The state has permitted the export of a consignment of gutkha worth Rs. 2.5 crore to the United Arab Emirates.
The state food and drug administration (FDA) informed the Bombay high court on Friday that the state was willing to allow gutkha baron RM Dhariwal to export the tobacco product, which is banned in Maharashtra. The baron had moved court after the consignment was withheld by the Customs at the Nhava Sheva port.
Advocate general Darius Khamabata told the division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Anoop Mohta that the FDA was willing to allow the consignment to be exported subject to an undertaking from the Dhariwal group that they shall not bring any consignment of the product, banned in Maharashtra, in the future.
The bench, however, changed the condition after Dhariwal’s counsel Milind Sathe raised an objection to it. The court ruled that the group would have to take the high court’s permission before bringing any gutkha to the state.
Dhariwal’s counsel had submitted that even after the state ban was imposed on gutkha on July 19, 2012, they had exported at least 48 consignments from Nhava Sheva port. He further contended that they should not be stopped from doing so as the ban does not concern export.
The advocate said that the latest consignment was held after the Food Safety Commissioner addressed a letter dated November 14, 2012, to the Customs asking it now to allow import of export of gutkha from any port in Maharashtra.
The Dhariwal group manufactures gutkha in Vadodara and exports it, mainly to the Gulf.