The Bombay High Court has ordered the customs department of Nhava Sheva port to release a consignment of syrups belonging to Tata Starbucks Limited, which had been lying at the port since February this year.
The company had approached the court after the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) refused to grant No Objection Certificate (NOC) to release the consignment.
The court observed that the Food Safety and Standards Authority had acted in an “arbitrary and capricious manner” by detaining the goods.
Starbucks had argued that it had been importing the syrups since 2012 without any glitch.
The authorities said that the consignment of Starbucks does not confirm to the syrup category, and hence cannot be passed.
“We are of the view that the stand taken by the Respondents (FSSAI) is self contradictory. On the one hand, Respondents have in terms stated that the product which is imported by the Petitioner does not fall under category 2.3.24 (syrup) and, on the other hand, they have not cleared the goods on the ground that it does not conform to the said category under 2.3.34,” the order passed by Justices V.M. Kanade and A.K. Menon last week stated.
Starbucks had pleaded that the goods were perishable in nature and had shelf life only till August/ November 2014. It said that the goods confirmed the category of other food items of Food Safety and
Standards Act, 2006.
Tata Starbucks operate around 43 cafes throughout the country, serving speciality coffees, beverages and other items.