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SC notice on Nestle’s plea against retest order

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New Delhi, Dec 15 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the central government’s response on Nestle India’s plea challenging the “legality and correctness” of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) order directing testing of 16 samples of Maggi noodles to ascertain their safety for consumption.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant, while issuing notice to the government, which is also on caveat in the matter, said that it would hear the matter on Wednesday as senior counsel L.Nageshwara Rao sought the interim stay of the NCDRC’s December 9 order directing the testing of 16 samples.

Nestle, in its plea, said that “the commission had directed that out of withdrawn stocks of Maggi noodles in the custody of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (of which 100 batch numbers were randomly noted by the local commissioner), 16 samples be sent for testing for presence of lead in any form and monosodium glutamate (MSG), including their quantity in the samples at the Export Inspection Council of India, Chennai”.

The NCDRC had ordered the testing of the Maggi noodles in the course of the hearing of the central government’s class action suit against Nestle India, the manufacturer of the noodles, seeking about Rs.640 crore in damages for alleged unfair trade practices, false labelling and misleading advertisements.

Nestle India has assailed the NCDRC order holding that if a laboratory in terms of section 2(1)(a) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is recognised by the central or the state government or has been established under the law and maintained, financed or aided by either of the governments, then it need not necessarily be accredited by the NABL or notified by the Food Safety Standard Authority of India.

However, the Bombay High Court by its August 13, 2015, order had held that since the labs which tested Nestle’s Maggi noodles were not accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), their findings could not be relied upon.

Initially, Nageshwara Rao said that Nestle India plea challenging the NCDRC order could be taken up on January 13 when the court will hear the central government’s challenge to the Bombay High Court order.

However, when he sought the interim stay of the NCDRC order, the court said that the matter would to be taken up on Wednesday as it sought the central government’s response on Nestle’s plea.

Contending that the NCDRC had gravely erred while ordering further testing of the samples, Nestle India has said that the samples from the withdrawn Maggi noodles have already been tested in FSSAI notified and accredited laboratories.

It further said that in the past few months it had voluntary, in the consumer interest, “undertaken testing of 3,566 samples of its instant noodles at nine different labs in India and abroad including samples tested at FSSAI notified and NABL accredited labs in India and all test results have shown Maggi noodles compliant”.

India

Meghalaya parties’ stir to enforce ILP to keep state out of CAA purview

To visit the ILP-governed states, foreign nationals and even people from other states of India, now need to take a permit.

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Meghalaya CAA Protest

Shillong: Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik on Friday assured an apex body of over 17 organisations that he along with Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma would soon go to Delhi to urge Home Minister Amit Shah to implement the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system across the state.

If the ILP is enforced in entire Meghalaya, the hill state, like other four northeastern states — Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur, would keep itself out of the purview of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

The Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations (CoMSO), an umbrella body of more than 17 organisations, which has been spearheading the agitation since last year for the introduction of ILP in the remaining part of the state, on Friday held sit-in demonstrations in all the 11 districts and in some sub-divisional headquarters besides in the capital city of Shillong.

After the state-wide demonstrations, a delegation of CoMSO led by its Secretary Roy Kupar Synrem met the Governor and sought his urgent intervention to implement the ILP by the Centre in the remaining part of the state.

“The Governor has assured us that he along with the Chief Minister would soon go to Delhi to meet the Union Home Minister Amit Shah and request the Central government to promulgate the ILP in Meghalaya,” Synrem told the media.

He said: “We have apprised the Governor about the urgent need of ILP in Meghalaya. We have also urged the Governor to approve the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which was passed by the state Assembly long back.”

“Conrad Sangma prove yourself that you can lead Meghalaya to the ILP regime, if not please step down,” said one of the banners displayed at Friday’s agitation.

The CoMSO, after several months of silence due to the Covid-19 induced situations, resumed its stir on November 27 by holding black flag protests across Meghalaya.

