Selling banned gutka, paan masala, flavoured tobacco and supari will be made a punishable offence under sections 324 and 328 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), leading to even a 10-year jail term for manufacturers and vendors, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said.
So far, the offenders were only booked for violating the Food Safety and Standards Act. According to FDA officers, application of the IPC will ensure that those flouting laws are not let off easily.
“Till last year, the offenders were booked only for violation of the Food Safety and Standards Act. This year, we will also book them under the relevant sections of the IPC, which could attract imprisonment,” said Suresh Deshmukh, joint commissioner, FDA.
“We want to send out a message that selling of any of the banned products could land the offenders in jail for even up to 10 years too,” Deshmukh said.
Last year, the FDA had seized gutkha worth Rs4 crore from the state and filed 40 FIRs at various police stations.
“Most of the complaints were against unidentified people as no one claimed the confiscated products,” he said.
The new directive also bans the sale of scented tobacco and supari products.
“Under the new directive, the state has banned scented supari and tobacco products. We recently seized around 72kg of scented supari from STC India Pvt limited at Dahisar,” said Deshmukh.
On Tuesday, the FDA officials met members of the Pan Bidi Association, and asked them to stop selling the banned products in view of the new directive.