HC asks Assam govt to file affidavit on gutkha ban



Guwahati: The Guwahati High Court has issued a notice to the commissioner and secretary of health asking him to file an affidavit on the actions taken to ban gutkha and other smokeless tobacco products in the state.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Arup Kumar Goswami has taken up a PIL on the basis of a letter written to Goel by the Assam chapter of the Indian Dental Association.

Taking a serious view of the letter's contents, the Court on Friday took up the case and fixed the next date of hearing on February 21.

The association on December 27 had sent a letter to the Chief Justice expressing concerns over Assam government's failure to take action in banning sale and use of gutkha and other smokeless chewing tobacco products in the state.

The sale of such products would have serious and adverse impact on the health of people, especially the younger generation, the letter said.

Stating smokeless tobacco products were highly toxic and addictive in form, the association pointed out that as per Article 47 of the Constitution, the state was bound to take all measures to protect the health of its citizens.

The letter pointed out that Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Mizoram and Nagaland had already banned such products.

PTI