Millennium Post

HC seeks Centre's stand on PIL seeking ban on advertising and promotion of tobacco products

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Monday asked the Centre and the Delhi government to reply to a PIL seeking a "complete ban" on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the ministries of home, health and finance, the Delhi government and the national as well as Delhi state commission for protection of child rights seeking their stand on the plea which has alleged child labour in a company engaged in tobbaco products, like 'khaini', in the national capital.

The petition by one Dipesh Jha has alleged that Harsh Infinity Flavour Pvt Ltd was engaged in manufacture, packaging, marketing and sale of 'khaini', in violation of various statutory provisions.

The petitioner has contended that the alleged "illegal activities" by the company include surrogate advertisement, not paying minimum wages to its workers, child labour, tax evasion and environment pollution.

Central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia appeared for the health ministry and sought time to file a reply to the petition.

The bench listed the matter for further hearing on March 11.

The petition has contended that the company was advertising its product in such a manner so as to give the impression that it was herbal and beneficial to health.

The sachets are made of plastic and do not display any statutory warnings, in violation of judicial orders, it has alleged, claiming that waste and expired products were disposed of by burning them in an open area leading to air pollution.

The petitioner, who claims to be a social worker, has sought directions to the authorities to set up a special investigation team to probe into the various illegalities allegedly committed by the company.

Besides, it has sought directions to the authorities to implement rehabilitative measures for the child labour allegedly employed in the company. It has also sought a "complete ban over advertising, promotion and sponsorship of any tobacco product in any form including surrogate advertisements for different products under a single brand name".

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