The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to monitor and conduct periodic checks of all carbonated soft drinks as the issue relates to citizens' fundamental right to life guaranteed under the Constitution.
A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and A K Sikri passed the direction while disposing of a PIL that had sought constitution of a separate panel to regulate soft drinks to protect citizens from their "deleterious effects".
"The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India will conduct periodic checks of the carbonated drinks," the bench said, adding the matter relates to the fundamental right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The apex court had on December 13, 2012, reserved its order on a PIL filed in 2004 for setting up a committee to evaluate the alleged harmful effects of soft drinks on human health and to properly label the beverages, detailing their ingredients.
The plea had alleged that the ingredients of carbonated drinks have "serious deleterious effects on human health" and no action has been taken to test and assess the risk posed by such beverages.
Soft drink major Pepsi's counsel, however, had opposed the PIL, saying the Food Safety and Standards Act aimed at regulating the standards of beverages was "sufficient" and all the regulations were in place.
The Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), in its petition filed in 2004, had also sought directions to cola firms to disclose the contents/ingredients on the label of their bottles and to regulate "misleading" advertisements targeting children.