KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday summoned the provincial home secretary to appear on March 25 over proper implementation of a recently-enacted law against manufacturing and sale of gutka and mainpuri.
Led by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, the two-judge bench also directed the home department and provincial police officer to launch a public awareness campaign through the print and electronic media about the promulgation of the law to curb the menace of gutka and mainpuri.
When a petition of a woman, who was diagnosed with mouth cancer due to the use of gutka and mainpuri, came up for hearing, an officer of the health department through a compliance report informed the bench that the treatment of the petitioner had been started at government expense.
Korangi Association of Trade & Industry general secretary Nehal Akhtar also filed a statement, saying that they had already issued circulars to their members to ensure that their employees and workers must not indulge in the bad habit of chewing gutka and mawa. He also held out assurance to continue their efforts in this regard.
The bench observed that on the last hearing, an additional advocate general submitted a copy of the Sindh Prohibition, Manufacturing, Storage, Sale and Use of Gutka and Manpuri Act, 2019 and sought directions for the home department for its proper implementation. Thus, the bench had issued notices to the home secretary and IG Sindh.
The focal persons of the IG turned up, but they have not filed reply with regard to proper implementation of the law. The bench directed them to come up with a proper reply on the next hearing duly signed by the IG.
However, despite being put on notice, nobody turned up from the home department on Tuesday and additional advocate general sought time.
In order to expedite the process, the bench issued a notice to the home secretary to appear in person on the next date of hearing and warned that in case of failure, a show-cause notice would be issued against him.
It also directed the home department and IG to launch a public awareness campaign through print and electronic media so that public as well as gutka manufacturers should know that a law has been promulgated to curb the menace.
Directives for traffic police
The same bench on Tuesday directed the DIG traffic to ensure that all the traffic police officials acted strictly in accordance with the law and do not harass the public if they produced the certificates issued by the excise and taxation department regarding the number plates of their vehicles.
An official of the motor registration wing submitted that all the pending number plates would be issued expeditiously.
The bench was hearing a petition of a lawyer over alleged harassment of traffic police over number plates, contending that he had applied for the number plate, but the same had not been issued yet.
A DSP traffic filed comments on behalf of the DIG traffic and also attached a letter of March 25 issued by the DIG to the SSPs stopping them from taking action against any person over original number plates if he/she produced a certificate issued by the excise and taxation department having validity regarding supply/delivery of number plates.
An official of the motor registration wing submitted that batch-wise number plates had been issued till March 9 and the department would ensure that all pending number plates would also be issued expeditiously. He also said the number plate of the petitioner would be issued within a week.
Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2020