New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday gave the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) the go-ahead to proceed with a class action suit brought against Maggi noodle makers Nestle three years ago by the Centre for allegedly selling noodles that fell short of the existing food standards.
Maggi, Nestle India’s single-largest revenue earner, was banned in June 2015 for six months across the country following allegations it contained chemicals beyond prescribed limits.
The company had to recall and destroy 38,000 tonnes of Maggi noodles from millions of retail shelves. The ban was relaxed in November 2015.
In Thursday’s ruling, the Supreme Court backed Nestle’s stance that analysis of Maggi noodles already conducted by the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) sufficed to help decide a lawsuit filed by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the company said.
That analysis showed that samples met standards for lead and other parameters, Nestle added.
The ruling set aside efforts by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) to conduct more tests, Nestle said, adding the case would now proceed based on the CFTRI reports.
Singhvi argued that the government had filed the class action suit days after the Bombay High Court had quashed an order passed by food safety regulator FSSAI banning the sales of Maggi. The High Court had gone on separate lab tests ordered by it.
But the bench shrugged off his arguments in the face of resistance from the additional solicitor general Vikramjeet Banerjee. He contended that the central government should get an opportunity to object to the lab report in the NCDRC and that the court should not dismiss the case. Any such hearing in the NCDRC would come at the cost of adverse publicity that had hit sales hard last time the controversy surfaced. The company, though, sounded upbeat in its email correspondence with ET.