The Centre on Tuesday made a strong plea before the Supreme Court for passing an appropriate order to ban all kinds of gutka in the country saying they are addictive and harmful even if they don’t contain tobacco.

Appearing before a bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi, Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising made a forceful submission against manufacturing and selling of gutka products.

Senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, who is assisting the bench as amicus curiae, also supported the Centre’s stand saying that companies are making mockery of rules by selling pan masala and tobacco separately as they cannot manufacture gutka with tobacco.

He submitted that 35 per cent of adult population is addicted to tobacco and it is a big problem for the country.

Earlier, the Centre had said that money spent by the government on controlling disease caused due to tobacco products far outweigh the revenue generated to it from such products.

“It is important to stop production and sale of gutka. All kinds of paan masala and gutka contain addictive substance which is being projected as lifestyle and desirable product.

They are sold as mouth fresheners. Burden is on industry. They have to stop manufacturing,” the Centre had contended.

In spite of the regulation, companies subvert the ban by selling tobacco-less pan masala and sachets of tobacco separately.

On April 3, the apex court had asked all states and Union Territories to file compliance reports on the implementation of the ban on gutka products.

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