The Delhi High Court today refused to entertain a petition alleging a “dead rat or piece of chicken” was found in a buttermilk tetra pack sold by a dairy company, and said the appropriate forum to raise the grievance was a consumer court.
Justice Rekha Palli nonetheless directed the food safety department to respond to the complaint made by the petitioner-consumer in a time-bound manner.
There was nothing prima facie to show deficiency in services, the Judge said, adding that she was not inclined to adjudicate upon a disputed fact in a writ petition.
“Go to consumer court for compensation. There is a specialised court for this. You are not able to show me anything prima facie. I can’t decide anything disputed,” the court said.
“In my view, there is nothing prima facie to show that the product was in fact defective. This aspect cannot be decided in a writ petition which is rejected,” Justice Palli ordered.
“Dismissal of this petition will not bar the petition from approaching the consumer court,” the court clarified.
Counsel for the petitioner, lawyer Shadab Khan, contended that the case concerned the violation of his client’s fundamental rights, particularly Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The counsel claimed that ever since the petitioner, a vegetarian, consumed the buttermilk last year, she has been suffering from several physical and mental ailments.
“The petitioner is facing physical (stomach disease/ complication dyspepsia/ acid reflux daily) and metal affect (depression) continuously,” the petition reads.
The court was informed that complaints were made to the dairy company, Food Safety & Standard Authority Of lndia (FSSAI) and Food Safety and Drug Administration, Government of Uttar Pradesh where the petitioner resided.
The lawyer alleged “gross inaction” by the FSSAI and other authorities, saying that they are was duty-bound to collect sample of the product and take immediate action.
In the petition, the petitioner also claimed Rs 20 lakh as compensation from the dairy company and FSSAI.
Counsel for FSSAI said that the consumer court was the appropriate forum for the present case.
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