The suit was filed by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in August 2015 against Nestle India Limited on grounds of “unfair trade practices, sale of defective goods and sale of Maggi Oats Noodles to the public without product approval.”
The Supreme Court spelt trouble for the Indian branch of the Swiss food giant Nestle on Thursday by resuscitating a ₹640-crore class-action suit filed by the government on behalf of thousands of consumers of the iconic Maggi noodles.
The suit was filed under Section 12(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. This provision allows the Centre or a State, either in its individual capacity or as a representative of the interests of the consumers, to file a complaint in the consumer forum.
The department claimed that Nestle was liable to pay ₹284.55 crore along with punitive damages of ₹355.4 crore for “gross negligence, apathy and callousness” on its part. Thus, the government demanded a total of ₹639.96 crore.
On Thursday, a Bench led by Justice D.Y Chandrachud revived the suit in the NCDRC, which would hear it on the basis of a report filed by the Mysuru-based Central Food Technological Research Institute in 2016.