The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed several civil societies and manufacturers of non-smoking, chewing tobacco products like gutka to become a party to the hearing of a plea against their sale in plastic sachets.
Refusing to lift the ban on sale of tobacco products like gutka and pan masala in plastic sachets, a bench of justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan allowed all impleadment applications of various stakeholders, saying the court will hear all their concerns.
The bench also directed Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam to file the government's reply to issues raised by the stakeholders within four weeks.
Gutka manufacturers and NGO's will have to subsequently file their replies to the government's submission in another four weeks.
The bench also directed the government to make available to concerned parties within two weeks the copies of the report dated February 17, 2011 on use of tobacco.
The court will start its hearing from July 20 and said there would be no adjournments in the case.
Earlier the government had notified the law banning plastic packaging of non-smoking tobacco products on February 4 after the bench had rebuked it on February 2 for not implementing the law and asked it to notify the same within two days.
Endorsing the Rajasthan High Court order, the bench had on December 7 last restrained gutka, pan masala and chewing tobacco manufacturers from using plastic as packaging material for their products from March 1 this year.
It had also ordered the government to entrust an independent agency with the task of testing the contents of these sachets to evaluate the risk they pose to consumers.