Delhi: HC refuses to issue notice on plea to direct government to publish health warning on liquor bottles

It also sought to direct the government to carry out Health Impact Assessment and Environment Impact Assessment of production, distribution and consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs.

PTIUpdated: Friday, March 04, 2022, 06:02 PM IST
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The Delhi High Court Friday refused to issued notice, as of now, on a plea seeking direction to the government to publish 'health warning' on liquor bottles and packages, similar to the warning sign used on cigarette packets, and observed that the petitioner has been filing so many pleas on a daily basis.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna adjourned the matter for July 4, saying all his petitions should be accumulated and thereafter, the court will see what has to be done.

The high court was hearing the plea filed by petitioner and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who also sought a direction to the Delhi government to prohibit or control the production, distribution and consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health, in order to secure right to health, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

"We are not issuing notice. Counsel for other side, keep accumulating all the petitions filed by him (Upadhyay), we will see what is to be done on the next date on July 4. How many petitions you have got ready, typed, in your drawer and in printing etc. Daily you are filing petitions. You people are daily filing PILs, do you have anything else," the bench said.

On the petition, the high court remarked "where is the question of warning on liquor bottle? There is no question." The petition sought to direct the authorities to advertise 'Health and Environment Hazard' of intoxicating drinks through electronic, print and social media in order to secure citizen's right to know, right to information and right to health, guaranteed under Article 21.

It also sought to direct the government to carry out Health Impact Assessment and Environment Impact Assessment of production, distribution and consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs.

Alleging that the state government has made Delhi as liquor capital of India in last seven years, the petitioner said Delhi has a total of 280 municipal wards and until 2015, there were only 250 liquor shops, that is, on an average, one liquor shop in every ward and 30 wards without liquor shop.

"But now the State is planning to open three liquor shops in every ward, which is not only arbitrary and irrational but also offends rule of law and right to health guaranteed under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

"Article 47 is nevertheless fundamental in the governance and State is obligated to prohibit consumption of liquor and drugs but rather than advertising about health hazards of intoxicating drinks and drugs, State is promoting liquor consumption," the plea alleged.

It claimed that drinking is ten times more dangerous than smoking but health warning is not used on liquor bottles and urged that all alcohol bottles must carry health warnings as they are on cigarette packets.

These statutory warnings on labels must include requests to consumers to not consume alcohol and drive and outline how alcohol consumption is harmful for health, it said.

The petition has arrayed the Centre and Delhi government as parties.

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