Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday stayed the Maharashtra government's action against e-cigarette manufacturers.

A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre was hearing a petition filed by e-cigarette manufacturer Godfrey Philips India Ltd and its director Sharad Aggarwal, challenging the Maharashtra Food and Drug Administration (FDA) move to seize e-cigarettes claiming that it was banned in the state.

While staying the government's action, the bench directed the Centre to spell out its stand on whether e-cigarettes was a drug and hence banned. The company is in the business of import, storage, distribution and sale of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), popularly called e-cigarettes.

As per its plea, e-cigarettes are allowed to be sold and used by the public throughout the world and is considered "a less harmful and safer substitute" to smoking tobacco cigarettes.

According to the company, the use of e-cigarettes in India came up for discussion before the Drugs Consultative Committee in its 48th meeting in July 2015 and it was recommended that the product is not covered under the definition of the term 'drug' and hence does not come under the purview of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

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