The Supreme Court Friday pulled up the central government for its failure to implement a food safety law that makes it mandatory for soft drink majors Pepsi and Coca-Cola to mention the ingredients on their drink bottles.
A bench of Justices A.K. Mathur and Dalveer Bhandari directed the government to file a detailed affidavit explaining its failure in notifying the Food (Safety and Standard) Act, 2006.
Earlier, counsel for petitioner Centre for Public Interest Litigation, Prashant Bhushan, contended before the court that the government was deliberately avoiding implementation of the law.
Bhushan alleged that the government may be avoiding the notification of the law under the influence of multinational companies like Pepsi and Coke, which have been opposing statutory measures that might force them to mention the contents of their soft drinks.
The petitioner contended the companies had been opposing the law in the aftermath of findings that soft drinks had traces of harmful chemicals, including pesticides, which could damage the health of consumers, a majority of whom are children.
He also suggested that the court constitute a committee comprising of experts to examine the issue of enumerating all ingredients of a food product and soft drink on the packets.
Bhushan suggested the name of eminent scientists Prof Yashpal and P.M. Bhargava for inclusion in the expert committee.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing on Sep 5.