HC issues notice to Centre, Delhi government over rampant re-packaging of expired products
NEW DELHI — The Delhi High Court has raised alarm over a “coordinated and systematic” mechanism involving the re-packaging and re-branding of expired products with new expiry dates, and re-introducing them into the market.
A bench of acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet P.S. Arora initiated a suo motu public interest litigation after multiple instances of this deceptive practice surfaced.
The bench issued notices to the Central and Delhi governments, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), and Delhi Police, asking for their response to the alarming issue.
Advocate Shwetasree Mazumdar was appointed as amicus curiae to assist the court in this matter, with further hearings scheduled for February 8.
The PIL gained traction after Justice Prathiba M Singh referred the matter to the acting Chief Justice during a civil suit filed by the Hershey Company. The suit sought an injunction before Diwali against counterfeiters selling expired chocolates by repackaging them.
Justice Singh uncovered that the counterfeiters not only had knowledge of Hershey’s mark and packaging but had also blatantly copied them, misrepresenting expired and counterfeit chocolates as genuine Hershey’s products.
The division bench pointed out the extraordinary situation involving public health, particularly concerning food products. It expressed grave concern over the coordinated mechanism evident in repackaging expired items, stressing the need for urgent intervention to safeguard public health and maintain the integrity of the market.