Monday, February 26, 2024

Delhi High Court criticizes lawyer for petition against anti-tobacco warning messages, asks for affidavit of regret

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday criticized a lawyer for filing a petition against the display of anti-tobacco warning messages during movies and TV shows. The bench led by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna ordered the lawyer to submit an affidavit of regret within two days. 

The High Court stated that it will expunge observations after the lawyer gives an affidavit of regret for what has happened. It added that an absolute regret is needed in this matter. 

Hearing the lawyers appeal against the observations made by a single judge who had earlier dismissed the petition, the court affirmed complete agreement with the single judge, mentioning that the petition was utterly misconceived. Justice Manmohan said that the petition should have never been filed. 

During the initial dismissal, the single judge bench had suggested that the petition appeared to be supported by the tobacco industry lobby, aiming to impede government efforts to raise awareness against tobacco. Cautioning the lawyer against frivolous petitions, Justice Subramonium Prasad had refrained from making comments that might impact the advocate’s future.

On Tuesday, the division bench also reiterated that the petition seemed designed to benefit the tobacco industry. When the appellant’s counsel contested the interpretation, the court responded that they should attribute some IQ to everyone and not be under the misconception that the other person does not understand anything. 

Underlining the seriousness of the matter, the court raised concerns about the spread of cancer and the importance of making people aware. Justice Manmohan further remarked that the warning messages were actually showing the reality.

After the counsel representing the appellant asserted that he will file an affidavit of regret, the court scheduled further consideration of the matter for December 7, emphasizing on the need for a course correction and cautioning against misuse of public interest litigation.

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