The Supreme Court Wednesday directed states and Union Territories to apprise it of the implementation of ban on sale and manufacture of gutkha and pan masala containing tobacco and nicotine.
A bench led by Justice G S Singhvi asked health secretaries of 23 states and five Union Territories,which have issued directions for banning gutkha after a notification from the Centre,to file their affidavits on compliance within four weeks.
Other states,which are yet to issue directions for banning gutkha,have also been asked to explain why they have not issued relevant notifications.
The order came after Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising submitted that sale of gutkha and tobacco was going on in a subterfuge as tobacco and pan masala were being sold in two separate pouches in several states to defeat the purpose of the notification.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar,who appeared for one of the gutkha manufacturers,however objected to Centres attempt to go after only gutkha manufactures while leaving cigarette industry untouched. He said if the consideration was public health,smoking was far more dangerous.