Supreme Court refuses to quash stay on Karnataka High Court order on pictorial warnings on tobacco products
A vacation bench of the Supreme Court on 22nd December, 2017 refused to interfere with the decision of the Karnataka High Court in a case dealing with pictorial warnings on the cigarette packets and other tobacco products.
The decision of the Karnataka High Court in Writ Petition No.53876 of 2015 had been challenged in the Supreme Court before the bench consisting of Justices PC Ghose and Amitava Roy but the Court adjourned the matter for 8th January, 2018, as the copy of the High Court judgment is yet to be made available.
The Karnataka High Court had quashed the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014 (“Rules”). An appeal was filed against this verdict by Senior Advocate Umesh Narain, who incidentally was a former tobacco user and had been diagnosed with cancer.
It is pertinent to note that the Rules mandate printing of specified heath warnings covering 85 per cent of the principal display area of the products’ packaging. In the appeal filed through advocate Aishwarya Bhati, Narain has contended that the Rules are amendments to the 2008 Rules, which were implemented subsequent to the direction of Supreme Court. The Court has now directed the Karnataka High Court to upload the judgment before the next date of hearing, i.e., 8th January, 2018.
The Karnataka High Court Bench of Justice BS Patil and Justice BV Nagarathna decided more than fifty petitions filed by individuals and organisations from across the country. Different high courts had passed conflicting decisions on the issue. NGO Health for Millions preferred an SLP before the Supreme Court.
The Petitioners were represented by Senior Advocates Anand Grover and R.S.Suri along with Advocate Aishwarya Bhati while the respondents were represented by Senior Advocates Vikas Singh and Sajan Poovayya along with Advocate D.N.Gobburdhan.
Read the Supreme Court order below: