RO Water Manufacturers knock HC’s door

Nagpur: The RO Chilled Water Manufacturers Association knocked judiciary’s doors challenging Foods and Drugs Administration’s (FDA) action of prohibiting them from selling their products without Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification.
A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Rohit Deo, on Friday, issued notices to the respondents, including Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), asking them to reply before August 1. FDA’s Mumbai office along with its designated officers and assistant commissioners (Food) in Nagpur, Akola and Bhandara, and BIS are other respondents in the case.
About 16 petitioners from these three cities moved to Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court through counsel Harnish Gadhia after FDA teams raided their premises in last couple of weeks. Immediately after that, the respondents under FSS Act, 2006, issued orders prohibiting the sale of chilled water, being sold openly by them. TOI, in a series of reports, had exposed on how chilled water sellers allegedly sell products in most unhygienic conditions.
The petitioners earlier made various representations to respondents and also raised the issue at various other forums, but nothing moved in their favour.
According to Gadhia, the centre made some amendments in ‘Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011’ on November 16 last year and published a notification in the Official Gazette of India on March 1.
In a reply to RTI query, the city-based FDA office informed that it’s necessary to obtain the licenses under the Act only for sale of packaged drinking water . The BIS informed that its licenses are granted against an Indian Standard, but since it wasn’t formulated for drinking water supplied in jars, those can’t be granted.
The petitioners prayed for quashing or staying various prohibition orders issued by FDA officers in three cities. They also insist on asking respondents not force them to obtain a license from BIS to sell the water.
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