In 10 days, schools to get guidelines on junk food

High Court gives Centre deadline to get draft ready

Centre was on Wednesday given a 10-day deadline by the Delhi High Court to come out with detailed guidelines for regulating sale of junk food and aerated drinks in and around school premises in the country.

“No further extension will be given,” a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed firmly told the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

Terming the non-filing of draft guidelines by the Centre as “unfortunate”, the court asked the FSSAI to submit it within 10 days.

Earlier, additional solicitor general Rajeeve Mehra had assured the court that the draft guidelines would be filed by July this year.

“Earlier, this court had recorded that draft guidelines would be filed on July 24. Unfortunately, the draft guidelines are not ready. Now, the counsel for the Centre states that the draft guidelines would be ready within 10 days. Let it be filed within 10 days,” the bench, also comprising Justice Vibhu Bakhru, said during the hearing and fixed the case for September 4.

“It is expected that parties shall adhere to this time line and no extension would be given by this court,” it said, adding Eathe Centre would share the report with other stakeholders who will also give their suggestions or comments on the issue.

Earlier, the Centre had said that private firm AC Nielsen QRG-MARG Pvt Ltd was in the process of framing norms to regulate availability of junk foods and carbonated drinks within 500 yards of schools.

It had also said that after the draft guidelines were prepared, the food processing companies would be consulted for their opinions and then the final guidelines will be made.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Rakesh Prabhakar, a lawyer for NGO ‘Uday Foundation’, seeking a direction banning sale of junk food and aerated drinks in and around schools.

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