Seeks details on non-state food manufacturers supplying food items to J&K
Srinagar: Stating that it will not make any ‘compromise’ with the health of the people, the high court on Wednesday said that it will make the system work even if the government has forgotten its duties.
“The health of people is involved. They are literally fed poison. Please don’t defend (sic),” a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey told advocate general D C Raina, who appeared as per the court’s directions last week.
“There won’t be any compromise with the health of the people. The court is aware of its constitutional obligation and will make the system work even if the government forgets its duties,” the bench said as Commissioner Secretary Health, who was present in the court, was watching.
“Today it is us, tomorrow it would be our children. Our children would be born deformed because of adulterated food…They (offenders) have become so powerful that the state is unable to proceed against them, money power is now in action,” the court said while hearing a suo moto Public Interest Litigation.
Last week, the court had directed the Chief Secretary, Commissioner Secretary Health, Commissioner Food Safety and Financial Commissioner (planning) to remain present before the court at Wednesday’s hearing.
However, barring Commissioner Secretary Health no officer was present and they had filed an application through additional advocate general MI Dar, seeking exemption from personal appearance.
On the assurance of the Advocate General that all the officers will remain present on the next date of hearing, the court exempted them from personal appearance on Wednesday. “On the next date, all the officers shall remain present before the court,” the court said. It also directed the Commissioner Food Safety to provide full information and particulars of food manufacturers, processors/suppliers/persons/companies who are from outside the state and supply food items to Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Commissioner Food Safety shall also provide similar information about Jammu division. All the authorities shall ensure publication of a public notice in newspapers one each at Srinagar and Jammu, informing these manufacturers/processors/suppliers/persons/companies to comply with the court direction dated April 27,” the court said and posted the PIL on May 13.
The court also granted Khyber Agro Farms Pvt. Ltd. time to file an affidavit in terms of the previous court order after the same was sought by senior advocate ZA Shah, with A Hanan.
Last Thursday, the high court said the people of the state have been ‘left at the mercy of God’ as there are no laboratories and other paraphernalia available to check food adulteration in the state.
It made the Chief Secretary, Commissioner Secretary Health, Commissioner Food Safety, Financial Commissioner (Planning) and owners and MDs of food manufacturing or processing units, whose details have been given by the government in the status report, a party to the PIL.
In another direction, the Court had directed owners, MDs of food manufacturing or processing units to file affidavits, indicating as to how and in what manner, they are following the provisions of the FSSA 2006. “They shall also provide information about the laboratories set up in their u, the equipment installed and the number of persons, having expertise in accordance with FSSA 2006, working in such laboratories.”
The companies, corporations or individuals dealing in milk were also asked to indicate in their affidavits as to how much milk they are supplying each day along with the sources of procurement.
“All the owners, MDs of Food Manufacturing or processing units shall file an undertaking before the Registrar Judicial, satisfying therein that they will supply food items fit for human consumption to consumers. They shall also undertake that in the event it is, prima facie, found that food item are adulterated, then their units may be liable to be sealed,” the Court had said.
Lastly, it had directed hoteliers, restaurants owners and shop keepers to ensure that adulterated or unsafe food was not supplied to consumers.