Apex Court Stays Contempt Case Against Coke, Pepsi
February 6, 2006

New Delhi: India's Supreme Court Monday stayed contempt proceedings pending against Pepsi and Coca Cola in the Rajasthan High Court for not obeying an order directing them to disclose the contents of their beverages.

A bench of judges Arun Kumar and R.V. Raveendran, hearing petitions filed by the two soft drink majors against the high court judgement, said there would be no contempt proceedings.

The high court had, in its order, also asked the two companies to disclose the presence of pesticides and chemicals through markings on the bottles of their soft drinks.

Arun Jaitley, senior counsel for Coca Cola, brought to the court's notice that while one division bench of the high court was hearing a petition on compliance with the order, another was hearing contempt proceedings.

Jaitley said the simultaneous hearing of both petitions might lead to conflicting verdicts on the same issue.

K.K. Venugopal, senior counsel for Pepsi, said the central government had introduced a bill in parliament to amend the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.

This bill had been referred to a parliamentary standing committee, he said, and suggested that the court should await the outcome of this process.

Venugopal said the central government had filed a petition seeking the transfer of various petitions pending in different high courts to the Supreme Court. In the light of this submission, the apex court adjourned the proceedings.

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