After a stern reprimand from the Supreme Court for the seeming indifference regarding warnings on cigarette packs, the Central government said that the statutory pictorial warning on cigarette and tobacco products will be displayed from May 30 onwards.
With the NGO Health for Millions’ senior counsel, Indira Jaisingh, alleging that the Centre was unnecessarily prolonging the issue, the Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium assured the requisite government action, to a bench headed by Justice B N Aggarwal.
In its case filed against the government, the NGO has accused the government of curtailing parts of the original pictorial warnings on tobacco products.
Saying that the government initially talked of displaying a ‘skull-and-crossbone’ image, along with the warning that smoke can even harm a baby in mother’s womb; Jaisingh drew attention to the X-ray images of lungs being currently displayed, and the supposed addition of a scorpion.
In her argument, Jaisingh said that the image of a scorpion does not serve as a “health recall” image for Indian masses; and that the globally-used skull-and-crossbone image is a symbol of health warning, which breaks all linguistic barriers.
Jaisingh further said that the delay in government action and the indifferent attitude was an indication of the government falling prey to the “tobacco lobby,” and accused the ministers and MPs owning tobacco plantations for an alleged hand in delaying the implementation of the warnings.