The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday asked the Union government to clarify the procedure to be followed in cases of complaints about violation of rules prohibiting advertisements related to sale of cigarettes.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Wahela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna issued the direction to the counsel representing the Union government during a hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition on violation of various laws by cigarette companies.

Petitioner S.S. Ravishankar, a city-based advocate, claimed that provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 were being violated by many manufacturers. Alleging that many cigarettes sold in India had higher tar and nicotine content compared with developed countries, the petitioner sought a direction to the authorities to initiate action to prevent smuggling of cigarettes into the country.

Seeking a direction to scrap the present Advertising Standard Council of India, he sought a direction to set up an autonomous body comprising retired Supreme Court and High Court judges to monitor advertisements.

The court will hear the petition again on October 11.

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