The High Court of Bombay at Goa has directed the South Goa Planning and Development Authority (SGPDA) to file an affidavit in relation to the steps taken to improve the wholesale fish market at Margao, South Goa, in a case related to the issue of presence of formalin in fish.
The High Court’s division bench comprising Justice M S Sonak and Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu observed, “The details of the steps taken till now to be placed on record latest by March 13, 2020. Since we are informed that the SGPDA is specially meeting to consider the issues in relation to the wholesale market, they are also directed to take into consideration all the issues raised by the petitioner on Thursday.”
The counsel for the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) D Lawande stated that the progress report as directed has been filed on February 15, 2020, after delay of one day.
The Court said, “The delay is condoned and the report is taken on record. Copies of the report to be furnished to the counsels for the petitioners as well as the other concerned respondents.”
The Court also observed that the assistant director of FSSAI has filed an affidavit enclosing the progress report in pursuance of our earlier directions. The affidavit/progress report is taken on record. The FSSAI to file further progress report by June 10, 2020. This is necessary because in terms of the earlier timelines the entire work is to be completed by FSSAI by first week of August, 2020.
The FSSAI had stated before the Court that “research on the naturally occurring formalin in fish is taking time due to the large categories of fish involved.” The FSSAI had stated that the research work will be complete by June 2020. The Court was also told that report will be prepared by July 2020 and notified in August 2020.
It may be noted that by the order dated October 29, 2018, the Court had directed the FSSAI to specify the standards in relation to the sale of fish in the State of Goa in the context of the issue of presence of formalin therein. Since the Court was informed that this exercise would involve consultations with experts, the Court had deliberately granted sufficient time to FSSAI for this purpose.
The report was expected within six months or thereabout from the making of the Court order.