Maharashtra: Selling gutkha to be a non-bailable offense

The Supreme Court ruled that Maharashtra Police can initiate criminal action under IPC for transportation, stocking and sale of 'Gutka' or Pan Masala, which are offences also punishable under the Food and Safety Standards (FSS) Act

Image Source: Google Image use for representational purposes only
Image Source: Google
Image use for representational purposes only

  • The Supreme Court (SC) has given an important decision in connection with the gutkha and pan masala.
  • The SC ruled that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officers can register FIR against a person for selling gutkha and pan masala under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections. `

The court said Maharashtra Police can initiate criminal action under IPC for transportation, stocking and sale of ‘Gutka’ or Pan Masala, which are offences also punishable under the Food and Safety Standards (FSS) Act.

The Supreme Court bench was hearing an appeal of the Maharashtra government challenging the Bombay High Court order which had said that a person can be held liable for offences of transportation, stocking and sale of gutka or pan masala under the FSS Act and not the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

As of now the case against the accused were registered under IPC and the sections of the Food Security Act.

The manufacturers had approached the Bombay High Court bench in Aurangabad on this issue.

But the court ruled that, there is no restriction on the FDA to register case under IPC and the Food security act. But the punishments cannot be given twice, if the case has been register under one act for the similar offense.

Girish Bapat, Cabinet Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, Food and Drugs Administration and Parliamentary Affairs, said, “The Maharashtra giver has taken a decision to make sale of Gutkha a non- bailable offense in order to take Strick action against those who manufacture and sale Gutkha. This will allow police to take immediate action against the culprits and they will be arrested immediately.”

The government is also contemplating to form a guidelines for effective implementation of the ban.