Acting on a PIL highlighting the threat of contamination and adulteration due to non-sealing of products, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday said, “People go shopping, touch products and smell, but who knows what diseases they carry.”
The court remarked that companies dealing in cosmetics should make their sealing mandatory. The Centre has also been mulling the amendment of rules concerned with sealing of products.
“Today, the approach of the government is commercial-friendly. What is the difficulty if products are sealed? Sealing may curb the allegation of products weighing less than the notified quantity. The government can shortlist products and put a seal,” Justices N H Patil and A S Gadkari told the central government.
Geentanjali Dutta, a lawyer, came across unsealed products while shopping a couple of years ago and decided to file a public interest litigation, highlighting improper sealing methods by multinational companies. Dutta said there was a risk of contamination of various products, while showing to the judges some of the products she brought to Court.
Pointing to a plastic bottle of a popular hair oil, she said it would be proper if the oil costing Rs 10 could be sealed. “For multinational consumer giants, it should not be a problem,” the petition read.
The petition has made Procter and Gamble, India, Johnson and Johnson, Hindustan Unilever and Colgate Palmolive as respondents. Dutta told the court that the companies should seriously consider sealing their products.
“Due to non-sealing of skin care, hair care, personal care and other such products, there is a high risk of contamination, especially during transit,” read the petition. Therefore, it added, the products, if left unsealed, could cause skin allergy to consumers.
She further said that apart from the threat of contamination and adulteration, due to the non-sealing of products, the consumer faced the brunt in terms of deficient weight than what was specified.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who appeared for the central government, said an amendment could be made to the rules governing the packaging of such products. The high court has urged the Centre and companies to make sealing of products mandatory. It has asked the Centre to file their reply on the issue and posted the hearing after four weeks.