A legal battle seems inevitable over the ban on gutkha and paan masala, approved by the state cabinet on Wednesday. While the state is set to file a caveat in the Bombay high court on Friday to avoid legal hurdles, gutkha manufacturers are preparing to challenge it.
Food and drugs minister Manohar Naik said in the legislative assembly that a notification on banning manufacture, sale, advertisement and distribution of gutkha and paan masala will be issued on Friday or Monday. “The food and drug administration department analysed 1,173 such products, of which 1,153 contained 98% magnesium carbonate, which is extremely hazardous,’’ said Naik.
In Pune, Rasiklal Dhariwal of Manikchand Group said: “The decision has not been taken after conducting any study. We have to fight for our rights. Also, two cases are already pending before the Supreme Court.”
The present ban has been imposed under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sale) Regulations 2011, which empowers local bodies to ban products hazardous to the populace.