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Bombay High Court query on appeal for meat ad ban

HC notes that while an ordinary person has option of switching off television when such an ad comes, it will have to look at issue on the point of law
Bombay High Court.
Bombay High Court.
File picture

PTI   |   Mumbai   |   Published 27.09.22, 01:04 AM

Bombay High Court on Monday asked three Jain religious charitable trusts and a city resident practising Jainism why they were seeking to encroach on the rights of others by appealing for restrictions or ban on advertisements for meat and meat products in print and electronic media.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Madhav Jamdar noted that the issue falls within the domain of the legislature and it cannot frame laws and rules imposing bans.


The three trusts and the Mumbai resident said in their plea that their families, including children, were forced to watch such advertisements.

This infringed on their right to live peacefully, and the advertisements tampered with the minds of their children, the petitioners contended.

The high court raised questions on the prayers made in the petition.

What about violation of Article 19 (right to freedom of speech and expression) of the Constitution? Why are you (petitioners) seeking to encroach on others’ rights? Have you read the Preamble to our Constitution? It makes certain promises,” Chief Justice Datta said.

The bench noted that it may not have the jurisdiction to pass orders on the petition.

“You are asking the high court to order the state government to frame a rule, law or guidelines to ban something. This is a legislative action. It is for the legislative to say... not us,” the court said.

 The court noted that while an ordinary person has the option of switching off the television when such an ad comes, it would have to look at the issue on the point of law.

The petitioners then sought to amend the petition to submit relevant orders of other high courts.

 The bench directed the petitioners to withdraw the plea and file a fresh petition.

 The petition had sought relief from the information and broadcasting ministry, the State, the Press Council of India, the food, civil supplies and consumer protection department and the Advertisement Standards Council of India.

The petitioners also arraigned companies such as Licious, Freshtohome Foods and Meatigo as respondents.

 They sought directives to the authorities to frame and issue guidelines to restrict and ban advertisement of non-vegetarian foods across media.

The petitioners said the advertisements were not only disturbing and causing harassment to people who believe in being vegetarian, but also infringe on their fundamental right of privacy.

 “It is the fundamental right of everyone in this country to live with human dignity free from exploitation. However, the impugned advertisements exploit the minds of children and youngsters by provoking, promoting and intimidating to consume non-vegetarian foods,” the plea said.

The government has already imposed a ban on advertising alcohol and cigarettes, and like alcohol and cigarettes, non-vegetarian food is unhealthy and causes damage to the environment, the petitioners said.

 The petitioners clarified that they were not opposed to the sale or consumption of such food, and their plea was only against advertisements of such items.

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