Justice Rajiv Shakdher asking the Delhi government not to take any coercive action against tobacco sellers till May 20, the next date of hearing, issued notice to the government's commissioner of food safety and asked him to file response to the plea.

"The Delhi government shall not take any coercive action against the sellers and the manufacturers. Issue notice to the government for May 20," said the court.

The Delhi government has banned all forms of chewable tobacco -- including gutkha, khaini and zarda - in the national capital.

In March, the government issued a notification that prohibits manufacture, storage, distribution or sale of tobacco which is either flavoured, scented or mixed with any additive.

The court's direction came on a plea filed by a manufacturer, S.K. Tobacco Industries, through advocates Kewal Singh Ahuja and Prarthana Sampath.

The plea urged the court to quash the notification, saying the central government and not the state government has the power to regulate sale or ban it.

The company challenged March 25 notification, issued by the government "by which a blanket prohibition has been arbitrarily imposed upon the manufacture, storage, distribution and/or sale of 'chewing tobacco' for a period of one year throughout the Delhi."


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