Directs Kodaikanal Municipality to find if it is hazardous

: The Madurai Bench of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) here has directed the Kodaikanal Municipality to ascertain the ‘hazardous nature’ of ‘Gautheria Winter Green Oil’ sold in Kodaikanal by seizing the product from all the shops and manufacturing units in the hill station and testing them in a laboratory.

Justice R. Regupathi, president of SCDRC invoked his powers under Section 13 (3-B) and Rule 10 (1) and (2) of the Consumer Protection Rules, 1987 and issued the directions to the commissioner and the health officer of Kodaikanal Municipality based on a petition filed by K. Manavalan, president of South Indian Consumer and Human Rights Protection Council.

The sale of ‘Gautheria Winter Green Oil’ was in violation of the Packaged Commodities Act because it did not mention the details of the manufacturer, contents, precautions to be taken and the date of manufacturing, contended M. Priavi Perumal, the counsel for the petitioner.

He further claimed that the toxic content of 30 ml of the winter green oil was equivalent to 171 aspirin tablets. “Accidental overdose has resulted in deaths and no treatment is available in Kodaikanal for accidental overdose of winter green oil”, he contended. He further produced the winter green oil samples purchased from various shops in the hill station.

“We are shocked to see that the bottles containing the winter green oil do not have any details about the manufacturers. It is surprising as to how this blatant violation has escaped the eyes of the health authorities in Kodaikanal, despite reports of death due to accidental overdose of the oil”, Justice Regupathi noted in his order.

Holding that the petitioner has made out a prima facie case on the alleged hazardous nature of the winter green oil, the judge observed that if immediate intervention was not made by the SCDRC it would result in serious health hazards to the consumers or the tourists who visit the hill station, this summer.

Therefore, the judge directed the officials to seize the winter green oil from all the shops and manufacturing units in Kodaikanal within two weeks and to submit a report on the seizure and the manufacturers before the SCDRC. The samples of the seized oil should be sent to an appropriate laboratory for testing, he noted.

The judge directed the superintendent of police, Dindigul and deputy superintendent of police, Kodaikanal to give protection to officials at the time of seizure.

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