New Delhi [India], August 23 (ANI): A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was moved in the Delhi High Court on Monday seeking to make school authorities aware that Johnson and Johnson Private Limited's ORSL, ORSL Plus, ORSL Rehydrate and Amrutanjan Health Care Ltd's Fruitnik Electro+ORS are not to be administered to children as an 'ORS' (oral rehydration solution) option.
The petition was filed by Rupa Singh, Assistant Professor in Jawaharlal Nehru University, through her advocate Gurinder Pal Singh.
The petition said that ORSL is a brand of Johnson and Johnson and the company is marketing three different drinks under the said brand i.e. ORSL, ORSL Plus and ORSL Rehydrate and none of the "beverages" being sold under the name ORSL uses the composition of the new ORS formulation prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
"A question of utmost public importance is that if a drink is purely a fruit juice-based drink or a non-carbonated water-based beverage, why is it being manufactured, distributed, marketed or sold deliberately and intentionally under a name ORSL when it is bound to confuse an average customer as a prescribed ORS," the petition said.
The petitioner also said that Fruitnik Electro+ORS is a brand owned by Amrutanjan Health Care Ltd. which is manufacturing, packing and selling a beverage under the aforesaid name. Its position is no different than that of ORSL, referred to above," the petition said.
The petitioner sought appropriate directions to authorities concerned to take appropriate steps to inform the "general public of the nature of the risk to health which the products and to publicise and make school authorities aware that the products are not to be administered to children as an ORS option".
The petitioner urged the court to direct all respondents including the Delhi Government, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) and Advertising Standards Council of India to take appropriate steps to inform the general public "of the nature of the risk to health" which the products 'ORSL', 'ORSL Plus', 'ORSL Rehydrate' and 'Fruitnik Electro+ ORS' present or may present, and the measures which are taken or about to be taken to prevent, reduce or eliminate that risk.
The petition has also sought direction to respondents directing them to ensure that in terms of Regulation 5 (1) of the Food Safety and Standards (Safe food and balanced diets for children in school) Regulations, 2020 the products are not advertised, marketed or sold, including free distribution in the school campus or to school children in an area within 50 meters from the school gate from any direction.
It sought changes or modifications in the packaging labels of 'ORSL', ORSL Plus', 'ORSL Rehydrate' and 'Fruitnik Electro+ ORS' to remove any doubt or misgiving about the products in the interest of public health and safety and to add a disclaimer clearing that it is not ORS or WHO recommended formula.
It also sought to launch prosecution against private respondent companies "for intentionally and deliberately cheating the public at large" by fraudulently making them believe their products to be 'ORS' and ..."thereby causing health and monetary loss to the public and making unlawful gains to themselves". (ANI)