Prez, Parliament want 80% Judiciary grants only 60%

Display area of cigarette packs to be covered by pictorial warnings

By Chitra Weerarathne

The Court of Appeal yesterday directed the Health authorities to suitably amend the regulation to have pictorial warnings printed on 50-60% of the display areas of packets of cigarettes.

The application by the petitioner, Ceylon Tobacco, had requested the Court to quash the gazette stipulating that 80% of the display areas of the cigarette packets be covered by pictorial warnings.

The Court was of the view that health pictorials warnings should cover 50-60% of cigarette packets, giving the petitioner, Ceylon Tobacco Company at least 40% space to manage the companies Trade Mark rights.

The judgment said that the attempt to introduce pictorial health warnings was only to minimise the harmful health consequences of cigarette smoking. There was no total prohibition or ban on the tobacco industry.

The regulations only attempted to impose a valid restriction or exercise some control for the benefit of the people and as such the principles of proportionality could not be offended.

The first respondent the Minister of Health was directed by the Court to adjust the gazette to give 50 to 60 per cent space to health warnings and leave 40% for displaying he trade mark of the petitioner.

The judgement said that Section 35 (1) (a) of NATA Act recognised the rights of the registered owner to use the trademark. Section 35 (1) of NATA Act prohibited advertisements involving tobacco, but Section 35 (1) (a) expressly permitted the use of trademarks in respect of tobacco.

Faiz Mustapha PC appeared with Ali Shabry P.C. L. Wijesinghe, Faizer Marker, M. Bandara, M.Careem R. Cooray and Mohammed Imthiyas instructed by Sudath Perera Associates for the Petitioner, Ceylon Tobacco Company.

Deputy Solicitor General, Janak de Silva, appeared with Suranga Wimalasena for the respondents.

The judgment was by Justice Anil Gooneratne with Justice Malinie Gunaratne agreeing.

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