JAMMU: A Division Bench (DB) of State High Court comprising Chief Justice (A) Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice Sanjeev Kumar on Tuesday directed State to take all possible steps to ensure that the provisions of the Food, Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and the Regulations framed there under are implemented in letter and spirit.
The significant order came in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Voice for Rights, an NGO working for human rights, seeking a direction to the respondents to ban the use of toxic chemicals like Calcium Carbide for ripening of fruits in Jammu and Kashmir and to implement the provisions of Food, Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
The DB observed that this Court vide its order dated June 9, 2017, took cognisance of the grievance projected by the petitioner and put State and other official respondents to notice and directed them to submit a report with regard to the action, if any, taken by them to prevent the use of toxic chemicals by the fruit vendors.
It was observed that compliance to the aforesaid order, the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu has submitted an action taken report indicating therein that the Controller, Drugs and Food Control Organisation, J&K had been taking requisite action under law.
The DB also observed that this Court vide order dated September 20, 2017, while taking note of the aforesaid action taken report submitted by the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu passed some directions to ensure that the provisions of the Act and regulations framed thereunder are strictly implemented. The Controller, Drugs and Food Control Organisation has also filed compliance report in terms of aforesaid order indicating the steps taken by the organisation to address the issues raised in the petition.
The DB after going through aforesaid action taken reports filed from time to time and the compliance reports in terms of aforesaid orders by Divisional Commissioner, Jammu and Controller, Drugs and Food Control Organisation expressed satisfaction that the respondents have taken and are taking adequate measures to redress the grievance projected by the petitioner in the PIL. “Nothing more is required to be done in the matter except directing the respondents to continue their drive and curb the menace of artificial ripening of fruits by the use of Calcium Carbide and other toxic substances. This action will also include milk adulteration”, the court observed.
With these observations, the DB closed this petition, however, giving liberty to the petitioner to approach this Court again, in case the respondents fail to perform their duties to implement food safety standards.