The Patna high court on Tuesday quashed the state government’s notification prohibiting manufacture, storage, distribution, transportation and sale of ‘gutkha’ and ‘pan masala’ containing tobacco or nicotine.
A division bench of acting chief justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari and justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh delivered the judgment after hearing petitions challenging the validity of notification issued by the food safety commissioner on November 6, 2015.
M/s Prabhat Zarda Factory India Private Ltd and others had challenged the notification banning manufacture, storage, distribution, transportation and sale of any type of tobacco and areca nut (supari) in the form of pan masala, zarda, scented supari and other incidental activities for a period of one year from November 11, 2015.
Counsels for the petitioners contended that the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 (COTPA) was a special and comprehensive legislation for tobacco products which could not override a general law like Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.
Stating that executive power of the state should not extend to central legislations, they said sale of pan masala mixed with tobacco was regulated by COTPA Act, enacted by the Union government. They claimed that the state order banning these products was beyond its jurisdiction and fit to be set aside.