India - high court rules in favor of tobacco companies that violated cigarettes with pictorial warnings rule..

August 8, 2010 - The pictorial warnings were proposed in July 2006 under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003 and were suppose to appear on every tobacco pack sold from June 1, 2010..

The first two court complaints in Delhi and subsequent summons for violation of the rule of selling cigarettes with pictorial warnings have gone up in smoke. The Delhi High Court (HC)quashed criminal complaints against a distributor Pataka Industries and one Mussadi Lal Ram Swaroop under section 20 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement Regulation of Trade Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.

Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra was of the view that the authorities had jumped the gun in their zest to implement rules when the law itself had not come to force when they were booked for the offence.

The distributor and Swaroop had approached the High Court challenging a Metropolitan Magistrate’s summoning order dated August 29, 2009. Their lawyer Shirish Khajuria argued that the cigarette packets found in violation of the rules were purchased on 20th March, 2009 and the law had came into force on 31st May, 2009. "Rules under the said Act had not come into force and the offence cognisance of which was taken by the learned MM was not committed,” argued Khajuria.

Reference: HC quashes two complaints in Smoking Act,
Harish V Nair (, Hindustan Times, 8/7/2010.

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