In an interesting observation, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said the country needed leaders like Mahatma Gandhi to stop consumption of soft drinks, which have been in the news after an NGO alleged that these contained high levels of pesticides.
The observations came from a bench of Justice GP Mathur and LS Panta during hearing of a special leave petition challenging a Rajasthan High Court order to declare the contents of soft drinks on their bottles.
"First of all why should you take soft drinks at all. One can understand if it is mineral water. But soft drink is not a necessity of life. Don't take it. The old generation says even drinking coffee or tea is bad," Justice Mathur, who was heading the bench, observed. He recalled how his father would not take any tea or coffee.
"We need leaders like Mahatma Gandhi to stop drinking of soft drinks," Mathur added. Meanwhile, he fixed January 15 to hear the application filed by Delhi-based NGO Centre for Science and Environment seeking to become a party to these proceedings.
The court asked the Centre and Bureau of Indian Standards to respond to these applications within four weeks.
The court is seized of petitions filed by Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd and Pepsi Foods Ltd challenging a Rajasthan High Court order asking them to declare that soft drinks were safe and the level of pesticide residue was within limits.
On behalf of Pepsi, senior counsel KK Venugopal submitted that the PIL should not be entertained at this stage as the government had already passed a Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 which provides all the details about labeling and disclosures.