Washington: A New York city judge has invalidated city mayor Michael Bloomberg's planned ban on sodas, a day before it was to come into effect.
Justice Milton Tingling, wrote in a ruling on Monday that Bloomberg's law restricting the sale of sugary drinks to not more than 16 ounces, which was effective from March 12, is laden with exceptions based on economic and political concerns.
The regulations are "fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences" that would be difficult to enforce with consistency "even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole," the judge wrote. The new law would have exempted a variety of retailers -- including 7-Eleven, seller of the iconic 'Big Gulp' drinks, because it is regulated by the state, not the city.

"The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of the rule," the judge wrote. Mayor Bloomberg's office said that it will appeal against the order. City officials believe the health department has the legal authority to use the ban to fight an "obesity epidemic," Bloomberg's office said in a tweet.
However, the court ruling was welcomed by the beverage association, one of the petitioners which challenged Mayor's ruling. "The court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban," American Beverage Association said in a statement.
"With this ruling behind us, we look forward to collaborating with city leaders on solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the people of New York City," the association said. The office of the mayor released findings of a new study according to which nine of the top 10 neighborhoods with the highest obesity rates city-wide were also the highest in sugary drink consumption.
At the other end, the three least obese neighborhoods were also the lowest in sugary drink consumption, it said. "This new data is the latest evidence that sugary drinks are helping to drive the obesity epidemic, which falls hardest on low-income communities," Bloomberg said. "Obesity is killing more than 5,000 New Yorkers each year and demands bold steps to fight this crisis; this week New York City will do precisely that," he said.


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