New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear on May 30 the plea of Jammu and Kashmir traders’ body challenging a High Court order asking them to give an undertaking that if “prima facie” the food items supplied by them are found to be adulterated then their units would be liable to be sealed.
The plea of Jammu and Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation was mentioned before the vacation bench comprising Justices P C Pant and D Y Chandrachud, which listed the matter for hearing on May 30.
Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing for the federation, said the interim order of April 24 of Jammu and Kashmir High Court in a “suo moto PIL is illegal as petitions on similar facts are pending adjudication before the apex court.”
“…Special leave petitions are pending adjudication before this Court and during pendency of the said SLPs fresh order passed by the High Court(Impugned Order) on identical facts ought not have been passed by the High Court,” he said.
He said that the High Court order directs the owners/ Managing Directors (MDs) of food manufacturing/ processing units to file an affidavit indicating as to how and in which manner the food manufacturing/ processing units are following the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Act.
Bhushan said that it has also directed the owners/ MDs of food manufacturing/ processing units to provide information about the laboratories set up in their units, the equipment installed therein and the number of persons, having expertise in accordance with the Act, working in such laboratories.
“The High Court further directed such food manufacturing/ processing units to file an undertaking before the Registrar, Judicial of the High Court certifying that the food processing units will supply food items, fit for human consumption, to the consumers and in the event, it is prima facie found that the food items are adulterated, their units will be liable to be sealed,” the plea filed by the Federation said.
The plea of federation further said that the High Court judge has erred in not appreciating the fact that the petitioner which is a group of petty food business operators are already complying with the mandatory provisions of the Act and are registered under the law for different business operations.
“If any member of the petitioner association is found flouting the mandatory requirement of the Act, the Act entails detailed provisions for punishment for those violations,” the plea said.
It said that members of the federation are carrying the business of bakery, sweets shops and petty manufacturing works and the past incident regarding food adulteration was in the case of ‘milk’ and ‘spices’ by few companies.