Manufacturers would display the statutory pictorial warning on their cigarette and tobacco products from May 30 onwards as the Centre on Monday promised to enforce the rule making the provision mandatory in a month’s time.
Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium gave the assurance to a bench headed by Justice B.N. Aggarwal after senior counsel Indira Jaisingh, appearing for NGO Health for Millions, alleged the Centre was dragging its feet on the issue.
Jaisingh accused the government of buckling under the pressure from the tobacco lobby. When Jaisingh complained the Centre had diluted the original warning signals on tobacco products, the bench said in a lighter vein: “This way, the government wants to control the population.”
According to Jaisingh the government had initially planned to display images of a skull and bone, besides using a caution that tobacco products even kill a baby in mother’s womb. However, using X-ray images of lungs on the label of tobacco products has diluted the warning, she claimed.
After hearing the Centre and Jaisingh the court agreed to take up latter’s application for a final disposal on April 30.