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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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  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.


                                         ...................................
                                         J.
                                         (K. S. Radhakrishnan)






                                         ...................................
                                         J.
                                          (Dipak Misra)

New Delhi,
October 22, 2013.

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