Alternating pictorial warnings on tobacco items by Dec: Govt

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New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) The governemnt today pleadedbefore the Supreme Court that it would not be able toimplement the notification relating to alternating variouspictorial warnings on cigarette and other tobacco productpacks before December this year.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam told a benchheaded by Chief Justice S H Kapadia that he has receivedinstruction to state that the alternative pictorial warningscould not be implemented before December.

The bench, which also included justices K SRadhkrishnan and Swatanter Kumar, was hearing a petition byan NGO, Health for Millions, seeking implementation of the lawfor pictorial warnings on the packs of cigarette and othertobacco products.

The NGO alleged that the government has malafidelyamended the law by incresing the time period for alternatingpictorial warnings from one year to two years.

The court posted the matter for final hearing on April14.

The government earlier had ordered tobaccomanufacturers to have pictorial warnings on cigarette packsfrom May 31, 2009, following the court''s directions for it onthe plea by the NGO.

It had informed the court that it was in the processof amending the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products (Packingand Labelling) Rules, 2008, to provide for periodical changingof various pictorial warnings on tobacco products.

During the earlier hearing, it was alleged that thedelay in the implementation of notification was due to thepressure from the tobacco lobby.

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