HC Closes PIL On Food Adulteration

 J&K High Court | File Photo

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday closed a Public Interest Litigation regarding menace of food adulteration, hoping and trusting that the authorities will “effectively and efficiently” take action against offenders.

“We are of the opinion that there is no purpose in keeping this petition (PIL) alive. We, as such, direct that this petition be consigned to records with the hope and trust that the authorities will continue to act most effectively and efficiently and would take all measured precautions so that the Food Safety and Standard Act and the Rules thereunder are not violated and the offenders are strictly punished for which purpose regularly checking and sampling is continuously carried out,” a bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Tashi Rabstan said.

The PIL was initiated on the suo moto action of the Court on 23 March 2016 on the basis of newspaper reports regarding unhygienic and adultered food being sold in open market, causing health hazard to the citizens.

The Court issued directions from time to time and the government filed several compliance reports.

“The last report is by the Deputy Commissioner, Food Safety, Kashmir, in the form of a supplementary affidavit dated 05.02.2021. The report/affidavit gives the district-wise work done in the month of January, 2021 of Kashmir Division as well as of Jammu Division, clearly showing the number of food samples collected from all the districts for testing,” the court observed.

It also states that in District Srinagar, the food business operators have been directed to register themselves under the Prime Minister SUV Nidhi Scheme so as to ensure that they are carrying their business under property sanitary conditions, the court observed.

“Advisory has also been issued to food business operators who re-use used oil for frying various food items. Under the Revised Cooking Oil Scheme (RUCO), all used cooking oil is collected by a notified agency and then is used scientifically for manufacturing of bio-diesel so as to avoid re-use of the same as a medium of cooking. This apart, the District Advisory Committee holds meeting wherein implementation of the food safety and standards are duly monitored and reviewed,” the court said, adding, “sanitization programmes have been initiated to check the menace of bird flu and chicken sellers have been directed to use protective gears and to maintain highest standard of hygiene.”

All food business operators are being educated and made aware of these programmes through print and electronic media, the court said.

“In view of the report/affidavit, we find that the respondents (officials) are taking adequate steps to control the menace of food adulteration and unhygienic conditions in which food articles are being sold in open risking the health of all.”

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