High court quashes Chhattisgarh’s ban on chewing tobacco sale

February 29th, 2008 - 12:55 pm ICT by admin  

Raipur, Feb 29 (IANS) After an almost two month long ban, gutka or chewing tobacco Friday returned with a bang to shops and kiosks in Chhattisgarh following a high court order. Vendors hung up rows of gutka pouches in front of their shops after the Chhattisgarh High Court in Bilaspur Thursday quashed a five-year ban imposed on the sale of gutka by the state government on Jan 1.

As per an official estimate, around Rs.100 million worth of gutka is sold in the state per month.

The court order came in response to an appeal filed by gutka traders challenging the ban. The high court remarked in its order that such a ban can only be imposed by the central government and declared the state government’s prohibitive notification illegal.

Chhattisgarh’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had issued a notification Dec 31, 2007 for a complete ban on manufacturing and sale of gutka in the state from Jan 1, 2008. It said violators would face up to three years of imprisonment besides being fined under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act of 1954.

Official sources said the state government was waiting for the formal copy of the high court order to decide on the further course of action.

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