Food adulteration: Now, Kanwal gets SC relief

Srinagar: The Supreme Court has suspended for four weeks an order of J&K High Court asking Kashmir-based Kanwal Agro Food Industries to deposit Rs 10 crore with the SK Institute of Medical Sciences here for allegedly indulging in food adulteration.
“…Instead of going further into the matter, we suspend the operation of the impugned order for a period of four weeks from (January 9),” a division bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said after hearing a Special Leave Petition filed by the Kanwal Industries against the December 23 order of the High Court.
The bench of apex court also comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Shiva Kirti Singh passed the order after hearing senior advocate Firdouse Qutb Wani and others who brought to its 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.
“It is made clear that by virtue of this order the petitioner is not permitted to sell their products, which are the subject matter of the dispute, pending before the High Court.”
On Tuesday, the apex court had passed a similar order regarding Khyber Agro Farms Pvt. Ltd on the High Court order.
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.”
Following the officer’s submissions, the court had also directed him to send the reports from CFL, Kolkata, to Director SKIMS.
“Director SKIMS to file report about the nature of disease which can be caused because of the colouring matter which has been found present in the spices and the material which has been found in the tonned milk,” the court had said.
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.