The High Court of Gauhati has issued an order on February 17, 2020 to the Government of Assam to take appropriate measures against the Pan Masala brands whose products contains Magnesium Carbonate (MgCO3) compound. The court asked the authorities to collect the samples of all the pan masala brands and send them for a laboratory test. The court is also expecting a reply from the state by March 16, 2020.
This order was issued by a bench comprising Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Soumitra Saikiya. It was issued while pursuing the PIL filed by Jitul Deka, General Secretary of the Asomiya Yuva Mancha asking to put a ban on sale, manufacturing, marketing and supply of ‘Kamla Pasand’ and ‘Vimal’ pan masala.
In his petition he said that the product of these two companies conation cancerous compound i.e. MgCO3. He also alleged that the respective authorities are well aware of this fact but are failing to put a ban on these brands.
His petitions reads that “Inspite of the fact that certain Pan masala in Assam found to be sub-standard , no efforts were made by the official respondents to have the detail chemical examination as regard presence of MgCO3 and other chemical as ingredients for the reason best known to them. The petitioner being a social worker had taken so much pain and vide letter dated 20.12.2019 approached the laboratory in respect different chemical present as ingredients in Pan Masala. To the utter shock and surprise, vide test report dated 13.01.2020 it is revealed that MgCO3 in large quantity is found as ingredients in certain Pan Masala in the State of Assam,”
He also claimed that the selling of these dangerous products is in violation of the Fundamental Rights given under Articles 14and 21 of the Constitution of India, 1949. Further the manufacture, storage, sale or distribution of any article of food which is unsafe for consumption or sub-standard or contains extraneous matter is prohibited under Section 26 of the Food Safety Act & Standards Act, 2006.
He also requested for the constitution of special team to restrict the sale of pan masalas which contain MgCO3.
Author - Aditi Dubey