The Delhi High Court today restrained till July 16 the city government from taking any coercive action against three tobacco manufacturing firms which have joined several such companies that have challenged the ban on sale of chewable tobacco here from March 30 this year.
Justice V P Vaish while restraining the government from taking any steps against the three companies – Shivam Betelnut Pvt Ltd, Mahalaxmidevi Flavours Pvt Ltd and Rajat Industries Pvt Ltd – till July 16, also issued notice to its Food Safety Commissioner and sought response by that date.
It said that on July 16 the city government will come with instructions on whether high court’s April 8, 2015 restraining order would be applicable to the three companies.
The high court had on April 8 restrained the government from taking any action against sellers till May 20, 2015 and which was thereafter on July 1 extended till August 3, 2015.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government told the court that the only issue was whether chewable tobbaco comes under Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) or Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.
The court said, “In the meantime, respondent (Food Safety Commissioner) shall not take any coercive action against the petitioners.”
The three companies, which have challenged the city government’s ban on chewable tobacco, sought parity with the other companies, including Sugandhi Snuff King Pvt Ltd, which got protection against coercive action, saying they are also similarly placed.
Earlier, on May 20, the Delhi government moved an application seeking to vacate the April 8 order by which it was restrained from taking coercive measures against the sale of chewable tobacco in the national capital.
The Delhi government had alleged in its plea that tobacco users are increasing on daily basis and the manufacturers should be stopped from producing products which directly harm the public at large.