The Kerala high court on Friday quashed the state government's order banning production and sale of Coca-Cola and Pepsi in the state.
The order in this regard was issued by a division bench comprising Chief Justice V K Bali and Justice M Ramachandran on petitions filed by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Ltd and Pepsi India Holding Private Ltd challenging the ban.
The bench upheld the contention of the two soft drink companies that the state government had no jurisdiction to impose a ban on manufacture and sale of their products.
Kerala government had last month banned the products after Delhi-based NGO Centre for Science and Environment allegedly found pesticide residues in various soft drinks of the two companies.
Welcoming the division bench's decision, Coca-Cola said in a statement that the order 'protects the interests of big and small retailers, local entrepreneurs and employees which have been affected by this illegal ban.'
"Coca-Cola India has always been completely confident of the safety of its soft drinks in India because they are produced to the same level of purity, regarding pesticides as the European Union criteria for bottled water, globally accepted as one of the most stringent in the world," the company statement said.
Coca-Cola India had in its petition stated that there was no legal basis for the ban, which was 'unfair', 'arbitrary' and 'unwarranted'. Independent tests at accredited laboratories in and outside the country had shown that these beverages were 'absolutely safe' and there was no basis for the ban, the company had argued.