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HC pulls up lawyer for PIL against ‘graphic’ anti-tobacco ads

“It is a misuse of the PIL to the core… This man needs a course correction,” the High Court said.
| Photo Credit: File Photo


The Delhi High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on a lawyer for filing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea seeking to direct the Centre to prohibit the display of anti-tobacco health advertisements at cinema halls and on OTT platforms.

“It is a misuse of the PIL to the core… This man needs a course correction,” the High Court said.

The court made the remarks while hearing the plea by the lawyer against the decision of a single-judge Bench of the High Court, which had dismissed his petition.

“He must give an affidavit expressing regret. Then, we will expunge the remarks. Absolute regret is required in this case,” the High Court said.

“Look at the way the cancer is spreading… I completely agree with the single-judge [Bench],” the court remarked as it listed the matter for hearing on December 7.

Under the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) rules, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issues anti-tobacco health spots and disclaimers. These campaigns aim to educate the audience about the risks associated with the consumption of tobacco while encouraging them to make healthier lifestyle choices.

The single judge had in October this year dismissed the petition, saying the purpose of displaying “distasteful, gross, and graphic anti-tobacco imagery” was only to make people aware of the ailments and the ill effects of tobacco.

The single-judge Bench had said it was the state’s duty to protect the citizens’ health.

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