Srinagar: The High Court Saturday came down heavily on state government for not appointing Commissioner Food Safety with support staff, as directed by it, two months after the order.
Withholding the contempt proceedings on the assurance of state counsel, the court granted two weeks time to the government to comply with the order.
“No plausible cause is shown to extend the time, leaving no option for the Court, but to proceed against the erring officers by initiating contempt proceedings against them, however, on assurance of the learned State counsel that the directions of this Court, without further loss of time, shall be complied with in letter and spirit before the next date of hearing, it is thought just and proper to defer the initiating of contempt proceedings against the erring officers and two weeks’ further time is granted to the Commissioner Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education Department and Commissioner Secretary to Government, Finance Department to submit the compliance,” the division bench of Justice Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said.
The court observed that the post of Commissioner of Food Safety along with all the supportive staff has to be appointed and made available to ensure functioning of of Food Safety office.
“We had already given much time and we cannot take this issue lightly,” said Justice Magrey.
Previously, the court on 5th October had directed state to create the post of Commissioner, of Food Safety along with supportive staff but it observed that the Finance Department has only cleared the proposal for the creation of the post of Commissioner and not the supportive staff. The Finance Department was further directed to clear the proposal within a week and the proposal was supposed to be placed before cabinet for approval. The whole process was given six weeks to get complete.
But no compliance report has been filed after the said date.
Also the court on previous hearing was informed that the kitchen is yet to be vacated by police authorities who had occupied it. No compliance report was submitted on this issue also.
The court directed State to file status report indicating the steps taken to have the entire space under the control of forensic science laboratory.
However, the court observed that labels of the packaged food products and are being checked in accordance with the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The court was informed that during the checking drives, some of them were found violating the law.
The court sought status report indicating the action taken against the offenders and also details about the drives taken out.