The Bombay high court on Tuesday asked the state excise department if all breweries are following the rule that beer should be packaged in new bottles, while observing that the requirement is reasonable from the hygiene point of view.
The query was made during the hearing of a petition by Hindustan Breweries and Bottling Ltd seeking to quash the rule on grounds that they are the only ones being made to follow it.
Petitioner's counsel Veena Thadani submitted that manufacturers use recycled bottles after thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting them, and brought to the court's notice several orders, the last one passed in March last year, whereby the commissioner of state excise directed manufacturers not to use recycled bottles which had names and logos of other manufacturers embossed on them.
The petitioner said these orders deal only with prohibition on the reuse of bottles bearing logos of other manufacturers, and there is no direction that only new ones be used. The company also alleged it is being targeted at the behest of another brewery. A division bench of justice DD Sinha and justice VK Tahilramani asked the government: "From the hygiene point of view, it is a reasonable rule. But are you applying it to all manufacturers?"
Assistant government pleader Vinay Sonpal said since the norm is in place, it is implied that everyone is following it, but added he will need to seek instructions from the government on the issue. The court has adjourned the hearing for a week.