As updated on August 20, 2015
The Honorable Supreme Court of India on Wednesday (August 19, 2015) has indicated that the FSSAI did not have the power to issue advisory on Food Product Approval. The Apex Court of India was hearing the case where Vital Nutraceuticals & Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association had challenged the FSSAI advisory on the grounds that the food regulator did not have the power to issue advisories for products which already had licenses and which are being sold in the open market, and which was not in consonance with the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act, 2006).
Here below the previous & earlier version of the news as published on August 19, 2014
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to lift the stay order that had been issued by the Bombay High Court earlier. The Bombay High Court had quashed an advisory issued by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India and had called it unlawful and without statutory force.
A Supreme Court bench, comprising Justice JS Khehar and Justice C Nagappan, dismissed the plea of the FSSAI which wanted the Apex Court to modify the restraint order on the stay issued by the Bombay High Court. Justice RS More of the Bombay High Court had opined that FSSAI does not have the power or authority to issue an advisory on product approval for products already in the market, as it amounted to amending regulations framed under section 92 of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.
Senior advocate, Paras Kuhad, pleading before the Supreme Court for FSSAI said that the Food Body was not being able to examine and verify any product as a result of the Bombay High Court stay order. This has brought to a halt the product approval process across the entire food industry.
Advocate Kuhad in his arguments, pleaded before the Supreme Court that ordering removal of the Bombay High Court stay would enable manufacturers to get product approval as FSSAI has extended the date for this to 31 August, 2014. Manufacturers would not have to wait for the final verdict of the Bombay High Court for their product approvals.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court has asked the government body to wait for the final verdict of the Bombay High Court. The Supreme Court Justices pointed out that the legal status of the advisory has still to be decided while the stay order is only seen an interim judgment. Petitions have been filed earlier in the Bombay High Court by Vital Nutraceuticals and Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association against the FSSAI advisory.
This issue has gained importance in the wake of the fact that bodies like the Indian Drug Manufacturers Association and All India Food Processors’ Association are seriously contemplating approaching the Supreme Court on product approvals issue.