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107 decisions

India

Oct 1, 2019

Plume Vapour Private Ltd. v. Union of India

Plume Vapor challenges the government's ordinance banning the sale of e-cigarettes and seeks a stay on the ban's implementation.  The government asserts that a stay at this interim stage before affidavits and hearing is inappropriate.  In an interim order, the Kolkata High Court refused to stay the ban, but stayed the requirement for sellers to prepare a list of their existing stock of e-cigarettes and submit such stock to authorities for disposal.

(Heard along with a similar challenge from Woke Vapors.)

India

Aug 27, 2019

Council for Harm Reduced Alternatives v. State of Karnataka

Council for Harm Reduced Alternatives (Council) challenged a June 15, 2016 Government of Karnataka circular that prohibits the manufacture, sale, distribution, trade, import, and advertisement of e-cigarettes.  Public health group, Verve Foundation Trust, intervened.  At an initial hearing, the court refused to stay implementation of the circular.  In a subsequent hearing, the court observed, "it is expressly clear that the petitioner which is . . . claiming to act in public interest is in fact espousing the cause of manufacturing units of ENDS."  The court further stated that the petitioner has abused the court's jurisdiction and wants only to lift Karnataka's ban on e-cigarettes to ensure that manufacturing companies are benefited.  Without ruling on the merits of the ban, the court accordingly dismissed the litigation and imposed costs on the Council in the amount of Rs. 1,00,000/-.

India

Jul 11, 2019

Litejoy International v. Union of India

Litejoy International challenges a Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) order calling for enforcement of a Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Advisory instructing states to undertake a ban on the sale (including online sale), manufacture, distribution, trade, import and advertisement of e-cigarettes, among other products. On March 18, 2019, a single judge of the Delhi High Court stayed the DCGI order’s implementation, holding that e-cigarettes do not fall within the definition of a ‘drug’, as defined under section 3(b) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940.

(Heard along with M/S Focus Brands Trading v. Directorate General of Health Services, W.P. (C) 2688/2019 and Piush Ahluwalia v. Union of India, W.P. (C) 2735/2019.)

India

May 8, 2019

M/S Marvelous Creations v. Deputy Commissioner of Customs

M/S Marvelous Creations (Marvelous) seeks release of a consignment containing such items as hookah flavorings, e-sheesha pens and e-liquid.  The government retained these items because of Marvelous' failure to follow the procedures set out in the November 27, 2018 Drugs Controller General order calling for enforcement of an e-cigarettes ban.  Marvelous asserted, however, that the November 2018 order had been stayed by the Delhi High Court and the government's retention of its consignment is due only to the pendency of this writ petition.  The court ordered the release of Marvelous' consignment.  

India

Apr 12, 2019

Doctors for You v. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

Doctors for You sought cigarettes and bidi butts to be declared toxic waste and to prohibit tobacco consumption in any form in all public places. The National Green Tribunal directed the Indian Institute of Toxicological Research, Lucknow (with expenses borne by the Central Pollution Control Board) to ascertain whether discarded butts are toxic waste and, if yes, to frame rules for waste management.

India

Feb 5, 2019

S. Suresh v. Union of India

S. Suresh, a media consultant for the Tobacco Free Kerala Campaign, seeks implementation of the Rules relating to point of sale advertising framed under COTPA Section 5.  The court disposed of the matter, reserving Mr. Suresh's rights to file a new case that contained specific instances of violations of the Rules.  

India

Jan 19, 2019

Manjinder Singh Sirsa v. Union of India

Manjinder Singh Sirsa requests the court to direct government authorities to prevent air pollution in restaurants and bars. Mr. Sirsa specifically alleges that hookahs contain hazardous substances and that the Delhi Pollution Control Committee should take action under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. By contrast, the government contends that hookahs are not hazardous. Noting that hookah is listed in the tobacco products schedule contained in India's omnibus tobacco control law, COTPA, the court dismissed the matter, finding that it did not possess jurisdiction to hear the application as its jurisdiction extends only to environmental questions.

India

Nov 4, 2018

Piush Ahluwalia vs. Union of India

Piush Ahluwalia challenged the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare's August 28, 2018 ENDS advisory.  The court dismissed the petition with the observation that the advisory is not binding.  

