Restaurants should henceforth display complaint numbers and e-mail addresses of food safety officials facilitating consumers to register their grievances, Madras high court has ruled.
CHENNAI: Restaurants should henceforth display complaint numbers and e-mail addresses of food safety officials facilitating consumers to register their grievances, Madras high court has ruled.
Justice S M Subramaniam, ruling that an adulterated food adversely affects the fundamental right to healthy life, directed the commissioner of food safety to issue appropriate orders and ensure that Whatsapp and telephone numbers, besides e-mail addresses are boldly displayed in all commercial places and restaurants in a visible manner.
“Health being fundamental right of every citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution, the offence of selling adulterated food must be seriously viewed, as it infringes on the fundamental right of the citizens… Food safety department and its duties and responsibilities are constitutionally important, and more specifically with reference to the fundamental rights,” said Justice Subramaniam.
The judge was passing the order while rejecting a plea moved by a grocery shop owner against penal action for selling adulterated masala products. Flagging corruption among field-level officials incharge of monitoring quality of food products, Justice Subramaniam said: “In the event of free hand being given to field-level officers, no doubt, there is a possibility of active or passive collusion with the traders and the commercial establishments, as we commonly know there are largescale corrupt activities amongst the field-level officers. One cannot brush aside that they are always yielding for the freebies provided by the traders and commercial establishments.”
He then said that if failure, lapses, dereliction of duty and negligence are noticed on the part of the officials of the food safety department, prosecutions are to be initiated, including disciplinary proceedings under service rules.
The court further directed the commissioner to create awareness through visual and print media, so as to solicit the public attention and explain the ill-consequences in the event of consuming the adulterated food products. The rights of the consumers to register complaints are also to be published, the judge said.