By Jyotsna Singh
BBC News, Delhi
A court in India has asked Coca Cola and Pepsi to respond to charges that their drinks contain harmful chemicals and pesticides.
NGOs say that colas contain high levels of pesticide in India
The Supreme Court order was in response to a public interest petition by a NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigations.
Earlier this week another NGO Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had alleged that the drinks contained pesticides that posed health risks.
Soft drink manufacturers have denied the charges.
The Delhi-based Centre for Public Interest Litigations wanted the court to ask Pepsi and Coca Cola to declare the "exact amount of harmful contents in each bottle".
The court has given the cola companies four weeks to respond.
Earlier, the CSE said that a new study had found high levels of pesticides in Pepsi and Coca Cola - more than 25 times the prescribed limit.
The group said the study was carried out across the country and samples of various soft drinks were collected from 12 states.
CSE director, Sunita Narain, has criticised the government for failing to set up purity standards for soft drinks.
The government says it will look into the matter but only after receiving an official complaint.
The issue was raised in the Indian Parliament on Thursday.
There have been protests against soft drinks
Agitated opposition members staged a walkout demanding a ban on sale of colas in India.
CSE had alleged that the cola drinks contained harmful pesticides in an earlier study in 2003.
That report too was rejected by the two soft drink makers, but later a parliamentary committee upheld the findings of CSE.