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PIL for checking the harmful soft drinks etc = Centre for Public Interest Litigation .. Petitioner Versus Union of India and Others .. Respondents http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40892

PIL for checking the harmful soft drinks etc =

The writ  petition  was  preferred  for  constituting  an  independent

Expert/Technical Committee to evaluate the harmful effects  of  soft  drinks

on human health, particularly on the health of the children, and also for  a

direction to respondent No. 1  –  Union  of  India  –  to  put  in  place  a

regulatory  regime   which  could  control  and  check  the  contents  in  a

particular chemical additive in  foods,  including  soft  drinks.

Further,

direction was also sought for against respondent no. 1 to make it  mandatory

for the soft  drinks  manufacturers  to  disclose  the  contents  and  their

specific quantity on  the  labels  of  soft  drinks,  including  appropriate

warnings, qua a particular  ingredient,  and  its  harmful  effects  on  the

people.

Petitioner has also sought for a direction to respondent no.  1  to

check and control the misleading advertising of  soft  drinks,  particularly

advertisements  targeted  at  children,  unwary  uneducated  and  illiterate

people.=

 

We are, therefore, of the view that the provisions of the FSS Act and

PFA Act and  the  rules  and  regulations  framed  there under  have  to  be

interpreted and applied in the  light  of  the  Constitutional  Principles,

discussed above and endeavour has to be  made  to  achieve  an  appropriate

level of protection of human life and health.  Considerable  responsibility

is cast on the Authorities as well as the other officers functioning  under

the above mentioned Acts to achieve the desired  results.  Authorities  are

also obliged to maintain a  system  of  control  and  other  activities  as

appropriate to the circumstances, including public  communication  on  food

safety and risk, food safety surveillance and other  monitoring  activities

covering all stages of food business.

 

23.   Enjoyment of life and its attainment, including  right  to  life  and

human dignity encompasses, within its ambit  availability  of  articles  of

food,  without  insecticides  or  pesticides  residues,  veterinary   drugs

residues,  antibiotic  residues,  solvent  residues,  etc.   But  the  fact

remains, many of the food articles like rice, vegetables, meat, fish, milk,

fruits available in the market contain insecticides or pesticides residues,

beyond the tolerable limits, causing serious health  hazards.   We  notice,

fruit based soft drinks available in various  fruit  stalls,  contain  such

pesticides residues in alarming proportion, but no  attention  is  made  to

examine its contents.  Children and infants are uniquely susceptible to the

effects of pesticides because of their physiological immaturity and greater

exposure to soft drinks, fruit based or otherwise.

 

24.   We, therefore, direct the Food  and  Safety  Standards  Authority  of

India, to gear up their resources with their counterparts in all the States

and Union Territories and conduct periodical inspections and monitoring  of

major fruits and vegetable markets, so as to ascertain whether they conform

to such standards set by the Act and the Rules.

 

25.   Penal provisions are also provided in the Act.  It is, therefore,  of

utmost importance  that  the  provisions  of  the  Acts  are  properly  and

effectively implemented so that the State can achieve an appropriate  level

of human life and health, safeguarding the right to life  guaranteed  under

Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

 

 

26.   The Writ Petition is disposed of with the above  directions,  leaving

its respondents, as already indicated, to strictly follow the provisions of

the FSS Act as well as the Rules and Regulations framed thereunder.

 

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 681 OF 2004
Centre for Public Interest Litigation .. Petitioner
Versus
Union of India and Others .. Respondents

