Sept 20, Colombo: The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka today issued an interim order suspending the implementation of the gazette notice requiring to display pictorial warnings on cigarette packets.
The major cigarette company in the country Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) sought the stay order to repel the regulation made by the Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena under the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Authority Act to label cigarette packets with graphic warnings.
The Supreme Court in a majority decision today issued the order staying Health Minister's regulation.
The CTC in February this year challenged the Tobacco Product (Labelling and Packaging) Regulations No. 01 of 2012 dated 8 August 2012 made by the Minister of Health under the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act in the Appeal Court.
According to the regulation, the pictorial health warning shall be printed on both sides of every Cigarette packet, package or carton containing cigarettes and shall cover at least 80 percent of the total area of a packet, package or a carton.
Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena and the Health Ministry Secretary were cited as the first and second respondents respectively.
The Appellate Court refused to issue a stay order sought by the company and the CTC file a case in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court hearing the appeal by the CTC against the Appellate Court ruling granted CTC more time to comply with the Health Ministry regulations. The apex court has suggested reducing the size of the pictorial warnings to settle the issue.