The Supreme Court has coordinated the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to entirely stop the sale of gutka, accessible in business sectors in various packs, while making it clear that it has banned chewable tobacco and nicotine accessible in all structures.
According to a report in The Indian Express, a bench of Justices V. Gopala Gowda and Adarsh K. Goel underlined regulation 2.3.4 of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition & Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011, while giving the directions.
The regulation 2.3.4 states: “Product not to contain any substance which may be injurious to health: Tobacco and nicotine shall not be used as ingredients in any food products.”
In any case, there are organizations that are offering pan masala and tobacco in particular sachets because of the need in implementation of the direction, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, an amicus curiae investigating the petitions connected to gukta boycott, said.
“Instead of the earlier ready-to-consume mix, tobacco companies are now selling gutkha in twin packs to be mixed as one,” said Subramanium. He sought strict implementation of the regulation leading to a complete ban on products with tobacco and nicotine.
“In view of the above, concerned statutory authorities are directed to comply with the above mandate of law. We also direct the Secretaries, Health Departments of all the States and Union Territories to file their affidavits before the next date of hearing on the issue of total compliance of the ban imposed on manufacturing and sale of gutkha and pan masala with tobacco and/or nicotine,” the court ordered.
The Supreme Court will hear about this matter about ban on Gutka again in November.
*Gutka or Guṭkha is a preparation of crushed areca nut, tobacco, catechu, paraffin wax, slaked lime and sweet or savory flavorings. Gutka is consumed by placing a pinch of it between the gum and cheek and gently sucking and chewing. It is considered responsible for oral cancer and other severe negative health effects.