The court directed the state government to justify that its seizure of e-cigarettes was as per the law.
Mumbai: In a relief for makers and users of e-cigarettes in India, the Bombay high court Friday stayed the state government action against e-cigarettes. The court also directed the state government to release the stock of seized e-cigarettes.
The court, while staying the action taken by the state, asked the Union government to file its response to the petition and directed the state government to justify that its seizure of e-cigarettes was as per the law.
Petitioners Godfrey Philips India Pvt. Ltd. and Easy Smoke Distributors argued that the action taken by the state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was not as per the law and e-cigarettes did not fall under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. The FDA had no powers to pass any order prohibiting the manufacture, sale or distribution of e-cigarettes.
A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharti Dangre was hearing the petition challenging the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration's (FDA’s) seizure of e-cigarettes on grounds that they were banned in the state.
According to the petition, on August 28 last year, the Union government issued an advisory to state governments to ban the production, storage, sale and distribution of e-cigarettes. Based on this circular, on March 5 this year, the Maharashtra FDA commissioner issued direction to the FDA’s enforcement staff to ban the storage, manufacture, sale and distribution of e-cigarettes in the state.
On June 25 this year, the FDA carried out searches in the office and warehouse of the petitioner and seized their products. On July 6, the FDA issued show cause notice to the company for violation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, and the Drug and Cosmetics Act.