Honours go to Pepsi as SC dismisses Kerala govt appeal

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New Delhi, Feb 11 (UNI) Soft drinks major Pepsico won a major legal tussle when the Supreme Court today dismissed the appeal of the State of Kerala challenging the Kerala High Court order dated April 10, 2007 holding that a panchayat cannot cancel the licence granted for installation of horse power electric motor for extracting ground water.

The Pudussery gram panchayat had cancelled the licence of Pepsico India Holdings Pvt Ltd when the level of ground water went well below the permissible level in the village. It feared the extraction might lead to severe water crisis.

Pepsico had installed 2000 HP electric motor and was extracting 18 lakh litres of water per day. The licence was granted by the village panchayat itself under the provision of the Development Act.

A bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and P Sathasivam dismissed the petition of the state government upholding the order of the Kerala High Court that gram panchayat was not competent to cancel the licence.

It did not agree with the stand of the state government that gram pnchayat has the power to look after the welfare of the village population and was right in cancelling the licence of the company, which was indiscriminately extracting water depleting the ground water level in the village.

UNI AKS/SC RJ RP HS1728

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