HC Reserves Order Till Aug 3 on Nestle Plea Against Maggi Ban
MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court today reserved its order till August 3 on a petition filed by Nestle India against orders of Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and Food and Drugs Administration of Maharashtra banning Maggi as it contained lead beyond permissible limit.
Nestle argued that its product did not contain lead in excess of permissible ceiling and challenged the tests by FSSAI and FDA, while the food regulators asserted that the lead content in Maggi detected during tests in reputed laboratories was harmful to public health.
The order was reserved by justices V M Kanade and B P Colabawala who had asked both the sides to give their consent for a fresh independent test. However, the parties could not arrive at a consensus to the suggestion mooted by HC which said it would pass an order on Monday. Nestle's lawyer Iqbal Chhagla said the company was agreeable to the suggestion but the tests should be conducted in the presence of a renowned scientist and the samples available with the company should be used.
Darius Khambata, appearing for FDA, contended that one of the samples must be from the lot collected by state FDA.
"For us, consumer interest is most important... this litigation may go on but we feel that the issue should be resolved amicably and therefore we suggested the parties to agree to a fresh independent test," the bench observed.
"As both the parties have given their say to our suggestion, we shall give an order on Monday on the issue," the judges said while adjouring the matter until then.
The Nestle lawyer alleged that FSSAI and FDA had not followed the principles of natural justice by not giving a hearing to the company before banning nine variants of Maggi on the ground of lead content in it being in excess of the permissible limit.
Also, though only three variants were tested, the regulators banned all nine variants of Maggi, Chhagla argued.
He said there was no substance in FSSAI's allegation about the company destroying evidence by burning Maggi stock.
"On the contrary, we have acted on the instructions of the food regulators by destroying Maggi product," he said.