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Right to life also includes right to pure food, beverages: SC

The right to life and human dignity also encompasses the right to have food articles and beverages which are free from harmful residues such as pesticides and insecticides, the Supreme Court has said.



New Delhi: The right to life and human dignity also encompasses the right to have food articles and beverages which are free from harmful residues such as pesticides and insecticides, the Supreme Court has said.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and A K Sikri also asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to "gear up their resources with their counterparts in all the states and union territories and conduct periodical inspection and monitoring of major fruits and vegetable markets."

"Enjoyment of life and its attainment, including right to life and human dignity encompasses within its ambit availability of articles of food, without insecticides or pesticides residues, veterinary drugs residues, antibiotic residues, solvent residues, etc," the bench, in its 26-page judgement, said.

"We may emphasise that any food article which is hazardous or injurious to public health is a potential danger to the fundamental right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. A paramount duty is cast on the States and its authorities to achieve an appropriate level of protection to human life and health...," it said.

The bench disposed of the PIL seeking to set up an independent technical panel to evaluate the harmful effects of soft drinks on human health, particularly on children, saying the Food Supply and Standards (FSS) Act, the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act along with their rules and regulations were sufficient to deal with the grievances.
"In our view, by and large, the various grievances raised by the petitioner are seen covered by the above-mentioned legislations but the question is only with regard to their enforcement by the authorities functioning under these legislations," it said.
The court, in its verdict, also referred to various regulatory provisions of the FSS and PFA Acts and said they be "interpreted and applied in the light of the Constitutional Principles" to achieve an appropriate level of protection of human life and health.

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