The Allahabad High Court, on Thursday (May 11), issued a notice to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Sony Pictures Network and a pan masala manufacturing company for allegedly advertising and promoting tobacco products during the ongoing tenth edition of the Indian Premier League.

The high court issued the notice after Prakash Kharwadkar, a resident of Kanpur, filed a  Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The petitioner has raised the issue after finding the jersey of Gujarat Lions promoting ‘Shudh Plus’.

The Shudh Plus is a pan masala and tobacco products manufacturer and according to the law one cannot advertise or promote tobacco products without displaying a warning to the public, stating “chewing or consuming tobacco products is injurious to health”.

According to Section 5 of the COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act), advertisement of any sort of tobacco product is prohibited. But the company can promote only if it displays the statutory warning. However, the jersey of Gujarat Lions does not carry any warning despite promoting a pan and tobacco manufacturer company.

The petitioner also complained that ‘Shudh Plus’ is advertising a tagline ‘ Shudh Plus Khao IPL jao’ which is targeting the wide fan base of the game in India to promote its product.

A violation of this law for the first time can see the guilty getting imprisoned for a period extending up to 2 years or with a fine up to Rs 1000 or both. If found guilty for the second time, the party can get imprisonment for up to 5 years and with a fine up to Rs. 5000. Not only that, breaching the law can also result in the forfeiture of the product.

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