Close on the heels of the Bombay high court quashing the ban on Maggi noodles, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan has said the verdict does not alter the grounds on which the government has claimed Rs 640-crore in damages from Nestle for misleading advertisements and unfair trade practices.
Nestle India got a breather last week from the high court which lifted the ban slapped by food regulators on nine variants of the popular instant noodles across the country and asked the company to go for fresh tests of the product.
The food and consumer affairs ministry separately filed a Class Action Suit against Nestle India before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) last week, using a hitherto unused provision in the three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act.
Asserting that the high court ruling would not alter the grounds on which the case has been filed at NCDRC, food and consumer affairs minister Paswan said the government would not withdraw its petition.
The case, wherein the Centre has claimed damages worth Rs 640 crore, may come up for hearing on Monday. “The decision of the Bombay high court does not materially alter, either on law or on facts, the grounds urged in our complaint,” Paswan said.
He said this in response to a question whether the government would to drop the case against Nestle India in the wake of the high court order.
The petition has made a case that the trade practices followed by Nestle India were “unfair, deceptive and misleading” and therefore not in the interest of consumers, Paswan said.
“There is no question of withdrawing our petition against the company. It has been listed before NCDRC for admission and the case is likely to be heard on Monday,” he added. The ministry has sought Rs 284.45 crore in basic damages and further Rs 355.50 crore in punitive damages, resulting in total damages of Rs639.95 crore from the Swiss company.