The Delhi high court on Friday declined to stay the September 11 Delhi government notification imposing a blanket ban on the manufacture, sale, storage and display of all gutkha products.
The court, however, issued notice to the Delhi government, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and sought their response by December 11 on a petition filed by a city-based gutkha manufacturer, who challenged the September 11 notification.
The court order came after the Centre's standing counsel Jatan Singh told the court that many such litigations were pending in eight states where such a ban had been imposed and no high court granted a stay.
"It is also to be remembered that such a notification was issued by the government in pursuance of the Delhi High Court's orders," Singh told the court. In its plea, the gutkha manufacturer had said that the city government had issued the notification as per the Centre's August 2011 Regulations under the Food Safety and Standards Act. As per the regulations, "products (should) not contain any substance which may be injurious to health; tobacco and nicotine shall not be used as ingredients in any food product."
Terming the city government's notification as arbitrary, the petition had said, "The notification is arbitrary and bad in law in as much the same is ultra vires the FSS Act itself which does not confer any power to impose permanent prohibition on any food product."