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Karnataka reimposes ban on soft drinks
December 20, 2006 22:57 IST
Within days of lifting its ban on the sale of soft drinks including Pepsi and Coca Cola, the Karnataka government on Wednesday re-imposed the order in schools, colleges and hostels in 'the interest of children's health'.
The fresh ban came after the government informed the high court last week that it had withdrawn its August 14 ban on the sale of soft drinks, which was imposed after the controversy over the products containing a high level of pesticides.
Health Minister R Ashok told reporters that the consumption of carbonated beverages was found to result in childhood obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis and tooth cavities and they had been banned in schools in Britain, several states in the United States, and in other countries.
The government notification re-imposing the ban said soft drink companies -- including PepsiCo and Coca-Cola and their bottling companies -- had agreed to remove soft drinks from vending machines and cafeterias in schools in several states in the US in a phased manner.
It said the head of PepsiCo in India had made a statement that, as a matter of policy, his company does not promote its drinks to children below the age of 12 and does not encourage the consumption of carbonated beverages in primary schools.
After considering the material and in the interest of the health and well being of children and students, the state government felt an imminent need to prevent the sale of soft drinks in the premises of schools, colleges and hostels, the notification said.
Asked why the government re-imposed the ban after informing the high court of its decision to withdraw it only a few days ago, Ashok said the earlier ban was imposed under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, which different courts had ruled came under the ambit of the Centre and not the states.
The ban, he said, had now been imposed in exercise of powers under Article 162 of the Constitution read with Entry 6 of List-II of Schedule VII of the Constitution and inherent powers vested in it.
Article 162 gives the extent of executive powers of the state. The law department and legal experts had been consulted before the government decided to re-impose the ban, he said. Ashok said the ban would be extended to hospitals too.
"Children's health is our primary concern," he said, justifying the move. PepsiCo India Holdings Limited had earlier challenged the government's ban in high court, contending it was 'illegal, arbitrary and violated the Constitution'.
After the government conveyed its decision to lift the ban last week and taking into consideration a memo filed by it, the high court had disposed of the case.