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Ban on gutkha in plastic sachets: Deadline stays

New Delhi: In a setback to chewing tobacco manufacturers, the Supreme Court on Thursday declined to extend the March 1 deadline banning the marketing of tobacco products in plastic sachets.

An apex court bench of Justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly, however, said the central government’s rules prohibiting the plastic packaging, which was to come into force with immediate effect, will now be kept on hold till March 1.

The government had notified the said rules Feb 4 this year. However, the court by its Dec 7, 2010 order had said the ban of plastic sachets will come into force from March 1, 2011.

The apex court also issued notice to the government and other parties, including NGOs seeking a ban on a petition by the chewing tobacco manufactures challenging the rules prohibiting the use of plastic sachets for packaging chewing tobacco or gutkha.

The matter will come up for hearing April 13.

A study carried by National Institute of Public Health on the directions of the court revealed that 86 percent of the world’s oral cancer occur in India and 90 percent of those cancers are passed due to chewing tobacco.

In another shocking revelation, it said 24 percent of school going children were already addicted to chewing tobacco.

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