The Supreme Court on Friday denied an interim stay on the Karnataka High Court’s order quashing regulations on pictorial warnings on tobacco products. Upholding the High Court’s order, A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked the court to upload its judgement and fixed an appeal against it for hearing on January 8 next year.
Earlier on December 15, the Karnataka High Court had struck down the 2014 amendment rules mandating 85 per cent warning — image and text — on packets of tobacco products and had ruled that the earlier 40 per cent warning norm should be restored. It was replying to a batch of petitions, filed by tobacco companies challenging the rules.
Following the Karnataka High Court order, anti-tobacco activists and many doctors had cited latest India figures of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2016-17 and pointed out that bigger warnings on packs have been a successful attempt to prevent people from using tobacco products.
The plea was filed by NGO ‘Health for Millions’ challenging the Karnataka High Court’s decision staying the mandatory 85 per cent pictorial warning on cigarette and gutka packets. The decision was seen as a major victory for the tobacco industry while it came as a setback for health advocates.
The bigger warning on packets came following a July 2015 Rajasthan High Court order, which asked the Centre and the state government to implement a 2014 government notification mandating 85-per cent warnings.