HC notice to Centre on PIL against surrogate tobacco ads

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Chandigarh, Sep 19 (UNI) Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices for January 15, 2008 to the Union Health Ministry and the secretary-cum-convenor of a steering committee set up to check violation of the law relating to prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The notices were sent by the division bench of the Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover after preliminary hearing of a PIL by the petitioner Burning Brains Society, which is a member of the committee.

The Central government had in October, 2006 constituted a steering committee headed by the joint secretary, union health ministry comprising certain official and NGOs as non-official members under section 5 of 2003 act on tobacco products, the PIL said.

It pleaded the court to issue directions to hold the meeting of the committee as till date not even a single meeting had been convened while a large number of complaints had been submitted by citizens against tobacco companies for violating advertisement norms.

The petitioner NGO said it had also sent an agenda for consideration of the steering committee regarding need to take action against many companies using their tobacco products brand names for non-tobacco products thereby and making surrogate ads, thus circumventing the law against advertising tobacco products.

The PIL sought action against the tobacco companies violating the law relating to prohibition of advertisement and regulation of trade and commerce, production, supply and distribution of cigarettes and other tobacco products.


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