SC to hear Big-Tobacco case on Monday
The Supreme Court will hear petitions filed by the $11 billion Indian tobacco industry against the government's stringent package warning rules on Monday, when it will also review other similar cases filed in recent years. The legal battle comes amid growing conflict between the government and the tobacco industry, that has sought to delay rules which from April 1 require 85 percent of a cigarette pack's surface to be covered in health warnings, up from 20 percent.
The Supreme Court said it will hear the case on Monday. It will also review several other cases that challenge how health warnings are printed on tobacco products sold in the country. The cases have been filed by a group that makes traditional cigarettes, called beedis, and the Tobacco Institute of India (TII) that represents large cigarette firms, some backed by "Big Tobacco" firms in the West.
TII says the new rules are impractical and will boost smuggling of illegal cigarettes. Its members include India's largest cigarette maker ITC part-owned by British American Tobacco, and U.S.based Philip Morris International's India partner Godfrey Phillips.