The Supreme Court today stayed the judgment of the Karnataka High court, which had quashed the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014 (2014 Rules).
A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkarand DY Chandrachud passed the order today after hearing the Centre, the Tobacco companies and the petitioners.
The 2014 Rules mandate printing of specified health warnings covering 85 per cent of the principal display area of the products’ packaging.
The Karnataka High Court Bench of Justices BS Patil and BV Nagarathna had struck down the 2014 rules. The said judgment was then challenged in Supreme Court.
The Court today heard the parties before holding that the health of citizens has primacy over business of tobacco companies and proceeded to order the following.
“Considering the rivalized submission advanced at the Bar and keeping in view the objects and reasons of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 and the measures taken by the State, we think it appropriate to direct stay of operation of the judgment and order passed by the High Court of Karnataka.
Though a very structural submission has been advanced by the learned counsel for the respondents that it will affect their business, we have remained unimpressed by the said proponement as we are inclined to think that health of a citizen has primacy and he or she should be aware of that which can affect or deteriorate the condition of health. We may hasten to add that deterioration may be a milder word and, therefore, in all possibility the expression “destruction of health” is apposite.”
The matter is now listed for hearing on March 12.
Attorney General KK Venugopal appeared for the Centre along with ASG Pinky Anand. Senior Advocates Anand Grover and RS Surialong with advocate Aishwarya Bhati appeared for the appellants while Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal, CS Vaidyanathan, Ashok Bhanand Sajan Poovayya appeared for the respondents.