Aqib Ali

Srinagar, Dec 2: The J&K High Court has warned officers of Health and Medical Education and Finance Department of contempt proceedings in case they failed to ensure appointment of Commissioner of Food Safety along with all the supportive staff in two weeks.

A division bench of Justices Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Ali Mohammad Magrey passed the orders after hearing amicus curie B A Bashir.

He said that as per 5 October this year, the court noted the “casual approach” adopted by the Finance Department as it had cleared the proposal for the creation of the post of Commissioner of Food Safety and not the supportive staff. He said the Finance Department was directed to clear the proposal within a week but compliance to the directions has not been filed.

Advocate M. I. Dar, Additional Advocate General, sought more time to file the compliance. On asking of the court, the AGG had no convincing cause to justify the extension of time for filing the compliance report. The court said the Government has failed to comply with the directions even on expiry of two months.

“No plausible cause is shown to extend the time, leaving no option for the Court, but to proceed against the erring officers by initiating contempt proceedings against them,” the court said.

However, on assurance of the State counsel that the directions of the Court, without further loss of time, shall be complied with in letter and spirit, the court thought “just and proper” to defer the initiating of contempt proceedings against the erring officers.

“Two weeks’ further time is granted to the Commissioner Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education Department and Commissioner Secretary to Government, Finance Department to submit the compliance,” the court according to news agency GNS said, adding, “It shall be ensured that the post of Commissioner of Food Safety alongwith all the supportive staff is appointed and made available so as to ensure functioning of the  Commissioner of Food Safety office.”

The court also sought status report with regard to its directions with regard to checking the labels of the packaged food products and to verify as to whether the labels are in accordance with the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.

“The next status report shall clearly indicate as to what action has been taken against the offenders with further status of the progress shown in the subsequent drive.”