For allegedly advertising and promoting tobacco products during the ongoing India Premier League (IPL) tournament, the Allahabad High Court, on Thursday, issued notice to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Sony Pictures Network and a pan masala manufacturing company. As per a PTI report, the decision was passed by a division bench headed by Chief Justice D B Bhosle and Justice Yashwant Varma on a public interest litigation (PIL). The litigation was filed by Prakash Kharwadkar who pointed out that the logo of ‘Shudh Plus’, which is one of the sponsors of IPL, is displayed on jerseys of the Gujarat Lions team and is against the law.
He further stated that as per Section 5 of the COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act), one cannot advertise tobacco products like pan masala without providing statutory warning ‘chewing or consuming tobacco products is injurious to health.’
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Kharwadkar further alleged that the T-shirts of the Gujarat Lions team had the logo of the pan masala manufacturer without any statutory warning and the manufacturer was also carrying out an ad campaign in the tournament with a tag line that read: ‘Shudh Plus Khao IPL jao.’ The attempt by the manufacturer and organisers is a direct promotion of tobacco product as it appeals to a wide range of cricket lovers to consume it’s products.
The Section 5 of COTPA Act disallows any kind of brand promotion of tobacco products and if someone violates the law for the first time, an imprisonment for a period extending up to 2 years or with a fine up to Rs 10,000 or both can be given, said a Hindustan Times report. For a second violations the imprisonment term moves up to 5 years.