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March 11, 2020

Home secy told to comment on execution of anti-Gutka law

Karachi

March 11, 2020

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday directed the home secretary to file comments with regard to effective implementation of the law against the manufacture and sale of Gutka and Mainpuri across the province.

The SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar directed the home department and the provincial police chief to launch a public awareness campaign through the print and electronic media so that the public as well as Gutka manufactures about the formulation of the law to curb the menace.

The high court order came on a petition against the manufacture and sale of Gutka and Mainpuri, as well as their use in public and private institutions. Petitioner Sanober told the court that she was diagnosed with oral cancer due to consumption of Gutka and Mainpuri. She requested the court to direct the police and other law enforcement agencies to take action against the manufactures of Gutka and Mainpuri, and to stop their sale across the province because they are injurious to health.

The provincial law officer informed the bench that the Sindh Prohibition of Preparation, Manufacturing, Storage, Sale & Use of Gutka and Manipuri Act had been formulated, but some directions were required to be issued to the home department and the police chief for the law’s effective implementation so that society could be saved from the menace of Gutka and Mainpuri.

In the previous hearing the court had directed the police chief and the home department to file comments with regard to the effective implementation of the law against the manufacture and sale of Gutka and Mainpuri.

The bench said that despite the issuance of a notice, no one from the home department had appeared in court and no comments had been filed by the police chief with regard to proper implementation of the law.

The court issued a notice to the home secretary to appear in person on the next date of hearing and submit his reply, saying that if the secretary failed to appear, a show-cause notice will be issued over his no-show without any further indulgence. The bench was also informed that the medical treatment of the petitioner has been started on government expense.

The general secretary of the Korangi Association of Trade & Industry filed a statement to show that they have already issued a circular to their members to ensure that their employees and workers do not indulge in the bad habit of chewing Mawa and Gutka because they are injurious to health.

He assured the court that they will continue their efforts and that he will remain in touch with their members to ensure that the employees of their members are not involved in any such bad habits.

The bench directed the home department and the police chief to launch a public awareness campaign through the print and electronic media so that the general public as well as the Gutka manufactures know that a law has been formulated to curb the menace. The court directed the government officials to file a progress report by March 25.