Citing positive work done, HC closes PIL on food adulteration

The High Court has closed a Public Interest Litigation which had sought directions for implementing Food Safety and Standard Act in Jammu and Kashmir.

In 2016, the High Court had taken suo-moto cognizance of news reports published in Greater Kashmir on food adulteration and rising cancer incidence and treated the reports as the PIL.

Over a period of time the court issued a series of directions on the PIL after hearing senior advocate B A Bashir as amicus curiae, AAG Shah Aamir, advocate Naveed Gul for FSSAI and advocate Ateeb Kanth.

A division bench of Chief justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Tashi Rabstan while closing the PIL said: We 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”.

The Court hoped that the offenders are strictly punished for which purpose regularly checking and sampling was continuously carried out by the authorities.

The Court observed that there was no purpose to keep the petition alive in view of the report filed by the government that 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.

The Court held that in pursuance to its directions issued from time to time, several reports were filed by the government.

Citing the latest report dated 5. 2 2021 filed by Deputy Commissioner, Food Safety, Kashmir, the Court said the report indicated the district-wise work done in the January this year in Kashmir as well as Jammu Division. The report, the court said, clearly indicates the number of food samples collected from all the districts for testing.

The Court through the report was informed that in District Srinagar, the food business operators were 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.

According to the report, advisory was also 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,” the report said.

The Court was also told that the District Advisory Committee holds meetings wherein implementation of the food safety and standards are duly monitored and reviewed.

Moreover, the court was informed that the sanitization programmes were initiated to check the menace of bird flu and chicken sellers were directed to use protective gears and to maintain highest standard of hygiene.

The Court was further informed that all food business operators were being educated and made aware of these programmes through print and electronic media.