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HC asks Govt to report on Food Safety Act
SRINAGAR, Nov 28: The High Court has directed the state government to file a compliance report about its directions on implementation of Food Safety and Standards Act in the state. In case the state government fails to file report within the stipulated time, the State Chief Secretary has been directed to appear personal before the court on the next date of hearing.

The direction came from a division bench of the High Court comprising justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 and Food Safety and Standard Rules, 2011.

The court has asked the state government to apprise about measures taken with regard to implementation of the recommendations of the committee on Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 and Food Safety and Standard Rules, 2011.

State government has also been directed to take samples from the across the state, get them examined and submit the report of the experts to the court. The court directed the Commissioner of Food and Safety, Jammu and Kashmir, to appear in person before it on the next date of hearing.

Earlier the court had expressed dissatisfaction over the reply the state filed to the PIL, saying it was not in sync with the court directions.

In March this year, Advocate Sheikh Mohammad Ayoub who has filed the PIL had submitted before the division bench about non-implementation of the Food Safety Act and the Rules by the state government terming it a grave issue which according to him requires to be taken seriously.

He had further submitted the Food Safety Act 2006 and Food Safety and Standards Rules of 2011 provide that the post of Commissioner Food Safety should be manned by a person of Commissioner Secretary rank, while in J&K an Incharge Drug Controller has been assigned the job, who according to the counsel, lacks the basic eligibility and qualification.

“The present incumbent is not competent to hold the post and sanction any prosecution” he argued, adding that the respondent “is not in a position to take any action against the person found guilty under the Act and Rules. Adulterated food items are openly sold and many spices and edibles in the market are unsafe for consumption as the Act and Rules have not been implemented,” he submitted before the division bench on Wednesday.

In his petition, advocate Ayoub, has submitted that adulterated milk, sub standard and misbranded food products are being sold in the market in Jammu and Kashmir without any check. “Almost all spices and edible items from A to Z sold in the market are unsafe for human consumption. In the entire state particularly in the valley the milk which is being sold in the market is 80 per cent adulterated, which has been certified by the Food safety and Standards Authority of India,” reads the PIL on Food Safety in J&K.

The petitioner has further pointed out in his petition that the designated officers or food safety officers have miserably failed to show any positive development from the date Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 and Food Safety and Standards Rules 2011, came into force by checking and taking the samples from the market, to impose the penalty or launch prosecution as per Food Safety Act. “There is no responsibility or accountability to the so called designated officers or food safety officers particularly in the twin cities of the state,” reads the PIL on Food Safety in J&K.
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News Updated at : Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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