Cuttack: Orissa High Court on Friday asked the petitioner of a PIL to file an amended petition on the ban on gutkha here making the Central government as a respondent. “Last year’s notification of Odisha government banning use and trade of ‘gutkha’ did not yield any result because the notification itself was ambiguous and not comprehensive,” the petitioner had stated in the court during the hearing. Voluntary organisation Center for Legal Aid to Poor (CLAP), which had earlier filed a PIL seeking complete ban on all forms of chewing tobacco in the state, blamed it on the Central notification for no result of the Odisha government’s one. In view of the contention of a petitioner that the Odisha government’s notification banning production, distribution and sale of gutkha was not comprehensive as it did not cover the flavoured chewing tobacco (zarda) used in ‘paan,’ the Orissa High Court on the day directed the petitioner to file an amended petition on the matter.
CLAP, which had moved the High Court in December last for a complete ban on consumption and trade in nicotine containing smokeless tobacco, argued in the Court that last year’s notification of the state government was evasive and ambiguous as the ban did not cover all forms of chewing tobacco. However, on such a contention of the petitioner, the state government’s counsel pointed out that the notification was issued in the light of an earlier notification issued by the Central government. “In order to modify the state government notification, a modification of the Central government notice was to be made first,” the state government counsel argued. Adjudicating over the petition, a division bench of the High Court comprising Justices Pradeep K Mohanty and S K Mishra, directed the petitioner to file an amended petition making the Central government as a respondent. The Bench also asked the state government to file an affidavit stating the details of the amount of gutkha sachets seized in the state after the government notification was issued in December last year and posted the matter to be adjudicated on August 2, informed CLAP counsel Janmejaya Katakiya.