Order on production ban of coke in Kerala quashed

Published: Tuesday 31 October 2006

on september 22, the Kerala High Court quashed the state government's orders banning production and sale of Coca-Cola and Pepsi in the state. By Section 23(1A) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, only the central government has the right and powers to prohibit manufacture and sale of food articles, the bench ruled. A bench comprising Chief Justice V K Bali and Justice M Ramachandran said the August 10 and 11 orders of the state were "harsh, unreasonable and arbitrary".

However, Kerala law minister M Vijayakumar said that there was no question of reversing the decision to ban colas and if necessary a new legislation would be enacted to enable the state to ban the drinks. "We will seek the state advocate general's and other legal experts' opinion and then appeal (in the Supreme Court)," said Kerala chief minister V S Achuthanandan. He called the high court order "unfortunate".

The cola companies have welcomed the court ruling. But anti-cola groups in Kerala have decided to resume their four-year struggle against the Coke plant in the state. Reacting to the earlier ban, the Adivasi Samrakhshna Samiti, an anti-cola group in Plachimada had suspended its agitation against the Coke plant. They will now resume the agitation. "Struggle against the plant will continue. We demand closure of the unit at Plachimada," says Mailamma, leader of the samiti.

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