SC refuses to lift stay order on legal regime for food products

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FSSAI

The Supreme Court has refused to lift a stay order imposed by the Bombay High Court on the Centre’s proposed new legal regime for food products under which Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had been tasked with providing new approvals for food products already in the market by different manufacturers.

A two judge bench of the Apex Court, comprising of Justices J S Khehar and C Nagappan was examining a plea filed by FSSAI in which the food authority had asked to modify the stay order passed by the Bombay High Court. Appearing on behalf of the FSSAI, senior advocate Paras Kuhad had earlier argued that the food authority had been handicapped from examining any food product by the said stay order, stating that the order was affecting the entire industry and that the entire food safety mechanism had been rendered ineffective.

Kuhad also added that the deadline for final product approval and licensing had been extended to August 31 by the by the FSSAI and that manufacturers could take the offered time period to get their products approved without waiting for the final verdict of the petition.

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The Supreme Court in its ruling however had also pointed out that the Bombay High Court stay order was only interim solution and the legality of the advisory was still to be decided upon, calling on the government to wait for the final verdict of the Court.

Earlier the Bombay High Court, after a split ruling by a preceding bench of the Court had been undecided of the legality and validity of the government advisory and had then passed a stay order on it to allow the Court more time to further examine the matter. The High Court had been deliberating on petitions filed by the Vital Nutraceuticals and Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association seeking the withdrawal of the said advisory.