Government will continue to pursue its Rs 640-crore class action suit filed in NCDRC against Nestle India, although the company’s instant noodles Maggi has returned to the market after the Bombay High Court lifted the ban imposed by food safety regulator FSSAI.
The Department of Consumer Affairs had filed a suit against Nestle India in August seeking damages for alleged unfair trade practices, false labeling and misleading advertisements.
Before that Maggi was banned by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) alleging it was “unsafe and hazardous” for consumption due to excess presence of lead.
“The case will continue. We will pursue the case against Nestle India in NCDRC,” a top ranking official in the ministry said when asked whether the department will withdraw the case.
In last hearing of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), the court had ordered to withdraw 100 samples of Maggi from the stock seized in Uttar Pradesh for the testing. The next hearing is on November 30, sources said.
This is for the first time that a company was dragged to NCDRC using a provision in the three-decade old Consumer Protection Act.
The department had sought Rs 284.45 crore in basic damages and further Rs 355.50 crore in punitive damages, resulting in total penalty of Rs 639.95 crore from the Swiss giant.
According to the complaint filed by the government, Nestle India was allegedly involved in unfair trade practices and false labeling related to the Maggi noodles product.
In August, Nestle India had got a reprieve from the Bombay High Court, which lifted the ban slapped by food regulator FSSAI on nine variants of the popular instant noodles across the country.
The court, however, asked the company to go for fresh tests of the products in government accredited laboratories.
Earlier this month, Nestle relaunched its instant noodles Maggi in the country after satisfying the conditions laid down by the High Court.