J U D G M E N T

K. S. Radhakrishnan, J.

1. The writ petition was preferred for constituting an independent
Expert/Technical Committee to evaluate the harmful effects of soft drinks
on human health, particularly on the health of the children, and also for a
direction to respondent No. 1 – Union of India – to put in place a
regulatory regime which could control and check the contents in a
particular chemical additive in foods, including soft drinks. Further,
direction was also sought for against respondent no. 1 to make it mandatory
for the soft drinks manufacturers to disclose the contents and their
specific quantity on the labels of soft drinks, including appropriate
warnings, qua a particular ingredient, and its harmful effects on the
people. Petitioner has also sought for a direction to respondent no. 1 to
check and control the misleading advertising of soft drinks, particularly
advertisements targeted at children, unwary uneducated and illiterate
people.
2. The Union of India and other respondents have maintained the stand
that the Food Supply and Standards Act, 2006 (the FSS Act), along with its
Rules and Regulations framed thereunder, constitute a vigorous regulatory
regime, which takes care of all the above mentioned situations and
provisions of the FSS Act and the Rules and Regulations are being enforced
scrupulously and meticulously. Over and above, it was pointed, in
pursuance to the orders passed by this Court on 8.2.2011 and 15.4.2011, the
Food and Safety Standards Authority of India (for short “the Food
Authority”) examined the various grievances raised by the petitioner and
passed the order on 12.9.2012. The findings recorded in the order dated
12.9.2012 passed by the Food Authority would allay all the fears and
apprehensions raised by the writ petitioner and in any view the same could
be taken care of by the authorities functioning under the provisions of the
FSS Act as well as the Rules and Regulations framed thereunder. Further,
it was also pointed out that if the petitioner or any other citizen has any
grievance, he can always approach the statutory authorities functioning
under the FSS Act and, hence, no further directions are called for from
this Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India.
3. We have gone through the various provisions of the FSS Act, the Food
Safety and the Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives)
Regulations, 2011, the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling)
Regulations, 2011, Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and the Rules framed
thereunder, etc. In our view, by and large, the various grievances raised
by the petitioner are seen covered by the above mentioned legislations, but
the question is only with regard to their enforcement by the authorities
functioning under these legislations.
4. We have already indicated that the main apprehension of the
petitioner is that there is no proper regulatory regime in place to
evaluate the harmful effects of soft drinks on human health, particularly
on the health of children and also there is no mechanism to control and
check the contents in particular chemical additive in food, including soft
drinks. Petitioner also submitted that, though two separate scientific
panels for additives, labelling and advertising were constituted on the
basis of the directions given by this Court, the petitioner’s grievances
regarding the ingredients of soft drinks were considered by the scientific
panel on labelling and advertising and not by the scientific panel on food
additives. Petitioner submitted that the issue could have been considered
by the scientific panel for food additives only and not by the panel which
has been constituted to consider issues of labelling and advertising. The
petitioner also submitted that even the recommendations made by the Ganguly
Committee were not followed by the above mentioned committees. Ganguly
Committee has recommended for a “well controlled studies to assess effects
of consumption of carbonated water on health” and also an independent cell
for “risk analysis”. Petitioner has pointed out that consumption of large
amount of Caffeine (methylated xanthine) can cause diseases and disorders,
such as, insomnia, nervousness, anxiety and so on, which has been used as
an additive in soft drinks and is harmful to human life. In support of
this contention, reference has been made to various research papers which
have highlighted the harmful effects of consumption of Caffeine.
5. Petitioner has also highlighted the harmful effects on children
created through misleading advertising, for which reference has been made
on the study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and also on
various study papers published in the several International journals,
highlighting the impact of advertising on children and its harmful effects.

 

6. We have already indicated that on the basis of the orders passed by
this Court on 8.2.2011 and 15.4.2011 and in exercise of powers conferred
under Section 13(4) of the FSS Act, the Food Authority, constituted an
expert Scientific Panel on Labelling and Claims/Advertising and that Panel,
after examining the various grievances raised by the petitioner and giving
an opportunity of being heard, passed an order on 12.9.2012, the operative
portion of the same reads as under:
“a) Soft drinks as referred in the representation (Petitioner’s
representation dated 18.03.2011), are regulated as carbonated
water in accordance with the standards under Food Safety and
Standard Regulation, 2011.” “(W)ith the existing consumption
pattern prevalent in the country as reported in the above
referred data, the ingredients present in the beverage do not
appear to pose any health hazard.”
b) The labelling of soft drinks is governed by the Food Safety and
Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011. “(T)he
labelling provisions of carbonated beverages is in compliance
with the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling)
Regulations, 2011.”
c) The advertisement of carbonated beverages is governed inter alia
by the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, Food Safety
and Standards (Restriction of Advertisement) and Regulation,
2011 and the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) Code.
The advertisement of carbonated beverages complies with the
provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, the
Food Safety and Standards (Restriction of Advertisement)
Regulation 2011 and the ASCI Code.”

