The High Court on Wednesday sought an additional affidavit from the State government about the steps which have been taken to monitor production of different kinds of food items in the State.
The division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rashid Ali Dar directed the government to file an additional affidavit regarding the steps taken by the official respondents to monitor production of different kinds of food items in the State within four weeks.
The direction was passed after a report regarding lifting of food samples from vendors was submitted by the respondents.
The HC bench observed that the report filed by the respondents does not show that they have conducted random checks or raids with regard to manufacturing of food items.
Earlier, Court had directed the authorities including Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) to take samples of food from vendors and had ordered that penal and preventive action be taken.
The HC also directed Food Safety Commissioner and Commissioner SMC and all Assistant Food Commissioners of districts to suggest a plan of action for controlling food adulteration.
Senior advocate B A Bashir had earlier pointed out that it is very difficult for them to take the samples from every district and to get them tested in food testing laboratories in Srinagar or Jammu.
He had suggested that primary labs should be set up in every district so that lifting of samples was done locally.
The Court listed the matter on 16 September 2019.
In 2016, the HC had taken suo-motu cognizance of news reports on food adulteration and rising cancer incidence and treated that as Public Interest Litigation.
The news reports stated that there was no scientific mechanism to test items like oil and milk. The reports also highlighted lack of infrastructure and manpower at the Valley’s lone Food Testing Laboratory in Srinagar.
The PIL states that uncovered and unhygienic food is being sold on streets by vendors and the authorities are watching this as mute spectators.