Delhi High Court today sought the Centre's response on a plea by a tobacco farmers' body challenging the proposal to implement a WHO treaty under which the Tobacco Board has asked them to reduce cultivation of FCV tobacco, a variety used in cigarettes, by five per cent.
Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva refused to pass an interim order staying implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) treaty or the Board's decision and instead issued notice to the Centre and Tobacco Board seeking their replies by January 30 on the plea by the Federation of All India Farmers Association (FAIFA).
It, however, allowed FAIFA to approach the Centre for permission to make a representation before the Conference of Parties under FCTC.
The court asked the government to consider the request of FAIFA to participate in the meeting and added that a decision be taken before the conference is held on November 7.
The order came after the tobacco farmers' body claimed that they were not represented in the conference which comprised only of entities opposed to tobacco.
FAIFA, in its plea, has claimed that the Board's circular of June 1 to reduce crop size of flue cured virginia (FCV) tobacco has been purportedly issued in the interest of public health and contended that this aspect does not fall under the Board's powers.
Tobacco Board is not the agency concerned with reduction of crop size on public health concerns, the association claimed.
FAIFA also contended before the court that if the government wanted to limit consumption of tobacco to comply with the treaty, then Parliament has to make a law for it as the rights of the FCV tobacco farmers were being affected.
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