Published: Wednesday 15 September 1999

The Supreme Court has issued notices to four major cigarette companies, including tobacco giants ITC Limited. The action follows a public interest petition filed by former Congress member of parliament who claimed that these companies were not displaying statutory warnings prominently while advertising their products in the media. A division bench comprising Justices Sujata V Manohar and R P Sethi also issued a notice to the attorney general of India seeking his views on the petition.

Other companies to receive the notice are VSP Industries Limited and GTC Limited. The petitioner, Murli Deora, demanded that compensation of Rs 500 crore be collected from the companies for healthcare. Terming the statute as "hopelessly unsatisfactory", Deora's counsel said tobacco companies flouted the law resorting to every possible measure to make the warning inconspicuous, including surrogate advertising and brand stretching.

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