Supreme Court Restricts Tobacco Advertising


The Supreme Court of India has overturned a lower court’s suspension of a law regulating the promotion of tobacco products and criticized the central government for doing nothing to get the interim order revoked since it was issued in 2005.

Parliament passed an anti-tobacco law in 2003, and in the following year it introduced a set of rules that made it mandatory for all shops and kiosks selling tobacco products to display signs that warned about their health risks. The vendors also could not display tobacco advertisements that were bigger than 60 by 45 centimeters (24 by 18 inches).

The Indian tobacco lobby objected to the new regulations, and in 2005, the Bombay High Court granted a stay on the enforcement of the law.

On Monday, the Supreme Court, which was responding to a petition filed by the nongovernmental organization Health for Millions, canceled the Bombay High Court’s order, effectively reinstating the limits on tobacco companies’ ads displayed at shops and kiosks selling such products.

The Supreme Court criticized the government for not working to overturn the Bombay High Court’s interim order. The government’s inaction “had a huge ramification on society at large, particularly weaker and poor sections who are the largest consumer of tobacco products,” the court said, according to Press Trust of India….

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