the soft drink industry has again indulged in what many term "dirty tactics" to delay the implementation of an October 2004 judgement of the Rajasthan High Court (hc) that asked them to specify the ingredients, including pesticide content, on the labels of their products. On the Supreme Court's (sc's) direction, the industry had approached the hc to work out the modalities for implementing its order. The case was to be heard on January 19, 2005. But just a couple of days before the date, the industry got the matter adjourned from the offices in the court, with the effect that it did not come up for hearing on the scheduled date.
Earlier, soft drink majors Coca-Cola and Pepsico had moved the sc against the hc judgement. But the sc rejected their application (see 'Master stroke', Down To Earth, December 31, 2004). The sc had given the industry two weeks time, beginning December 6, 2004, to begin the order's implementation. "Once again the industry has indulged in delaying tactics by getting the case adjourned," says Swati Bhati, the hc advocate who fought the case against the industry. Following the latest development, Bhati has served contempt notices that say the industry's failure to implement the order within two weeks amounts to contempt of court. Bhati will file the contempt application in the hc on January 28, 2005. The matter is likely to come up for hearing a few days after that.