7. We find that the scientific panel consists of eminent food
scientists, chemical engineers, nutritionists, public health experts,
toxicologists etc. Petitioner raised the contention that the objection
raised by it was considered by the Committee whose title is the Scientific
Panel on Labelling and Claims/Advertising, even though the Food Authority
has a panel with the words “Food Additives” in its title. We find not much
force in this contention, when we examine the credentials of the members of
the scientific panel on labelling/advertising. Further, we notice that the
grievances were examined by the experts who are scientific experts, not by
the members of the panel chosen, who are only conversant with
labelling/advertising etc. In any view, we notice that the Act provides
for a machinery for examining the grievances and if a citizen has got any
complaint with regard to the ingredients of any soft drinks, he can
approach the machinery. Section 40 of FSS Act also enables the purchaser
of any article of food to get analyzed such food from the Food Analyst
after informating the food business operator at the time of purchase of his
intention to have such article so analyzed. The Statute also provides
penal provisions in case there is a contravention or non-compliance of the
regulations framed.

8. FSS Act has been enacted to consolidate laws relating to food and to
establish the Food Safety and Standards Authority in India for laying down
science based standards for articles of food. The Act is also intended to
regulate the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import, to ensure
availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption. The Act
is based on international legislations, instrumentalities and Codex
Alimentarius Commission (CAC). CAC was created in 1961/62 by the Food and
Agricultural Organization of United Nations (FAO) and WHO to develop the
food standards, guidelines and related texts such as codes of practice
under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme. The main purpose this
programme is to protect the health of consumers, ensure fair practices in
the food trade, and promote coordination of all food standards work
undertaken by international governmental and non-governmental
organizations. “Codex India” the National Codex Contact Point (NCCP) for
India, coordinates and promotes Codex activities in India in association
with the National Codex Committee and facilitates India’s input to the work
of Codex through an established consultation process.

9. The Act empowered the Central Government to constitute the Food
Safety and Standards Authority of India (hereinafter being referred to as
“the Food Authority”) under Section 4 of the FSS Act. The Food Authority
is also authorised to constitute a Central Advisory Committee, so also
Scientific Panels. Section 13 of the FSS Act states that the Food
Authority shall establish scientific panels which shall consist of
independent scientific experts with representatives of industry and
consumer organisations in its deliberations. The Food Authority may also
establish as many scientific panels, as it considers necessary, in addition
to panels on food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in
contact with food; pesticides and antibiotics residues. The Food
Authority, under Section 14 of the FSS Act, can also constitute Scientific
Committee consisting of Chairpersons of Scientific Panels and six
independent scientific experts not belonging to any of the scientific
panels. The Committee shall be responsible for providing the scientific
opinions to the Food Authority and shall have the powers for organising
public hearings. The Scientific Committee shall provide opinion on multi-
sectoral issues falling within the competence of more than one Scientific
Panel and set up working groups on issues which does not fall under
scientific panels. The duties and functions of the Food Authority have
been elaborately dealt with in Section 16 of the FSS Act, which states that
it shall be the duty of the Food Authority to regulate and monitor the
manufacture, processing, distribution, sale and import of food, and shall
specify, by regulations, the standards and guidelines in relation to
articles of food, mechanisms and guidelines for accreditation of
certification bodies engaged in certification of food safety management
systems for food businesses and notify the accredited laboratories etc.

10. Chapter III deals with the general principles of food safety. The
said provisions are extracted hereunder for an easy reference:
“ CHAPTER III
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF FOOD SAFETY
18. General principles to be followed in administration of Act.-
The Central Government, the State Governments, the Food Authority and
other agencies, as the case may be, while implementing the provisions
of this Act shall be guided by the following principles, namely:-