“We have been asking all the 60 Meghalaya MLAs and three MPs of the state to hold sit-in demonstrations in Delhi to ensure that the ILP is enforced in the state soon,” Synrem told IANS over phone.

He said: “Even though the Meghalaya Assembly had unanimously adopted a resolution on December 19 last year, the Home Ministry is yet to take appropriate steps to enforce the ILP in the remaining part of the state.”

The CoMSO leader warned the National People’s Party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government that if the ILP was not implemented in the next few months, there would be more protests across the state.

The Bharatiya Janata Party with two MLAs is part of the MDA government in the state and one of the legislators Alexander Laloo Hek is the Health Minister.

The ILP under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 was in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram. On December 11 last year it was promulgated in Manipur, to allow for inward travel of an Indian citizen into the ILP enforced areas for a stipulated period with the written permission of the state authority.

To visit the ILP-governed states, foreign nationals and even people from other states of India, now need to take a permit.

The main aim of the ILP system is to check settlement of other Indian nationals in these states to protect the native population. There are also protection extended to indigenous people with regard to land, jobs and other facilities.

The ILP is currently issued for a minimum of 15 days and maximum one year, depending on the applicant’s purpose and necessity.

The Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland governments are issuing the ILP through the online process to facilitate any Indian to obtain this from anywhere in the country.

The central government had earlier announced that the CAA would not apply to the ILP and the Tribal Autonomous District Council (TADC) areas.

In the northeastern states there are 10 TADCs, constituted under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. While Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram have three TADCs each, Tripura has one.

All eight northeastern states and neighbouring West Bengal witnessed violent protests for many weeks last year and early this year against the CAA.

Notified on January 10, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 (CAA) seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims minorities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who have migrated from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, after facing faith-based persecution.

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Gurugram police detain group for sitting on Delhi-Jaipur Expressway

The farmers were allegedly heading to Delhi to join the anti-farm law demonstrations.

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Gurugram: A group of people were detained by the Gurugram police on Friday from the Kherki Daula toll plaza on the National Highway 48. The detainees were allegedly sitting on the National Highway in support of the ongoing farmers’ demonstrations, the police said.

The police said the group of people was detained for violating Section 144 of the CrPC, and have been charged under Section 188 of the IPC.

“We had received some inputs that a group of 15-20 people will sit on the National Highway and can block the traffic movement at the Kherki Daula toll plaza. These people had also posted some videos on social media platforms in support of the farmers’ protests. They have been detained for violation of Section 144 of the CrPC,” said Nitika Gahlaut, DCP, Manesar.

During the police action, the detained persons hailing from different villages in Rewari, Mahendergarh, Narnaul and Nuh districts allegedly raised anti-government slogans and opposed the police detention before being pacified by the cops.

This is the second instance in Gurugram when the police detained a group of people amid the ongoing farmers’ stir. On December 1, around two-dozen farmers had been detained by the Gurugram police at the Gurugram-Nuh border. The farmers were allegedly heading to Delhi to join the anti-farm law demonstrations.

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Farmers Call Bharat Bandh On December 8

Thousands of farmers continue protests at the national capital’s border points on Friday amid heavy police deployment.

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Farmers on Protest

Hardening their position ahead of the fifth round of talks with the government, agitating farmers on Friday announced a ”Bharat Bandh” on December 8 and said they would occupy toll plazas on that day.

Addressing a press conference, farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni said if the Centre does not accept their demands during Saturday’s talks, they will intensify their agitation against the new farm laws.

“In our meeting today, we have decided to give a ‘Bharat Bandh’ call on December 8 during which we will also occupy all toll plazas,” said Harvinder Singh Lakhwal, another farmer leader.

“We have planned to block all roads leading to Delhi in the coming days if new farm laws are not scrapped,” he also said.

Delhi’s border points remained choked as thousands of farmers from Haryana, Punjab, and other states held demonstrations for the ninth consecutive day, after talks with the government failed to yield any resolution on Thursday.

The farmer community has expressed apprehension that the new laws are “anti-farmer”, and would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.

However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.

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