Calcutta High Court to hear e-cigarettes’ matter on Thursday2 min read . Updated: 14 Nov 2019, 10:44 AM IST
- The government’s decision to ban e-cigarettes led to protests in several parts of the country
- E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce aerosol by heating a solution containing nicotine
The Calcutta High Court will hear a matter pertaining to e-cigarettes on Thursday after the court had on 1 October stayed the ordinance that had banned e-cigarettes.
Justice Arindam Sinha had passed the order on the petitions of e-cigarette companies—Plume Vapours Pvt Ltd and Woke Vapours Pvt Ltd.
The Cabinet on 18 September approved the Prohibition of E-Cigarettes Ordinance, 2019 that seeks to ban the consumption, production, manufacturing, import, export, transport, sale, distribution, storage and advertisement of e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that produce aerosol by heating a solution containing nicotine, which is the addictive substance in combustible cigarettes. These include all forms of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), Heat-Not-Burn Products, e-Hookah and the similar devices.
The government’s decision to ban e-cigarettes led to protests in several parts of the country. Scores of vapers, harm reduction advocates, medical professionals and members of the legal fraternity opposed the government’s approval of the ordinance and called for regulation instead of complete ban.
“It appears from proceedings happened in Parliament between 7 September 2012 (in Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha, relating to e-cigarettes) and 26 July, 2019 that, inter alia, the government was aware of marketing of e-cigarettes and their growing popularity across the country," the Calcutta High Court had said in its order on 1 October.
“That it (the government) was considering regulating, including banning of it. It had issued advisories to states and union territories to ensure the product is not sold. Till before the issuance of the ordinance, at least as on 10 July, 2019, the government, it appears, had not taken a decision," the court added.
Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi appearing for the centre before the court had said there were materials necessitating issuance of the ordinance.
He had said it was in the interim stage. The consumption of e-cigarettes is to be nipped in the bud. The government has been considering how to achieve this end. Various actions were taken, which is permissible to be taken by the government as opposed to a court passing judgment and being able to thereafter review it only on law conferring right to review. Attempt was made to act on treating the chemicals in e-cigarettes to be in category of drugs. That action stood stayed by judicial intervention.
However, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for the petitioner companies contended that some interim measure is necessary since it has to be taken as admitted that e-cigarettes are less harmful than combustible tobacco.
"A verbal imagery to attach fear to the product is being made. Sufficient pleadings and disclosures, in support of the challenge, are available in the petition. The standards for judicial review of an ordinance are different from legislative action," he said.