The Bombay High Court on Monday reserved the order in the plea by Johnson & Johnson challenging orders of the Maharashtra Government imposing a ban on the manufacture and sale of its baby powder.
A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and SG Dige rapped the government for failing to act swiftly saying that it cannot work at a snail’s pace when it comes to cosmetics and baby products.
“We want you (government) to be vigilant, especially with big pharmas because of the large scale of production. We want them (pharmaceutical companies) to be responsible. We are not giving them a free path to manufacture,” said Justice Patel.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by the firm, challenging two orders of the State Government – one dated Sept 15 by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) Joint Commissioner and Licensing Authority cancelling its licence with effect from Dec 15, 2022; and the second dated Sept 20 by the FDA Commissioner directing the company to immediately stop manufacturing and sale of the baby powder.
Quoting from the recent report of State Government laboratories which said that the pH balance of the baby powder was on the higher side, the government affidavit has said that the pH balance was “unstable”. The justices questioned the government pleader Milind More on what they meant by unstable.
“You can’t speculate. You have to put it in the affidavit that this is the danger and hence we have acted (against the product),” added Justice Patel.
The HC will pass the order on Jan 11.