India

Sep 20, 2018

State of Maharashtra v. Sayyed Hassan Sayyed Subhan

The government appealed a Bombay High Court order that overturned police action prosecuting individuals for violations of the Maharashtra gutkha ban under the Indian Penal Code. The Supreme Court reversed the Bombay High Court's finding regarding Indian Penal Code (IPC) prosecution, noting that there is no prohibition on IPC prosecution merely because provisions in the Food Safety Standards Act prescribe penalties. The Supreme Court remanded consideration of specific IPC offenses against the individuals to the Bombay High Court.

India

Aug 31, 2018

Godfrey Phillips India Limited vs. Union of India

ITC and Godfrey Phillips India filed petitions in the Karnataka High Court challenging new 85% health warnings (dated April 3, 2018) that prescribed new images along with a quit line number. The tobacco companies asserted that the Government was not free to amend the Rules as the legality of related Rules (establishing 85% pack warnings) currently is pending in the Supreme Court. The Government maintains that the legality of the April 3rd pack warnings also was challenged in the Supreme Court, where the court refused to stay implementation, choosing instead to condense this matter with the review of the related 85% pack warnings. The Karnataka court refused to stay the April 3rd warnings, noting that using these new images would not constitute hardship to the tobacco companies as already 85% pack warnings are placed on packs.

India

Aug 21, 2018

Seema Sehgal v. Union of India

Homemaker, Seema Sehgal, seeks extension of the COTPA regulatory scheme to e-cigarettes. Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA), filed an impleadment application, and court admitted the association as a party. In its petition, CPAA submitted that regulating e-cigarettes will undermine efforts of state governments to prohibit such products and that a comprehensive ban on the manufacture, import, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement of e-cigarettes throughout India is imperative and in the public interest. On August 21, 2018, the court issued direction to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to indicate within a week the timeframe in which regulatory measures regarding Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)/e-Cigarettes shall be undertaken.

India

May 18, 2018

E. Sivakumar v. Union of India

Mr. Sivakumar appealed an April 26, 2018 Madras High Court judgment that ordered the transfer of a criminal investigation concerning the illegal manufacture and sale of gutkha and tobacco and/or nicotine pan masala from the State Vigilance Commission to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).  The court found that the court below "justly transferred the investigation to CBI after due consideration of all the relevant aspects . . . ."  The court agreed that the facts and nature of the crime warranted CBI investigation and dismissed the appeal. 

India

Apr 26, 2018

J. Anbazhagan v. Union of India

J. Anbazhagan, a member of the legislative assembly in the State of Tamil Nadu, filed a writ petition to highlight the illegal manufacture and sale of gutka and pan masala in the state and to urge the High Court of Madras to order an independent investigation into the matter. Mr. Anbazhagan alleged such sales were carried out in collusion with several high dignitaries and bureaucrats, such as central excise officials, central government officials, officials from different state governments, including the Government of Tamil Nadu, councilors of the Chennai Corporation, and officials of the food safety department, among others. The Court observed that it was compelled to take up the case as the issues involved the right to health and directed that the Central Bureau of Investigation investigate the matter, since, among other reasons, central government officials allegedly were involved.  In response to arguments made by the respondents, the Court also clarified that the definition of “food” under Section 3(j) of the Food Safety Act includes any substance, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, which is intended for human consumption and that the definition undoubtedly was wide enough to include gutka, and other forms of chewable tobacco/nicotine products intended for human consumption. The Court further clarified that India’s omnibus tobacco control law, COTPA, and the Food Safety Act were not in conflict, but were meant to be read in conjunction with each other as COTPA does not contain a non-obstante clause that excludes operation of other laws.

