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PIL Filed In Allahabad HC Seeking Ban On Production & Sale Of Pan Masala To Contain COVID-19

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A Public interest litigation is filed in Allahabad HC seeking quashing of a notification issued by the state government whereby the permission of manufacture, sale and distribution of pan masala has been granted.

The petitioner Sanjay Sharma is a veteran journalist, having put in more than 3 decades into the noble profession of journalism and has been making relentless efforts to sensitize the society at large, towards their rights as well as responsibilities. The petitioner has been a part of the electronic as well as print media, having served premier news agencies like Rashtreey Sahara, ETv and Star News. For the last about 15 years, the petitioner is the Editor of a Weekly Newspaper-Weekend Times, published from Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The petitioner has said that the State Government has permitted the Production, Distribution and Sale of Pan Masala in the State of Uttar Pradesh, which goes against the spirit of the Standard Operating Protocols intended and circulated for the prevention of COVID-19, imperilling the lives of scores of individuals who are vulnerable to the threat of COVID-19.

The petitioner has also said that the order of the government is absolutely illegal and unwarranted, because it neither discloses he reasoning, nor the intent, nor the logic behind the revocation of the earlier order which was indeed issued in public interest, citing reasons therefore. It is not clear as to how the Commissioner, food safety and Drug Administration reached a conclusion that the pan masala would no more cause contamination, or whether the pan masala now become edible and need not to be spitted out. The situation is certainly scary and therefore, the issuance of the impugned order is certainly an illegal exercise of powers the officer concerned, imperilling the lives of scores of citizens of the State.

The petitioner has preferred the petition on the ground that the issuance of the said order is whimsical and patently unjust because it does not disclose any cogent reason for its withdrawal, and it is an ironical and wholly unjustified order because on the date when the earlier order dated 25.03.2020 banning pan masala was implemented, the number of Covid-19 infected patients in the State were 42, which have now risen to 3071 patients as on today, with 62 deaths owing to the said disease indicating that the exercise is absolutely illegal and unwarranted.

The petitioner has prayed for following reliefs from the High Court:-

  • Quashing the impugned order issued by the Commissioner, Food Safety and Drug Administration, as contained in Notification Dated 06.05.2020 permitting the Production, Distribution and Sale of Pan Masala in the State of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Directing the State Government of Uttar Pradesh not to proceed with the Production, Distribution and Sale of Pan Masala in furtherance of impugned order issued by the Commissioner, Food Safety and Drug Administration, as contained in Notification.

-India Legal Bureau

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