The High Court on Thursday directed Commissioner Food Safety to inform the court about the difficulties he is facing while enforcing the Food Safety and Security Act, 2006.
Seeking his presence before the court on June 4, a division bench of acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and justice M K Hanjura directed the Commissioner Food Safety Dr Abdul Kabir Dar to come up with suggestions for effectively implementing the Act.
The directions came after the court heard the senior advocate Bashir Ahmad Bashir as amicus curie as well as Additional Advocate General M I Dar on behalf of the state. As soon as the matter came up for hearing, Advocate Bashir informed the court that the government is non-serious in implementing the Act.
“Implementation of the Act is a serious issue. The government has appointed the Food Safety Commissioner but he is without office. The deficiency of manpower in the department shows the indifference on part of government to implement the Act,” Bashir told the court.
On a previous date, the court had impressed upon all Assistant Commissioners, Food Safety and Standards, as well as Commissioner of Srinagar Municipal Corporation to ensure that samples of food articles are taken and tested forthwith. A follow up action, the court had said, be taken which might be penal as well as preventive.
In 2016 after taking suo-moto cognizance of news reports in on food adulteration and rising incidence of cancer in the Valley last month, the High Court had treated the reports as a Public Interest Litigation and initiated its own proceedings against the government.
Subsequently, the government was suggested to furnish the details about district-wise population, district-wise number of recognized scientific food-testing laboratories established by the state along with requisite machinery and equipment; the district-wise number of Food Safety Analysts along with their qualifications and district-wise staff-strength of food-testing laboratories