The Supreme Court has set aside Delhi High Court's verdict directing pharmaceutical companies to display through colours vegetarian or non-vegetarian nature of drugs, other than life-saving ones.
The apex court said it is difficult to distinguish drugs and any ordinary drug can become life saving depending on the condition of a patient.
A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya said that when a drug becomes life saving, it may not be desirable to know the origin of its ingredients.
"In such a case when drug becomes a life saving drug, it may not be desirable for the patient or his attendant to know the origin of the ingredients of the drug i.e. whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Such option cannot be left on the patient or his attendant if required to save the life or eradicate a disease," the bench said.
It quashed the high court's order which had directed that the package of drug shall carry red colour label in case it contains non-vegetarian ingredients and green colour label in case of vegetarian contents.
The high court had also directed the Centre to issue a list of life saving drugs and ordered the companies to make a declaration in writing on the package indicating the nature of the origin of the product.
It had said similar display of colour be made on cosmetics products saying that they must be treated on par with articles/packages of food for the purpose of disclosure of their ingredients.
Setting aside the high court's order, the bench said "High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution has no jurisdiction to direct the Executive to exercise power by way of subordinate Legislation".