Cuttack, Jan. 31: Orissa High Court today imposed restrictions on destruction of materials seized during enforcement of the ban on gutka and pan masala in Odisha.
The court issued the interim order after receiving petitions seeking intervention against seizure of tobacco products other than gutka and pan masala. Ashok Mishra and five other businessmen of Cuttack had filed the petitions.
The government had imposed a ban on the manufacture, storage, sale and distribution of gutka and pan masala containing tobacco or nicotine as ingredients under Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictionson Sales) Regulations, 2011. The government had issued a notification to this effect on January 3.
The petitioners had alleged that tobacco products such Kanak and Tarkeswar zardas, khaini and other similar items not included under the purview of the notification were being seized during implementation of the ban.
“After a preliminary hearing, the division bench of acting Chief Justice P.K. Mohanty and Justice S.K. Mishra directed the authorities concerned to store all products and articles seized during implementation of the notification till final disposal of the case,” petitioner’s counsel Buddhadev Routray told The Telegraph.
The court was hearing the petitions along with a PIL seeking intervention to prohibit illegal production, distribution, supply and marketing of products such as gutka, khaini, pan masala, gudakhu, zarda or any other products containing tobacco or nicotine-like substances.
Acting on the PIL, the court had directed the Odisha government on January 7 to submit details on the prohibition within seven days.
Bikash Das, president of the Committee for Legal Aid to Poor, along with M.D. Imran Ali of Bhadrak and Jitendra Kumar Sahoo of Kandhamal filed the PIL.
Taking note of the failure on part of the government to submit the details, the court set February 7 as the new deadline for it.
The court had directed the secretaries of health and food supplies and the consumer welfare departments to file affidavits giving a detail report on the ban imposed by Odisha government.