The Bombay high court, on Saturday, rejected pleas to suspend the year-long ban on the manufacture, distribution and sale of gutka and paan masala imposed by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on July19 this year.
Some manufacturers had challenged the FDA ban on the grounds that gutka and paan masala could not be prohibited using provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act (FS&S) as they did not enter the digestive tract and were therefore not food articles.
"The voluminous record and reports submitted by the respondents (state and central government) establish the dangers caused by gutka and paan masala because of their ingredients - tobacco, nicotine and magnesium carbonate," observed the division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Niteen Jamdar bench rejecting the plea.
The bench held that that every substance that is chewed in the mouth, even a chewing gum, which isn't intended to enter the digestive tract, can be defined as food under FS&S Act.
The HC said that "it was obvious that magnesium carbonate was being used by manufacturers as an additive for sweetening the areca nut". The court, however, asked the government not to destroy seized gutka and paan masala till September.