The single bench observation was that packed snuff and dried tobacco leaves do not come under the FSS Act

The Kerala Voluntary Health Services (KVHS) has said that the Kerala High Court verdict striking down the ban on supply and sale of chewing tobacco and tobacco products by invoking the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006, is not against the ban on sale of pan masala and gutka implemented by the State government.

In a release issued here on Tuesday, KVHS executive director Saju V. Itty said that campaign to the contrary is baseless.

He said that ban imposed by the State government against the sale of chewing tobacco products like pan masala and gutka has been ratified by the court and hence remains in tact.

The single bench observation was that packed snuff and dried tobacco leaves do not come under the FSS Act. Before the State government ban, 95 per cent of chewing tobacco products sold in the State fell under the category of pan masala and gutka. The sale of these products was banned by the State government through an extraordinary gazette invoking the Indian Food Safety and Standard Act 2006 on May 22, 2012.

The petition filed by tobacco companies against the ban was rejected by the High Court in July while justifying the ban, Mr. Itty said. He said that in the face of these facts, attempts to mislead the traders and officials through a misinformation campaign that the court verdict was against the ban of gutka and pan masala should be guarded against. The release said that the court verdict was based on tobacco products stopped and returned at Walayar, Wayanad, and Aryankavu check posts and that the attempts to create misunderstanding about the verdict will be brought to the notice of the High Court.

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