Mahesh Bhatt and Kasturi and Sons v. Union of India

A prominent film director and a newspaper publisher sued the Indian government challenging elements of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act of 2003 and the Rules that were issued to implement the Act, specifically the sections prohibiting tobacco advertising in print or electronic media or the use of tobacco in films. In this decision, the court found that the government had the authority to enact the Act and that the Rules were a proper implementation of the Act. The court also found that the Rules prohibiting direct and indirect tobacco advertising do not violate the Indian Constitution. The court ruled that reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the print media to prevent publication of tobacco brand names and logos in support of the larger public interest and to promote the right to health and healthy life. As for the limits on the display and use of tobacco in films, the court ruled that the various exceptions to the ban (e.g., older or foreign films, historical depictions of tobacco use, or when supported by a strong editorial justification) meant that there was not a complete ban. Therefore, the court found that the Rules do not violate the constitutional protections for freedom of speech and the right to live a healthy life.


Mahesh Bhatt v. Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) Nos. 18761 and 23716/2005 and 7410-11/2006, High Court of Delhi (2008).

  • India
  • Feb 7, 2008
  • High Court of Delhi



  • Kasturi and Sons
  • Mr. Mahesh Bhatt

Defendant Union of India (UOI)

Legislation Cited

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Type of Litigation

Tobacco Control Topics

Substantive Issues

Type of Tobacco Product