In a major relief to gutka and pan masala producers, the Supreme Court on Monday struck down the notifications issued by Maharashtra and AP banning these items in the two states as unconstitutional.
A bench comprising Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice BN Srikrishna gave this ruling while allowing the petitions filed by the manufacturers.
The petitioners had challenged the notifications issued by the two states under Section 7(4) of the prevention of food adulteration act banning the manufacture and sale of pan masalas and gutkas for a period of five years.
Writing the judgments, Justice Srikrishna held that Section 7(4) empowered the authorities in a state to ban items under the act for a temporary period as the provision was “transitory” in nature.
The court held that the power to impose a total ban on any food or consumable item rested entirely with the Central government and hence state governments should not have come up with the notifications.
The petitioners included Godwat Pan Masala Products India Pvt Ltd, Venketeswaran Pan Masala Industries Pvt Ltd, Dhariwal Ind Ltd, Shivashakti Agencies, Dharampal Satyapal Ltd and sagar prantya arecanut growers association.