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Aug, 14 2015

Government claim Rs 640 crore damage from Nestle India

The government\'s demand for Rs 639.96 crore in damages from the company includes Rs 284.55 crore for what it said selling faulty and unsafe goods. The remaining Rs 355.41 crore is sought as punitive damages for alleged gross negligence, apathy and callou

The damage claim from first of its kind class action suit against Nestle India is likely to go beyond Rs 640 crore over the Maggi issue in the consumer court, despite the Bombay High Court setting aside the central food safety regulator's order banning the noodles, officials said, reported ET.

"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.

The consumer court will consider the case on next Monday. After hearing the government's view, the official said that 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 as it had also cited improper labeling.

The high court ruled on Thursday 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.

The Department of Consumer Affairs said in its 47-page complaint in the consumer court that 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 faulty and unsafe goods. 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 also said that if the claim is approved, the amount would be deposited in the consumer welfare fund in the interest of consumers.

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