Food processing industry is also a party in the petition
The Delhi High Court on November 2 gave the Central government a week's extension to compile and circulate its action taken report with regard to sale of junk food in schools. The court was hearing a petition by NGO Uday Foundation, seeking a ban on the sale of junk food and carbonated drinks within a 1,500 feet (457 metre) radius of schools. The Centre, which is a respondent in the case, had during the last hearing agreed in-principle that junk food is bad for health and said it is taking steps to keep junk food out of schools.
The bench, comprising justice AK Sikri and Siddharth Mridul, had asked the Central government on October 5, to submit an action take report. It had also asked the Centre about the steps taken to create awareness among the young generation about the "harmful effects of increased consumption of junk food".
When asked about the report, the Centre pleaded for more time, saying it had received the action taken reports from different departments quite late and was unable to compile it. The court has granted the government a week's time to circulate the action taken report among all the parties.
The All India Food Processor's Association (AIFPA), a nodal agency of the food processing industry in India, has, meanwhile, become a party to the case, along with the Central government and Delhi government. The association was represented by senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi. The association represents those involved in the processing of fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, milk and milk products and makers of biscuits and confectionary products. AIFPA wants it point of view to be considered by the court since it does not want to be inadvertently dragged into the ban. This is because the petitioners in the case have failed to specify what kind of food items should be included in junk food or fast food. The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act does not define any food as junk food or fast food.
The next hearing has been scheduled for December 21.