Food ‘adulteration’: Khyber gets SC relief

Marouf Ahmad Parray
Srinagar: Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended for four weeks an order of J&K High Court asking three companies including Khyber to deposit Rs 10 crore each with the SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura, here.
“Instead of going further into the matter, we suspend the operation of the impugned order for a period of four weeks from today,” a division bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Shiva Kirti Singh said after hearing a Special Leave Petition filed by Khyber Agro Farms Pvt. Ltd against the December 23 order of the High Court.
The apex court passed the order after hearing senior advocate Zaffar Shah who brought to bench’s notice that the petitioner was not a party to the impugned proceedings before the High Court and that no notice was given to it before passing the order.
While deposing of the SLP, the court permitted the petitioner to file an application for impleading themselves as a party in the proceedings on the re-opening date on January 27.
“On such petition being filed, we request the High Court to go into the plea of the petitioner and pass appropriate order after affording opportunity to all the parties,” the court said.
However, the bench said, it has not expressed any opinion on the merits of the claim of the petitioner.
On December 23, a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Tashi Rabstan passed the impugned order after perusal of documents submitted by Deputy Commissioner Food Safety Kashmir, revealing that based on laboratory tests, the toned Khyber Milk (lot no. MD E S P 17), turmeric powder (manufactured by AVON Agro Industries) and saunf powder by Kanwal Agro Food Industries (batch-P21/B6) were “unsafe.”
The court was hearing a PIL—Sheikh Ayoub Vs State— seeking implementation of Food Safety and Standard Act 2006 (FSSA) to check food adulteration in the state.
Observing that human life is the most precious creation on this planet, the bench had termed it unfortunate on part of some people “who are trading in human miseries without realizing as how many people suffered diseases after consuming these spices and toned milk.”
“Those people who must have been afflicted with the disease because of consumption of these spices and the milk, besides spending huge amount on their treatment must have undergone huge mental trauma,” the court had said, underling that treatment has to be meted out to the people who have suffered or who may suffer from various diseases because of the consumption of such products.
“One day we have to pass on from this planet and bound to account for all our deeds. The empires build will be of no consequence when we pass on from this planet,” the court had observed.