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Karnataka HC strikes down 85% pictorial warning rule for tobacco..

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The Karnataka High Court on Friday struck down the Cigarette and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Amendment Rules, 2014, and declared them unconstitutional. These rules from 2014 had mandated that the pictorial warning should cover 85% of the packages of tobacco products, The Hindu reported.

A special division bench of justices BS Patil and BV Nagarathna pronounced the ruling after hearing a number of petitions filed by manufacturers of cigarettes and other tobacco products and the Tobacco Institute of India. The pleas against the 2014 rules were filed before the High Courts of Calcutta, Bombay, Gujarat, Delhi, Karnataka and Rajasthan, but the Supreme Court transferred them all to the Karnataka High Court.

While tobacco product manufacturers may have partially won the battle against the Centre’s rules on Friday, the Karnataka High Court refused to strike down similar rules enforced in 2008, which mandated that the pictorial warning should cover 40% of the packaging. The bench said that these rules will be in place till the government frames new regulations or amends them.

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