The Delhi Government on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that it hopes that within two weeks it would be able to take a decision to ban manufacture and sale of gutka and any products which are taken as chewing stuff having nicotine and tobacco in them.
Delhi Government Standing Counsel Najmi Waziri made this submission in response to a public interest litigation seeking a direction to ban gutka in the Capital.
Mr. Waziri further submitted that the Government had already taken the initiative towards banning gutka in the city.
The Court also cited a statement by Delhi Health & Family Welfare Minister A. K. Walia that the Government was considering banning gutka in Delhi while directing the petitioner to take its petition to the Government as a representation.
The Minister had on July 31 stated that a decision to ban gutka would be taken soon after discussing it with top health officials.
Earlier, while hearing the petition filed by non-government organisation Doctors for You through its vice-president by Rajat Jain, a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice A. K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw directed the Government to treat the plea as a representation and decide the prayers made in it within two weeks.
The petitioner submitted that according to a survey conducted by the World Health Organisation on the use of oral tobacco and its implications, about 25 per cent people in the Capital consumed tobacco in some form or the other.
However, despite clear evidence and ample examples of tight regulations and actions taken by other States in the country, the enforcement agencies of the Delhi Government had failed to take any appropriate action against the manufacturers, importers and distributors of tobacco products which posed a grave threat to the health of innocent consumers who were unaware about the real nature of its contents and the impact it had on the human mind and body.
Despite having known that tobacco and its associated products caused oral cancer and cancer of oesophagus, pharynx, larynx, stomach, and pancreas, the Government had not taken any steps towards banning these toxic tobacco products threatening the health and welfare of the public, the petitioner said.