Srinagar: The High Court directed the state government on Thursday to furnish by Monday details about the number of food testing laboratories along with their location in the state.
Hearing a suo-moto Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey also sought details about the number of officers and officials, who are required to be posted under Food Safety and Standard Act (FSSA) 2006 and how many of them are in place in both divisions of the state. In addition to this, the court sought full details of persons, companies and corporations involved in manufacturing or processing food products in the state.
It also asked the government to provide details about how many convictions have been recorded by competent courts on the complaints filed under FSSA 2006.
The court also directed Food Commissioner to remain present before it on next date of hearing at 10:30 am on April 25 (Monday).
At today’s hearing, the state was to disclose measures taken by it over the years to check food adulteration leading to a rise in the incidence of life-threatening diseases like cancer in the state.
However, senior additional advocate general NA Beigh urged the court to grant a few more days for providing the information and his prayer was accepted by the court.
The court has already clubbed similar PIL— Sheikh Mohammad Ayoub Vs State—seeking implementation of the FSSA 2006 with the present petition.
In a slew of directions, the court in 2014 had directed Food Safety Officers, Designated Officers and all those involved in implementation of the FSSA 2006, to “pull up their socks, hone up machinery and speed up lifting and analysis of samples and food items, transported, manufactured, stored and marketed in the state without showing any leniency to big players in the market so that food items free from adulteration are made available to consumers.”
The court had also directed the government to submit a comprehensive report regarding the samples lifted from time to time, indicating the number of samples referred to notified laboratories/referral laboratories and the result of the analysis and action taken.