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High Court Issues Notice To Centre On Smoking Ban In Films

The Delhi High Court Tuesday sought a response from the central government on a petition by filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt challenging the ban on smoking in films and TV that is scheduled to come into effect Oct 2//.

A division bench comprising judges Mukul Mudgal and H.R. Malhotra issued notice to the union government, the health ministry and the information and broadcasting ministry.

It directed the respondents to file replies on Sep 30 as the court wants to dispose of the matter before Oct 2.

The bench had observed Monday that the matter had to be taken for hearing before Oct 2 as the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Prohibition of Advertisements and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution (Amendment Rule 2005) comes into effect on that date.

In the petition, Bhatt has said the amendment rules are ultra vires of the constitution. He urged the court to quash the amendment rule.

The government's move aims to stop new films or TV programmes from portraying smoking and old films to carry warnings. Around 800,000 Indians reportedly die from smoking-related diseases every year.

--IANS
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