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.