Table 2

Key Court Decisions In Public Interest Litigation on Tobacco Control

Court case/decision dateDetails
Ramakrishnan and Anr. versus State of Kerala And Ors., 12 July 1999Plaintiff K Ramakrishnan argued that smoking should be declared a criminal public nuisance under the Indian Penal Code. The Court ruled that smoking in public was a punishable offense because it violated the right to life in the Indian constitution.
Deora versus India and Ors., 2 November 2001The Court prohibited smoking in eight types of public places on grounds that smoking impinges on constitutional right to life.
Ruma Kaushik, Advocate General of Shimla versus national government, 10 December 2004Asked that Article 11 of FCTC is followed with regard to warning labels. The Court stated that the government as per FCTC guidelines, had three years after treaty ratification to enforce the implementation of the warning labels.
Union of India versus ITC Limited, 29 September 2008The Court rejected the stay of implementation of rules prohibiting smoking in public places.
World Lung Foundation South Asia versus Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 2 February 2011The World Lung Foundation South Asia sued the Indian government for violating COTPA. The Court ordered the Delhi Commissioner of Police to enforce COTPA.
The Institute of Public Health versus the State Government of Karnataka, 8 February 2011The Institute of Public Health sued to prevent the Indian Tobacco Board from sponsoring international tobacco promotion events. The Court ordered the Tobacco Board to refrain from sponsoring such events.
Crusade Against Tobacco versus Union of India, et al, 5 October 2011NGO Crusade Against Tobacco sued the Government of India for granting licenses to restaurants allowing smokers. The court mandated non-smoking areas.
Kerala Voluntary Health Services versus Union of India, et al, 26 March 2012Kerala VHS sued the Union of India for not penalising tobacco use in films and the sale of tobacco near educational facilities.
The Court ruled that though the Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of expression, it also guarantees right to life, which had been violated.
Naya Bans Sarv Vyapar Assoc versus India, 9 November 2012An association of tobacco wholesalers challenged the ban of the sale of tobacco products within a 100-yard radius of any educational institution. The petition was dismissed and the court imposed costs of rupees 20 000 to be paid by the petitioners to the government.
Health for Millions versus India, 1 January 2013The cigarette industry challenged rules restricting tobacco advertising and requiring GHWLs on cigarette packs in 2005 in Mumbai High Court. The Mumbai High Court issued an interim order that stayed the implementation of these rules until further study was conducted.
The stay was challenged in 2010 by the NGO Health for Millions in the Supreme Court and the Himachal Pradesh High Court. On 4 January 2013, the Supreme Court overturned the 2005 interim order and required the government to implement the rules on tobacco advertising and warning labels.