Bombay HC refuses to stay ban on Maggi

Bombay HC refuses to stay ban on Maggi

Maggi would continue to be off the shelves for over a fortnight from now with the Bombay High Court on Friday declining any immediate or temporary relief to the Swiss multinational Nestle, which has sought a judicial review of the orders banning the popular noodles.

Nestle India, through a petition, has sought interpretation of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2011, whilst seeking judicial review of the order dated June 6, 2015 passed by the Food and Drug Administration in Maharashtra and another order dated June 5, 2015 passed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Maggi was banned because of high content of lead and monosodium glutamate or MSG, a taste enhancer.

A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice B P Colabawalla directed the FSSAI and the Maharashtra government to file their affidavits in reply to the company’s petition within two weeks.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on June 30.

The bench opined that the product (Maggi) was already off the shelf and hence no stay on the ban order was required at this stage. The court, however, said if the FSSAI wants to initiate prosecution against Nestle, it should give the Indian arm of the Swiss multinational 72 hours’ notice.

Earlier, Nestle's counsel Iqbal Chhagla argued the company was exporting Maggi products to foreign countries such as Canada, Australia, England and Singapore, and that no ban had been imposed in these countries.

He said a test conducted in Singapore showed all the Maggi products were safe and healthy for the consumers.

According to the tests done by Indian authorities, there was alleged violation in three variants of Maggi, but the ban had been imposed on all nine variants, counsel argued.

Chhagla further said that the jurisdiction of the Chief Executive Officer of FSSAI was limited.

 The food authority, he said, was empowered to ban the product only if it was unsafe and that too in emergency situations.

He said FSSAI cannot go into the aspect of a sub-standard product.
FSSAI counsel Mahmood Pracha argued that the company had spent Rs 445 crore on advertising its products last year.

If this money was used in making and not branding products, it would not have given rise to such a situation. He said all procedures had been duly followed in issuing the impugned orders.

Anil Singh, acting Advocate-General of Maharashtra, said the food authorities had power to ban products if they were unsafe and hazardous to health. He, too, argued that all the procedures had been followed in every respect.

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