India

Jan 8, 2018

Health for Millions Trust v. Union of India

Using the powers conferred by India’s omnibus tobacco control law, the government introduced new graphic health warnings in October 2014 that, among other things, increased the graphic health warning size from 40 percent of one side to 85 percent of both sides of tobacco product packaging and amended the rotation scheme of the warnings.  The Karnataka Beedi Industry Association, the Tobacco Institute of India, and other pro-tobacco entities challenged the validity of the 2014 pack warning rules in five cases in the Karnataka High Court – Bengaluru, and the court initially stayed the implementation of the warnings via interim orders.  Following a petition by tobacco control advocates, the court lifted the stays, and a division bench of the court affirmed the decision on appeal.  The association and others challenged this ruling in the Supreme Court.  Paving the way for immediate implementation of the warnings, the Supreme Court, on May 4, 2016, directed that the matter be decided within six weeks in the Karnataka High Court by a bench constituted by the Karnataka Chief Justice and that any stays of the warnings in other high courts not be given effect until the conclusion of the matter.  After months of hearings, a two judge bench of the Karnataka High Court struck down the 2014 rules, and the Government and public health groups appealed the matter to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court stayed implementation of the Karnataka High Court order and set final disposal of the matter for March 12, 2018. The Court stated: "[W]e are inclined to think that health of a citizen has primacy and he or she should be aware of that which can affect or deteriorate the condition of health. We may hasten to add that deterioration may be a milder word and, therefore, in all possibility the expression ‘destruction of health’ is apposite." India’s 85% graphic health warning rules accordingly remain in effect for now.

India

Dec 15, 2017

Karnataka Beedi Industry Association v. Union of India

Using the powers conferred by India’s omnibus tobacco control law, the government introduced new graphic health warnings in October 2014 that, among other things, increased the graphic health warning size from 40 percent of one side to 85 percent of both sides of tobacco product packaging and amended the rotation scheme of the warnings.  The Karnataka Beedi Industry Association, the Tobacco Institute of India, and other pro-tobacco entities challenged the validity of the 2014 pack warning rules in five cases in the Karnataka High Court – Bengaluru, and the court initially stayed the implementation of the warnings via interim orders.  Following a petition by tobacco control advocates, the court lifted the stays, and a division bench of the court affirmed the decision on appeal.  The association and others challenged this ruling in the Supreme Court.  Paving the way for immediate implementation of the warnings, the Supreme Court, on May 4, 2016, directed that the matter be decided within six weeks in the Karnataka High Court by a bench constituted by the Karnataka Chief Justice and that any stays of the warnings in other high courts not be given effect until the conclusion of the matter.  The Supreme Court identified pending pack warning challenges in courts throughout India (more than 27 in number) and transferred these cases to Karnataka. After months of hearings, a two judge bench of the Karnataka High Court struck down the 2014 rules. One judge found the rules illegal, holding that the Ministry of Health did not possess authority to act unilaterally. Both judges found the rules to be arbitrary and unreasonable.

India

Sep 17, 2017

Paras Art Studio v. Union of India

Paras Art Studio challenges a government order rejecting its request for permission to organize a vape expo. Instead of allowing Paras Art Studio to proceed with the expo, the court dismissed the petition. Noting that the government’s response to the art studio failed to indicate the statutory framework utilized or reasons for denying the studio’s request, the court directed that the government provide a reasoned decision to the studio within six weeks.

India

Apr 21, 2017

Rishabh Kapur v. Union of India

Rishabh Kapur seeks a prohibition on the direct and indirect advertisement and promotion of the production, sale, and consumption of cigarettes, tobacco products, liquor or other intoxicants on the internet and a direction to the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology to frame laws in this regard. Although the court noted that it could not direct the ministry to frame a policy or legislate, there is no prohibition on the ministry itself from considering the matter. The court accordingly dismissed the matter, but directed that the writ petition be considered as a representation to the ministry to consider and if appropriate express a view within three months.

India

Oct 19, 2016

Federation of All India Farmer Associations v. Union of India

In addition to various objections regarding the government's implementation of the WHO FCTC, the Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA) seeks participation in COP7.  Instead of ordering FAIFA's participation on the India delegation, the court required that FAIFA approach the government and that the government make a decision regarding FAIFA's participation in accordance with law.  

India

Sep 23, 2016

Central Arecanut Marketing Company v. Union of India

This order was one among a series of intermediary orders issued by the Supreme Court of India in a public interest litigation addressing non-compliance with a ban on manufacture and sale of gutka and pan masala with tobacco and/or nicotine under the Food Safety Standards Act, 2006 and Regulation 2.3.4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations, 2011. The amicus curiae in this matter observed that 23 States and five Union Territories had prohibited the manufacture and sale of such products.  Notwithstanding the ban, however, the amicus noted that manufacturers were flouting the prohibition by selling separate pouches of pan masala and flavored chewing tobacco together, meaning for the pouches to be mixed as one.  The Supreme Court directed that representatives of the States and Union Territories that had not prohibited the manufacture and sale of such smokeless products indicate why they had not taken action.  The Court also directed that all States and Union Territories representatives file affidavits regarding their total compliance with the ban before the next date of hearing.

