The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice and stayed a 2005 Bombay High Court interim order staying implementation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Rules 2004.

A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and Gyan Sudha Misra, hearing a special leave petition filed by Health for Millions, an NGO, expressed surprise that the interim order had been continuing for the last seven years. The notice is returnable in four weeks.

The petitioner said though Parliament passed legislation banning advertisements of tobacco products, some manufacturers obtained a stay seven years ago and the High Court did not take up the matter. Though the Government of India filed applications for vacation of stay, the interim orders continued.

“The Act and Rules were beneficial legislation for safeguarding public health and to give effect to constitutional as well as international treaty obligations. The High Court failed to appreciate that any direct or indirect advertisement or promotion of cigarette or other tobacco products “misleads potential customers and particularly youth in as much as it represents consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco products as socially acceptable behaviour and glamorises the same”

Counsel Prashant Bhushan appeared for the petitioner.

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