Wednesday, May 5, 2010


The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the Centre for delaying the notification making it mandatory for soft drinks manufacturers like Coca Cola and Pepsi to disclose actual contents of their products.

“Should people gulp down poison till then?” Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra, the sole woman judge in the apex court, snapped at the Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSA), counsel who submitted it would take at least three months for the draft regulations to be issued.
Justice Mishra, who was part of the Bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari, also told government that it was improper to appoint top executives of the cola and other food products manufacturers to the “scientific panels” of the authority appointed to determine the quality of the products.
“How can they be made members of the panel? How can a person judge his own case?” Justice Mishra told additional solicitor general Indira Jaising appearing for the Centre.
Concurring with her views, Justice Bhandari said the petitioner Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) had a valid apprehension that ap p o i n t - ment of exe c u t ive s from private companies in the scientific panel of the government body would lead to “conflict of interest.”
“People must have faith in the panel. People with vested interests cannot be part of the panel,” Justice Bhandari said.
The apex court made the remarks while granting the Food Safety and Standards Authority three months time to finalise the draft regulations to r e g u - l at e sale and distribution of soft drinks and other food products throughout the country.
The CPIL had filed the PIL in 2004 seeking regulations and quality checks on sale of soft rinks and cited various purported findings that they contained harmful substance.

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