06/04/2015 12:49 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Tobacco Controversy: Supreme Court Issues Notice To Government, Demands More Warnings

FINDLAY KEMBER via Getty Images
A packet of cigarettes (C), adorned with an image said to resemble that of Chelsea and England footballer John Terry, stands on a stall in New Delhi on January 3, 2012. Representatives of Chelsea captain John Terry have lodged a complaint over the apparent use of his image for a tobacco warning printed on cigarette packets in India, a report said. The blurry image that features the head and shoulders of a man resembling Terry above a warning that 'Smoking Kills' was created by the government agency the Directorate of Visual Publicity, the Indian Express reported. AFP PHOTO/Findlay KEMBER (Photo credit should read FINDLAY KEMBER/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the government asking for larger pictorial warnings on packets of tobacco products like cigarettes, chewing gutka, etc, Times Now reported.

The apex court was hearing a plea from NGO Health for the Millions Trust requesting size of warnings to increase from the present 40 percent size of the packet to 85 percent, and also ban the sale of loose cigarettes as these users were not exposed to the same warnings as packet buyers.

The plea comes at a time when controversy has broken out over BJP MP Shyam Charan Gupta's obviously unscientific remark that consumption of tobacco wasn't linked to cancer. Worse, he is part of the Lok Sabha panel looking into larger pictorial warnings, as well as a "beedi baron", raising concerns about his conflict of interest. The panel's chairperson Dilip Gandhi too had made a similar claim.

Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said that Centre has maintained a consistent stand with regards to tobacco, adding that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government would follow the directives of the Supreme Court as far as pictorial warnings on cigarette packs are concerned.

"From the government's point of view, we are consistent. We are doing whatever is required. We will respond to the Supreme Court in a positive way," Nadda told the media here.

(with inputs from ANI)

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