(1) (a) endeavour to achieve an appropriate level of protection of
human life and health and the protection of consumers’
interests, including fair practices in all kinds of food trade
with reference to food safety standards and practices;
(b)  carry out risk management which shall include taking into
account the results of risk assessment, and other factors which
in the opinion of the Food Authority are relevant to the matter
under consideration and where the conditions are relevant, in
order to achieve the general objectives of regulations;
(c)  where in any specific circumstances, on the basis of
assessment of available information, the possibility of harmful
effects on health is identified but scientific uncertainty
persists, provisional risk management measures necessary to
ensure appropriate level of health protection may be adopted,
pending further scientific information for a more comprehensive
risk assessment;
(d)  the measures adopted on the basis of clause (c) shall be
proportionate and no more restrictive of trade than is required
to achieve appropriate level of health protection, regard being
had to technical and economic feasibility and other factors
regarded as reasonable and proper in the matter under
consideration;
(e)  the measures adopted shall be reviewed within a reasonable
period of time, depending on the nature of the risk to life or
health being identified and the type of scientific information
needed to clarify the scientific uncertainty and to conduct a
more comprehensive risk assessment;
(f)  in cases where there are reasonable grounds to suspect
that a food may present a risk for human health, then,
depending on the nature, seriousness and extent of that risk,
the Food Authority and the Commissioner of Food Safety shall
take appropriate steps to inform the general public of the
nature of the risk to health, identifying to the fullest extent
possible the food or type of food, the risk that it may
present, and the measures which are taken or about to be taken
to prevent, reduce or eliminate that risk; and
(g)  where any food which fails to comply with food safety
requirements is part of a batch, lot or consignment of food of
the same class or description, it shall be presumed until the
contrary is proved, that all of the food in that batch, lot or
consignment fails to comply with those requirements.
(2)  The Food Authority shall, while framing regulations or
specifying standards under this Act-
a) take into account-
(i)  prevalent practices and conditions in the country including
agricultural practices and handling, storage and transport
conditions; and
(ii) international standards and practices, where international
standards or practices exist or are in the process of being
formulated,
unless it is of opinion that taking into account of such prevalent
practices and conditions or international standards or practices
or any particular part thereof would not be an effective or
appropriate means for securing the objectives of such regulations
or where there is a scientific justification or where they would
result in a different level of protection from the one determined
as appropriate in the country;
(b) determine food standards on the basis of risk analysis except
where it is of opinion that such analysis is not appropriate to
the circumstances or the nature of the case;
(c) undertake risk assessment based on the available scientific
evidence and in an independent, objective and transparent manner;
(d) ensure that there is open and transparent public consultation,
directly or through representative bodies including all levels of
panchayats, during the preparation, evaluation and revision of
regulations, except where it is of opinion that there is an
urgency concerning food safety or public health to make or amend
the regulations in which case such consultation may be dispensed
with: Provided that such regulations shall be in force for not
more than six months;
(e) ensure protection of the interests of consumers and shall provide
a basis for consumers to make informed choices in relation to the
foods they consume;
(f) ensure prevention of-
(i) fraudulent, deceptive or unfair trade practices which may
mislead or harm the consumer; and
(ii) unsafe or contaminated or sub-standard food.
(3) The provisions of this Act shall not apply to any farmer or
fisherman or farming operations or crops or livestock or aquaculture,
and supplies used or produced in farming or products of crops produced
by a farmer at farm level or a fisherman in his operations.”

 
11. The general principles referred to above are to be followed in the
administration of the Act, by the Central Government, the Food Authority,
the State Governments and other agencies, while implementing the
regulations and specifying food safety standards or while enforcing or
implementing the provisions of the FSS Act. The Food Authority, while
discharging its functions, shall take into account the prevailing practices
and conditions in the country, including agricultural practices and
handling, storage and transport conditions, including international
standards and practices. The Food Authority shall be guided by the general
principles of food safety, such as, risk analysis, risk assessment, risk
management, risk communication, transparent public consultation, protection
of consumers’ interest, etc. Section 19 of the Act stipulates that no
article of food shall contain any food additive or processing aid unless it
is in accordance with the provisions of the Act and regulations made
thereunder.

12. Section 21 is of paramount importance and is extracted hereunder for
an easy reference:
“21. Pesticides, veterinary drugs residues, antibiotic residues and
micro- biological counts.-(1) No article of food shall contain
insecticides or pesticides residues, veterinary drugs residues,
antibiotic residues, solvent residues, pharmacological active
substances and micro- biological counts in excess of such tolerance
limits as may be specified by regulations.
(2) No insecticide shall be used directly on article of food except
fumigants registered and approved under the Insecticides Act, 1968.
Explanation.- For the purposes of this section,-
(1) “pesticide residue” means any specified substance in food
resulting from the use of a pesticide and includes any
derivatives of a pesticide, such as conversion products,
metabolites, reaction products and impurities considered to
be of toxicological significance and also includes such
residues coming into food from environment;
(2) “residues of veterinary drugs” include the parent compounds
or their metabolites or both in any edible portion of any
animal product and include residues of associated impurities
of the veterinary drug concerned.”

