A court in India on Friday struck down regulations that have required tobacco companies to cover 85 percent of their packaging with graphic health warnings, according to stories in The Hindu Online, the Times of India and Reuters.
The companies were said to have won an important but partial legal battle against the union government.
The Hindu said that the Karnataka High Court on Friday had declared as unconstitutional the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014, which had enlarged the warnings to 85 percent of the principal area of packages of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
The court, however, had rejected the challenge made to the rules laid down in 2008.
The 2008 rules, which had required 40-percent warnings, would remain in force until the union government framed fresh rules or amended the 2008 rules.
A special division bench comprising Justice B.S. Patil and Justice B.V. Nagarathna delivered the verdict on a batch of petitions filed by the Tobacco Institute of India and tobacco manufacturers before the high courts of Karnataka, Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay, Gujarat, and Rajasthan, challenging the 2014 rules. All these petitions were transferred by India’s Supreme Court to the Karnataka High Court.
The Times report said that some public health experts felt that the court’s decision might cause harm to India’s global image.
According to Reuters, the government lawyer in the case, Krishna S. Dixit, confirmed the rules had been struck down but said he would appeal to the Supreme Court.