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Government will pursue Maggi suit in consumer court: Officials

An official said if the claim is approved, the amount would be deposited in the consumer welfare fund in the interest of consumers.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Aug 14, 2015, 02.03 AM IST
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An official said if the claim is approved, the amount would be deposited in the consumer welfare fund in the interest of consumers.
An official said if the claim is approved, the amount would be deposited in the consumer welfare fund in the interest of consumers.
NEW DELHI: The government will go ahead with the Rs 640 crore class action suit it filed against Nestle over the Maggi issue in the top consumer court, despite the Bombay High Court setting aside the central food safety regulator’s order banning the noodles, officials said.

They said basis of this case was different from that in the Bombay High Court. “We are fighting the case on grounds of unfair trade practices, sale of defective goods and sale of Maggi oats noodles to the public without product approval,” said an official from the Department of Consumer Affairs, which filed the case.

The consumer court is likely to consider the case next Monday. The official said after hearing the government’s view, the court may issue a notice to Nestle. The food regulator had banned Maggi after it said some tests indicated excessive levels of lead in the noodles. It had also cited improper labelling.

On Thursday, the high court ruled that the company was not given enough opportunity to present its stand, which was a violation of natural justice. But its order is conditional as the HC directed company to send samples of five Maggi variants to accredited laboratories. The laboratories will have to issue their findings in six weeks and until then the company can’t make or sell the product.

In its 47-page complaint in the consumer court, the Department of Consumer Affairs said in a bid to augment profit, the company had put to risk the health and well-being of millions of consumers. "To add further insult to injury, the opponent (Nestle) has deliberately misled the consumers of the quality, standard and accreditation/approval of Maggi Noodles," it added.

The government’s demand for Rs 639.96 crore in damages from the company includes Rs 284.55 crore for what it said selling defective and hazardous goods and unfair trade practice. The remaining Rs 355.41 crore is sought as punitive damages for alleged gross negligence, apathy and callousness on part of the company.

An official said if the claim is approved, the amount would be deposited in the consumer welfare fund in the interest of consumers.

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