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Padma Awardees In Gutka Ads: Court Issues Contempt Notice To Cabinet Secy, Others


Uttar Pradesh: On Friday, the Allahabad High Court took a significant step by demanding a response from the Central Government regarding an apparent failure of action on a formal complaint. This complaint highlighted the alleged “inappropriate” conduct of certain recipients of the prestigious Padma awards who were involved in misleading and harmful advertisements.

According to the reports, the concern was raised in 2022 by the petitioner, lawyer Motilal Yadav, who brought attention to several individuals who had been honoured with the Padma award, yet were still participating in endorsements for products detrimental to public health. The petitioner emphasized the necessity for clear guidelines to revoke such awards if recipients were not upholding appropriate conduct. Among those named in the petition were prominent actors such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, and Ajay Devgan, as well as managing directors of companies producing harmful products like Paan and Gutka.

In response to the petitioner’s concerns, the High Court initially instructed the petitioner to approach the Government of India through the Central Consumer Protection Authority. However, the petitioner’s recent plea highlighted that despite submitting a representation to the Cabinet Secretary and the Chief Commissioner in October 2022, no concrete action had been taken by the court’s order.

The court has now issued notices to the Cabinet Secretary and the Chief Commissioner of the Central Consumer Protection Authority. These notices are part of a plea seeking action against the disregard of the court’s previous order from September 2022, which had advised the petitioner to approach the Government of India for resolution. The High Court has summoned the involved parties to offer explanations as to why the 2022 court order has not been adhered to. The case will be heard next on October 9.

Pan Masala Ad & Indian celebrities

Bollywood actors such as Ajay Devgn, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, and Ranveer Singh have extensively promoted pan masala brands Kamla Pasand and Vimal Elaichi.

“Bolo Zubaan Kesari” campaign by Vimal Elachi, endorsed by Ajay Devgn, has generated numerous humorous memes and reels on social media. Later, the campaign was joined by Bollywood Badshah ‘Shah Rukh Khan’ and Khiladi ‘Akshay Kumar’.
Akshay Kumar was heavily criticised by the netizens as they were surprised by pan masala endorsement from a fitness icon like Akshay Kumar who also endorses the Government’s sanitary pads campaign. After facing a backlash, he posted an apology statement on his social media handle and discontinued the endorsement.
Credit: Instagram/Akshay Kumar
Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan and Ranveer Singh were also seen endorsing pan masala ads for ‘Kamla Pasand’ in past. In November 2021, Amitabh Bachchan sent a legal notice to the pan masala brand Kamla Pasand, citing his endorsement agreement termination. He returned the money he received for the promotion and withdrew his association with the brand due to online backlash for neglecting his social responsibilities.


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