The Madras High Court had recently observed that the
Designated Officers under the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA),
2006 cannot seal a business premises without issuing a show cause notice
and conducting an enquiry into the alleged violation of the legal
M. Venugopal made this observation issued an interim direction to
the Designated Officer in Virudhunagar district to unseal a private
firm involved in the trade of coriander powder. The building
was sealed recently on a charge of violating food safety rules.
with the petitioner’s counsel that sealing the premises all
of a sudden would deprive the owner as well as the workers of their
livelihood, the Judge said it was essential to follow the principles of
natural justice in every matter that might lead to civil consequences.
“The aggrieved party should have been given prior notice, fair opportunity
of hearing and also if need be a personal hearing… If any of them is
found to be absent or wanting, then it is a clear case of arbitrariness,
capriciousness and negation of principles of natural justice,” he
Food Safety Officers must be more careful in such circumstances. This observation is a guideline for our future activities.