The above mentioned section provides that no article of food shall
contain insecticides or pesticides, veterinary drugs residues, antibiotic
residues, solvent residues, pharmacological active substances and micro-
biological counts in excess of such tolerance limit as may be specified by
the regulations. It also provides that no insecticide shall be used
directly on articles of food except fumigants registered and approved under
the Insecticide Act, 1968.
13. Section 24 of the FSS Act deals with restrictions of advertisement
and prohibition as to unfair trade practices and reads as follows:
“24. Restrictions of advertisement and prohibition as to unfair
trade practices.- (1) No advertisement shall be made of any food which
is misleading or deceiving or contravenes the provisions of this Act,
the rules and regulations made thereunder.
(2) No person shall engage himself in any unfair trade practice for
purpose of promoting the sale, supply, use and consumption of articles
of food or adopt any unfair or deceptive practice including the
practice of making any statement, whether orally or in writing or by
visible representation which-
(a) falsely represents that the foods are of a particular
standard, quality, quantity or grade- composition;
(b) makes a false or misleading representation concerning the
need for, or the usefulness;
(c) gives to the public any guarantee of the efficacy that is
not based on an adequate or scientific justification
thereof:
Provided that where a defence is raised to the effect that such
guarantee is based on adequate or scientific justification, the burden
of proof of such defence shall lie on the person raising such defence.”

The above mentioned Section provides for restrictions on advertising of
any food which misleads or contravenes the provisions of the FSS Act or the
rules and regulations framed thereunder. It also provides for prohibition
as to any unfair trade practice for the purpose of promoting sale, supply,
use and consumption of articles of food or adoption of any unfair or
deceptive practice to mislead the public regarding the standards, quality,
quantity, usefulness or giving of any guarantee of the efficacy that is not
based on an adequate or scientific justification thereof.

14. The Food Authority, in exercise of its powers conferred under clause
(e) of sub-section (2) of Section 92 read with Section 16 of the FSS Act,
made the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food
Additives) Regulations, 2011. The same is intended to regulate and monitor
the manufacture, processing, distribution, sale and import of food so as to
ensure the safe and wholesome food. The contents of soft drinks, in
particular, are regulated by Regulation 2.10.6 of the Regulations under the
title “Carbonated Water”. Food Authority is also conferred with the
powers under clause (k) of sub-section (2) of Section 92 read with Section
23 of FSS Act and in exercise of those powers it framed the Food Safety and
Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011. Section 23 read
with the above mentioned regulations provides that no person shall
manufacture, distribute, sale or expose for sale or despatch or deliver to
any agent or broker for the purpose of sale, any packaged food products
which are not marked and labelled in the manner, as may be specified. It
further provides that every food business operator shall ensure that the
labelling and presentation of food does not mislead the consumers.
Section 24, which we have already referred to earlier, provides for
restriction on advertisement of any food which misleads or contravenes the
provisions of the FSS Act or the rules and regulations made thereunder.
Advertisements for carbonated beverages are being monitored by the
Advertisement Standards Council of India (ASCI), as per the above mentioned
regulations as well as the ASCI Code.
15. We may indicate that most of the situations have already been taken
care of by the above mentioned provisions of the FSS Act as well as the
regulations mentioned hereinbefore, so as to achieve an appropriate level
of protection of human life and health and protection of consumers’
interest, including fair practices in all counts of food trade with
reference to food safety standards and practices.
16. The manufacture and sale of carbonated soft drinks is regulated by
the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (PFA Act), the PFA Rules and
the Fruit Products Order, 1955 issued under the Essential Commodities Act,
1955. Section 3 of the PFA Act provides for constitution of a Committee
called the Central Committee for Food Standards (CCFS) and the same is
already constituted which has very wide powers, to deal with all matTers
relating to food items and to advise the Central Government and the State
Governments on all matters relating to Food and to carry out the other
functions assigned to it under the Act. Section 23(1) of the PFA Act
enjoins a duty upon the Central Government, after consultation with the
CCFS, to make rules which, inter alia, prescribes standards of quality for
340 food items in Appendix B and the labelling requirements for all foods
in Part VII. Under Rule 44 in Part VIII of the PFA Rules, notifications
have been issued from time to time regulating or prohibiting the sale of
various ingredients/foods keeping in view the specific nature of those
ingredients/foods based upon scientific study. CCFS and its sub-committees
on various issues are not only seized of the process of implementing the
standards but are also involved in regularly reviewing the standards and
various additives that are used in the manufacture/processing of any
article of food.
17. The PFA Act, the PFA Rules and the FPO already control and check the
contents, in particular chemical additives in food including soft drinks.
Section 2(v) of the Act defines “food”. This definition also includes in
itself any flavouring matter or condiments. The Central Government has
been given the power to notify any other articles which having regard to
its use, nature, substance or quality to be declared as food for the
purposes of this Act. The Central Government has the power under Section
23 of the Act to take steps under Part VII of the PFA Rules to prohibit and
regulate the sale of certain foods.

