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Kerala HC to hear Cola majors' plea tomrw

Written by: Staff
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Kochi, Aug 23 (UNI) A division bench of the Kerala high court today called for the files relating to the writ petitions filed by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Ltd. and Pepsico India Holdings Ltd., challenging the Kerala Government ban on the sale and manufacture of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola in the state, and posted the matter for hearing tomorrow.

The division bench, comprising Chief Justice V K Bali and Justice M Ramachandran, called for the files following a submission made by the petitioners' counsel to hear the matter urgently. It said that in view of the urgency involved, it will hear the matter tomorrow.

Earlier in the morning, single judge, Justice S Siri Jagan, referred the beverages majors' separate writ petitions challenging the ban to the division bench headed by the chief justice.

Justice Siri Jagan noted that a public interest petition filed by People's Forum for Natural Justice, Palakkad, is pending before the bench, headed by the chief justice.

The prayer in the PIL was to direct the Central and State Governments to prohibit the manufacture and sale of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola.

The main contention raised by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Ltd. and Pepsico India Holdings Ltd., challenging the government order of August 11, is that the Central Government alone has the power to prohibit a food article on the ground that it is injurious to health.

They also contend that the ban order was ''arbitrary'' and passed without any independent inquiry into allegations of excessive pesticide residues in the colas.

UNI

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