FOOD ADULTERATION: HC orders 4 top officials to remain present on March 27

FOOD ADULTERATION: HC orders 4 top officials to remain present on March 27

The court was hearing suo motto a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions for implementing Food Safety and Standard Act 2006.

 Miffed over the defiance of its directions to provide manpower to the two food testing laboratories and the mobile food testing vans in Jammu and Kashmir, the High Court on Wednesday directed state’s four top officials to remain present before it on March 27. 

The court directed Principal Secretary Health and Medical Education Department, Commissioner Secretary, Administrative Reforms, Inspections (ARI) and Trainings Department, Commissioner Food Safety and Secretary Services Selection Board to remain present. 

The court was hearing suo motto a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions for implementing Food Safety and Standard Act 2006. 

As soon as the matter came up for hearing, senior advocate Bashir Ahmad Bashir as amicus curiae submitted that all the orders passed by the court from time to time have not been implemented. 

Despite a slew of court directions, Bashir said, nothing has been achieved. “The authorities seem to be unmoved to implement the court orders,” he said. While the court sought presence of the four officers who have to implement its directions, it asked state’s additional advocate general, Shah Aamir, to submit the compliance by the next date of hearing. 

The court expressed its dismay over non-implementation of its orders especially order dated 19-09- 2018 wherein the government was directed to recruit staff for the two food testing laboratories mobile food testing vans in Jammu and Kashmir. 

The court had issued the direction after it was informed that Rs 18 Cr had been spent in creating state-of-the-art Food Testing Public laboratories at Srinagar and Jammu but no manpower is available to run the laboratories. 

 The court had observed that it was because of non filling of some important posts including lab technicians and instrumentation technicians that these labs were non-functional. 

While the court was informed that the recruitment process for the vacant posts could not be initiated for the reason that a proposal for modification to recruitment rules was pending with ARI Training department, the court had asked commissioner secretary of the department to settle the matter within a week. 

Meanwhile the court sought an affidavit from the government indicating the number of posts created for manning the food laboratories and the mobile vans. 

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