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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a plea seeking directions on imposing a ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products in any form, including surrogate advertisements for different products under a single brand name.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice DN Patel and comprising Justice C hari Shakar issued notice to the Delhi government, the central government, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, among other relevant parties mentioned in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a Dipesh Jha.

The case will be next heard 11 March.

The PIL seeks enforcement of fundamental rights of workers, including children under the age of fourteen years, who are involved in manufacturing, packaging, selling and advertising tobacco products under the brand ‘chaini khaini’.

The plea alleged that the respondent, a leading tobacco manufacturing company under the Mahak group, is involved in illegal activities including “surrogate advertisements" which is in violation of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) framework of conventions on tobacco control.

The plea also said the product--chaini khaini--is advertised in such a manner that the general public is left with the impression that it is a herbal product and has health benefits. Additionally, the product carries no statutory warning or requisite photos which are in violation of the Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisements and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003.

Tax evasion, absence of waste management mechanism, and causing serious health complications to the workers are the other offences mentioned in the plea.

According to the petitioner, no action was taken by the Union home ministry despite bringing to light the alleged irregularities. The plea has sought directions for the constitution of a special investigation team to probe these irregularities.


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