Delhi High Court order stays Health Ministry advisory banning e-cigarettles may be challenged

The single bench of Delhi High Court in Litjoy International v. Union of India has stayed the operation of orders issued by Custom Authority and Drug Controller for compliance with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare advisory dated August 28, 2018 to ensure that e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn devices, vape, and similar devices that enable nicotine delivery are not sold (including online sale), manufactured, imported, traded, advertised etc.
The court while hearing the petition noted that though the advisory and subsequent orders from Drug Controller and Customs say they come under the Drugs Act, it does not specifically fall under definition of drugs under the Act and furthermore there are no specific provisions of Drugs Act mentioned in the Advisory or subsequent orders, under which such a ban is imposed.
The court recorded the submissions of both sides and asked Government of India to file response within 4 weeks and stayed the compliance order issued by Customs and Drugs Department till the next date of hearing, i.e. May 17, 2019.
Anti-tobacco civil society groups feel that the order of High Court will not impact the state bans to date as they were issued independently and in most cases prior to the Ministry advisory and these orders.
The Assistant Solicitor General of India(ASG) representing the government in this matter has opined that an appeal must be filed before division bench immediately against the single bench order. The ASG also opined that subsequently transfer petition must be filed in the Supreme Court to transfer all similar cases pending in various high courts to one court.

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