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Delhi HC Issues Notice On A Plea Seeking Ban On Tobacco Advertisements And Safeguarding Of Workers Of Tobacco Companies

Karan Tripathi
10 Feb 2020 6:07 AM GMT
Delhi HC Issues Notice On A Plea Seeking Ban On Tobacco Advertisements And Safeguarding Of Workers Of Tobacco Companies
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Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Health Ministry, among others, in a plea seeking a ban on the surrogate advertisements of the tobacco product 'Chaini Khaini'.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Hari Shankar has directed the said Ministry to positively file their reply on the next date of hearing, otherwise strict costs will be imposed.
The present plea is filed for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of workers, as well as children, who are working with the Respondent company for the manufacturing, packing, selling and advertising of the tobacco product 'Chaini Khaini'.
It is argued that the said company is advertising 'Chaini Khaini' in violation of Article 13 of WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which bans surrogate advertisements for tobacco products.
Further it is also claimed that the said advertisements are also in violation of section 5 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade, Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003. It is said:
'The Respondent company is digitally advertising Chaini Khaini as a herbal product with health benefits, which can be used as a substitute to cigarettes. There is no statutory warning on the packet of the said product.'
In addition to the Tobacco Act, the Petitioner has also cited violation of various labour welfare legislations such as Minimum Wages Act, Delhi Shops and Establishments Act, Industrial Disputes Act, Trade Union Act, etc.
It is also highlighted that the Resplendent company is using plastic packaging for their tobacco products which is a contravention of the judgement of the Supreme Court in Ankur Guthka v. Indian Asthma Care as well as the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
These aforesaid authorities have completely banned use of plastic packaging for tobacco products.
In addition to this, it is also highlighted by the Petitioner that the way in which the manufacturing units of this company is a clear violation of legally established norms. It is mentioned:
'the kitchen pantry is in close proximity to the manufacturing and packaging areas and is exposed to hazardous tobacco products. The same may cause serious health complications for the workers as well as the children.'
Further, there's no waste management mechanism, due to which, waste is discharged on open, resulting in air pollution and release of toxic gases.
It is also pointed out by the Petitioner that the Respondent company has not been maintaining its account books and has also been doing tax evasion.
'The packaging machines also have been manipulated by fixing booster which increases the productivity thereby magnifying the production of tobacco products substantially', it is alleged.
In light of these arguments, the Petitioner has sought the court's directions for a Special Investigation Team to be constituted to independently investigate the allegations levelled against the Respondent Company.
The issuance of mandamus to the concerned authorities for the safeguarding of fundamental rights of the workers of the Respondent company has also been asked for.
In addition to this, the Petitioner has also demanded for a complete ban on the advertisement of the tobacco products manufactured by the Respondent company.
The Petitioners in the present case were represented by Advocates Gaurav Kumar and Vaibhav Gupta.

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