December 15, 2017 / 2:35 PM / in a year

India state court cancels 2014 federal rule on stringent tobacco pack warnings

NEW DELHI, Dec 15 (Reuters) - An Indian court on Friday quashed federal rules that mandated stringent graphic health warnings on tobacco products, lawyers involved in the case said, in a decision seen as a major victory for the tobacco industry and a setback for health advocates.

India’s Supreme Court last year ordered enforcement of the government’s 2014 federal rules that required 85 percent of a tobacco pack’s surface to be covered in health warnings, up from 20 percent earlier, despite protests by the tobacco industry.

At the same time, the top court had asked a court in southern Karnataka state to rule on the dozens of tobacco industry pleas that challenged the federal rules.

That court on Friday struck down the government’s 2014 notification, said Aradhana L, a lawyer at Poovayya & Co, who represented tobacco companies including India’s ITC and Philip Morris International Inc’s Indian partner, Godfrey Phillips India Ltd.

The government lawyer in the case, Krishna S. Dixit, confirmed the rules had been struck down but said he would appeal in the Supreme Court. (Reporting by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

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