlier this year for being a "gross abuse of the process of law" and said the purpose of displaying distasteful, gross and graphic anti-tobacco imagery was only to make people aware of the ailments and ill-effects of consuming tobacco and tobacco products and show them what they can do to their health.
The single judge had said it was the duty of the State to take steps to ensure that the health of the citizens is protected.
-With PTI Input