The Mumbai High Court's partial reprieve to Nestle India's marquee brand of Maggi today is the latest in a series of events which had unfolded in the last more than two months surrounding the case.
Starting from the day when FSSAI ordered recall of maggi after test results conducted on samples collected almost a year back from Uttar Pradesh found more than permissible limits of MSG and lead, the maggi story has been as intruguing, complex and inter-wined as the product itself.
Be it the multiple voices in which the central government ministers are speaking on the issue, the wide variance in state-wise test results or the endless wait to see it back on shelve, everything related to maggi has been confusing and mysterious.
Earlier, this week a new chapter was added on to the saga, when the department of consumer affairs filed a Rs 640 crore class action suit on behalf of consumers of India in a consumer court.
Just a day before, the amount of damages was calculated at Rs 426 crore, but hours before filing of the case, another section was slapped on the Company, taking the total amount of damages to RS 640 crore.
It does not end here, infact in the petition filed in the Court, the ministry has said that they have still not calculated the full damages and are getting details on the same and would revise the figures as and when new evidence comes. So, in short, damages claimed from company could move up further and even the Rs 640 crore figure is not final.
Experts said that this is unsual as in a class action suit, which the department has filed against Nestle India, the amount of damages is calculated after taking into account all past, pesent and future impact that product or company had or might have had on the consumers.
How the numbers changed overnight and there is still scope for further revision is mysterious. Nestle India meanwhile in its response has reportedly said that it is disappointed with the case filed against it in the consumer, claiming that the charges levelled against it is same as that by FSSAI in the ongoing case in the Mumbai High Court.
With the Mumbai High Court, giving a partial relief to Maggi today, the department of consumer affairs damage claim could face serious trouble, if Nestle India uses the same ruling to claim its innocence.
Maggi as a product is perhaps one of the most recognisable processed food sold in the country and contributed almost a quarter of Nestle India's total revenues in the country.
Nestle itself has been present in the country for more than 100 years and had an unblemished record as far as its products are concerned so far in the country. So, taking on such a big brand, naturally had to fully supported by facts and figures and substance. Hopefully, unlike FSSAI's case, department of consumer affairs in its submission before the consumer court has prepared a water-tight case.