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After Govt Claims Gutkha is Banned in Jharkhand, Chief Justice Buys 5 Types of it During Hearing

A vendor cuts a sachet of gutka for a customer at her roadside stall. (Credit: REUTERS)

A vendor cuts a sachet of gutka for a customer at her roadside stall. (Credit: REUTERS)

During the hearing of a PIL seeking a ban on the open sale of gutkha in the state before a bench of Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad, the Food Supplies Department said in an affidavit the product has been banned in Jharkhand since 2018 and it is not being sold anywhere.

The Jharkhand High Court on Friday wondered what kind of a ban the government has imposed on gutkha, as the chief justice ordered and received, within minutes, various brands of it soon after an officer claimed during a hearing that the tobacco product is completely banned in the state.

During the hearing of a PIL seeking a ban on the open sale of gutkha in the state before a bench of Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad, the Food Supplies Department said in an affidavit the product has been banned in Jharkhand since 2018 and it is not being sold anywhere.

Expressing surprise at that assertion, the chief justice sent an employee of the court to bring gutkha from the market and he brought five-six packets of different brands of the product within 10 minutes and placed it before the judge. The chief justice showed the samples to the special secretary of the department Chandrakishore Oraon, who attended the proceedings through video conference, and slammed the state government for filing a false affidavit to mislead the court.

On this, the special secretary assured the court that the matter will be investigated and action will be taken. Wondering whether the government is functioning only on paper, the court asked the government how gutkha is being sold in the state though it was banned two years ago.

The bench directed the government to file an affidavit after a thorough investigation. The court also directed that the affidavit should clearly state that gutka is no longer being sold in the state.

Fariyad Foundation, an NGO, has filed a PIL in the high court praying for a ban gutkha saying that people are suffering from serious diseases due to its consumption. PTI COR IKD NN NN 10162307


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