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No interim stay on Karnataka HC order against tobacco pictorial warnings: SC

Karnataka

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday declined an interim stay of the Karnataka High Court order setting aside the 2014 Rules mandating that 85 per cent space on both the sides of a packet of cigarettes or other tobacco products carry pictorial warning on their harmful effects.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul declined the state, noting that the December 15 High Court judgment was not available as it has not been uploaded on the High Court website so far.

The court however, said that those engaged in tobacco manufacturing and industry would not later claim any equity on account of it not staying the operation of the High Court order.

Directing the next hearing of the matter on January 8, the court asked the High Court to upload the judgment by then.

The Centre has in 2014 amended the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules prescribing that 85 per cent space on the both sides of the tobacco packaging would be covered with the statutory warnings telling consumers that cigarette smoking and tobacco chewing was harmful to health.

The 2014 amended Rules came into force from April 1, 2016.

The Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendments Rules, 2014 were framed under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.

Prior to 2014 amendment of the Rules, the pictorial warning was limited to the 40% space of the packaging and that too to one side only.

The top court was moved by Allahabad-based senior lawyer Umesh Narain and NGO Health for Millions challenging the December 15 High Court judgment by which it had held that 2014 amended Rules were arbitrary and unconstitutional.

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