India

Aug 8, 2016

A. Sherfudeen v. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Mr. Sherfudeen seeks a court order directing the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) to bring into effect Section 7(5) of India's omnibus tobacco control law, COTPA, that requires the display on tobacco product packaging of tar and nicotine contents and the maximum permissible limits. The court highlighted a 2010 MOHFW affidavit which indicated that the Ministry was receiving input from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the establishment of laboratories to undertake tar and nicotine testing. The court noted, however, that the government submitted this affidavit six years ago. The court dismissed Mr. Sherfudeen's petition, but required that the government file a new affidavit regarding its progress.

India

Aug 1, 2016

Sherfudeen v. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Individual, A. Sherfudeen, requested that the Madras High Court direct the Central Government to notify and give effect to Section 7(5) of India’s omnibus tobacco control law.  Mr. Sherfudeen claimed that there were several different kinds of tobacco products available in the market and that more than 45% of the Indian population (during the period when the petition was filed) were still using tobacco daily, with or without knowing its ill-effects.  The Court directed the Central Government to provide information regarding when they propose to notify the provision.

India

Jul 19, 2016

M/s Omkar Agency v. Food Safety & Standards Authority of India

In the Patna High Court, smokeless tobacco manufacturers challenged a Food Safety Commissioner order prohibiting the sale of zarda, pan masala and gutka under Section 30(a) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (“Food Act”). The manufacturers alleged that the prohibition was not permissible as such products were permitted for sale under India’s omnibus tobacco control law, COTPA. The manufacturers also alleged that they were not food business operators under the Food Act and, therefore, were not required to submit to the Act’s requirements. The Court struck down the prohibition, observing, among other things, that:  (1) gutka and tobacco (generally), are not food as the Food Act does not prescribe standards for their manufacture, sale or distribution; (2) while pan masala is food, the Commissioner did not rely on objective evidence (which he/she must do under the Food Act) to issue the blanket prohibition on all brands of pan masala, whether or not they contain tobacco; (3) tobacco is not food and, therefore, cannot be regulated by the Food Act; and (4) since COTPA, which is a central law, permits the manufacture and production of tobacco and tobacco-based products, smokeless products cannot be banned altogether, and such a prohibition, therefore, amounts to excessive delegation of executive power.

India

Jun 30, 2016

Pranvesh v. Union of India

A University of Allahabad student filed a writ petition alleging the unabated sale of tobacco to minors and adults in the city of Allahabad. The High Court of Allahabad found that temporary and permanent shops located near schools and other public institutions were making such sales. The Court also found that certain tobacco manufacturers presented misleading information about their products in print and visual media and failed to comply with the requirement for pictorial warnings on tobacco products.  The Court passed the following directions: (1) that all temporary/permanent establishments selling tobacco within a 100 yard radius of educational institutions be removed; (2) that all temporary/permanent establishments selling tobacco within 500 meter radius of the High Court and the District Court be removed; (3) that the sale of tobacco to persons seated in parked cars on roads and road sides be stopped; and (4) that strict action be taken against tobacco manufacturers who violate the requirement for compulsory statutory warnings on their products.

India

Jun 22, 2016

S. Cyril Alexander v. Union of India

Cyril Alexander, a tobacco control advocate, filed a public interest lawsuit requesting that the government exclude tobacco companies from the corporate social responsibility (CSR) requirements mandated by Indian law in order to prevent the companies from earning goodwill. The court directed the government to determine how tobacco companies can best meet their CSR obligations and to take appropriate action within four months of the decision. Not satisfied that the government had undertaken the court's requested actions, Mr. Alexander filed a contempt petition. The court dismissed the petition on the basis that a May 2016 government circular clarifies that tobacco industry CSR shall not contravene India's omnibus tobacco control law. Although Mr. Alexander maintained that his request seeks a general prohibition on tobacco industry CSR, the court held that such a request cannot be the subject matter of the contempt petition. 

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