The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has held that the July 2018 order of the commissioner under Food Safety and Standards which barred transportation of banned products like gutkha through the state of Maharashtra is valid even though the contraband is being transported between states where it is not banned. The court observed that as the 2018 notification had categorically banned manufacture, sale, distribution and transportation of such food products in state the company could not claim any reliefs
A division bench of justices TV Nalawade and SD Kulkarni while hearing the petition filed by Dharampal Premchand Ltd, an Uttar Pradesh based chewing tobacco manufacturing company, was informed by advocate NS Tekale that they were challenging the July 2018 order on the ground that it was illegal and void, as the commissioner had no power to impose a ban on transportation.
According to the petition, in December, 2018, a consignment of chewing products was being transported from Noida, Uttar Pradesh to the purchaser from Bidar, Karnataka in a truck. The truck was intercepted in Degloor Tehsil in Maharashtra by a Food Safety officer who checked the contents and upon finding that it contained banned food articles in violation of July 2018 prohibitory order made a complaint to the police. Both the truck and its contents were seized.
Government lawyer S G Sangle opposed the petition submitted that the inspection of samples showed that they contained nicotine and therefore the action under the prohibitory order was justified.
After hearing submissions, the bench referred to previous judgements and said that as per the provision of the Act, ‘food business’ contains transportation and relief in respect of seized Gutkha can be refused. The court further expressed that given decisions already rendered, it was not possible to give a different decision.
When the company’s lawyer sought time to enable a Delhi lawyer to argue the matter the court observed, “Such approach and tactics cannot be tolerated and so this Court decided tthe matter based on aforesaid circumstances. In the result, the petition stands dismissed.”