KARACHI - The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday directed the police to file cases under section 337 A against the people involved in sale and manufacturing of Gutka and other harmful substances.

A high court bench was hearing a contempt of court petition against IG Sindh Police and others on non-compliance of the court ruling about ban on Gutka.

The court expressed its surprise over the alarming rate of mouth cancer patients in Karachi.

Dr Ghulam Hyder, in-charge doctor at Cancer Ward at Jinnah Hospital, told the court that the outpatient department (OPD) daily attends more than 300 patients and 70 percent of them suffering from mouth cancer. Majority of these patients found to be students or young factory workers, doctor said.

The ratio of these patients in Karachi is far above than other parts of the country, the doctor further said.

“It is an alarming situation, extend the court your friendly support,” the bench asked the doctor in an interchange. ” Attend the court proceedings tomorrow for recommendations about the legislation,” the bench told the doctor.

Justice Salahuddin Panhwar in an earlier proceeding said, “People are dying by chewing Gutka but no one sensing (seriousness of) the matter.”

The government didn’t legislate despite the court orders, Justice Panhwar remarked.

“Factories of Gutka, Mava and Mainpuri should be sealed forthwith,” court said. ” A legislation bill should be tabled in the assembly immediately,” the bench directed. “Policemen are involved in sale of dangerous substances like Gutka and minting millions of money from it,” the bench remarked.

A policeman when caught (in the business) reinstated to service after a suspension of few days, the Justice said.

The court will act against the SSP if anything happens to the petitioner, the court warned the police.

Advocate Muzammil Mumtaz and others had filed petition in court and sought action against manufacturing and sale of the harmful substances alleging that the police were doing nothing against them.

The court in another case in December last year had directed Sindh advocate general, law secretary and others to file comments with regard to promulgation of the law which banned the sale and manufacturing of Gutka and Mainpuri in the province.

The court had observed that the manufacture and sale of Gutka and Mainpuri was indeed a serious issue and since no proper legislation made in this regard, the perpetrators were feeling free to continue playing with the lives of people, especially young people, as they thought that even if they were caught, they would be freed either after paying a small amount as fine or facing confinement of few days.

Gutka is a preparation of chewing tobacco made of crushed areca nut, tobacco, catechu, paraffin wax, slaked lime and sweet or savory flavourings.