18. Adequate provisions have already been made and Rules and Regulations
are in force for prescribing labelling requirements as per Rule 32 to Rule
44 of PFA Rules, 1955. As per Rule 32 of PFA Rules, as amended vide
notification GSR (E) dated 19.9.2008, declaration of all the ingredients of
the food products and in particular soft drinks, is required to be made in
the descending order and Nutritional Information is also required to be
declared.
Adequate provisions are also in place under PFA together with the Rules
and Regulations made in that behalf to deal with misleading advertisements.
Reference may also be made to Rule 43A of PFA Rules, 1955.

19. Article 21 of the Constitution of India guarantees the right to live
with dignity. The right to live with human dignity denies the life breach
from the Directive Principles of the State Policy, particularly clauses (e)
and (f) of Article 39 read with Article 47 of the Constitution of India.
Article 47 reads as follows:
“47. Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the
standard of living and to improve public health.- The State shall
regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living
of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary
duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about
prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of
intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.”

20. Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economics, Social and
Cultural Rights, 1966 reads as follows:
“12.- (1) The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the
right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard
of physical and mental health.
(2) The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present
Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include
those necessary for:
(a) The provision for the reduction of the still birth-rate
and of infant mortality and for the healthy development of
the child;
(b) The improvement of all aspects of environmental and
industrial hygiene;
(c) The prevention, treatment and control of epidemic,
endemic, occupational and other diseases;
(d) The creation of conditions which would assure to a medical
service and medical attention in the event of sickness.”
21. We may emphasize that any food article which is hazardous or
injurious to public health is a potential danger to the fundamental right
to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. A
paramount duty is cast on the States and its authorities to achieve an
appropriate level of protection to human life and health which is a
fundamental right guaranteed to the citizens under Article 21 read with
Article 47 of the Constitution of India.
22. We are, therefore, of the view that the provisions of the FSS Act and
PFA Act and the rules and regulations framed thereunder have to be
interpreted and applied in the light of the Constitutional Principles,
discussed above and endeavour has to be made to achieve an appropriate
level of protection of human life and health. Considerable responsibility
is cast on the Authorities as well as the other officers functioning under
the above mentioned Acts to achieve the desired results. Authorities are
also obliged to maintain a system of control and other activities as
appropriate to the circumstances, including public communication on food
safety and risk, food safety surveillance and other monitoring activities
covering all stages of food business.

23. Enjoyment of life and its attainment, including right to life and
human dignity encompasses, within its ambit availability of articles of
food, without insecticides or pesticides residues, veterinary drugs
residues, antibiotic residues, solvent residues, etc. But the fact
remains, many of the food articles like rice, vegetables, meat, fish, milk,
fruits available in the market contain insecticides or pesticides residues,
beyond the tolerable limits, causing serious health hazards. We notice,
fruit based soft drinks available in various fruit stalls, contain such
pesticides residues in alarming proportion, but no attention is made to
examine its contents. Children and infants are uniquely susceptible to the
effects of pesticides because of their physiological immaturity and greater
exposure to soft drinks, fruit based or otherwise.

24. We, therefore, direct the Food and Safety Standards Authority of
India, to gear up their resources with their counterparts in all the States
and Union Territories and conduct periodical inspections and monitoring of
major fruits and vegetable markets, so as to ascertain whether they conform
to such standards set by the Act and the Rules.

25. Penal provisions are also provided in the Act. It is, therefore, of
utmost importance that the provisions of the Acts are properly and
effectively implemented so that the State can achieve an appropriate level
of human life and health, safeguarding the right to life guaranteed under
Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
26. The Writ Petition is disposed of with the above directions, leaving
its respondents, as already indicated, to strictly follow the provisions of
the FSS Act as well as the Rules and Regulations framed thereunder.
……………………………..
J.
(K. S. Radhakrishnan)

 

 
……………………………..
J.
(Dipak Misra)

New Delhi,
October 22, 2013.

 

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