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Supreme Court Seeks Response On Pleas Challenging Uttar Pradesh's Halal Certification Ban

The office of the Commissioner, Food Safety and Drug Administration, Uttar Pradesh, under Section 30 (2) (a) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 issued a notification on November 18, 2023.

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The Supreme Court on Friday sought responses from the Uttar Pradesh government and others on two separate pleas challenging the notification prohibiting the manufacturing, storage, sale and distribution of food products with halal certification within the state, except for items produced for export.

The November 18 last year notification was issued by the office of Commissioner, Food Safety and Drug Administration, Uttar Pradesh, under Section 30 (2) (a) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

The petitions came up for hearing before a bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta which issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, Centre and others seeking their responses on the pleas.

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Initially, the bench questioned the advocates representing the petitioners as to why the apex court should entertain the pleas under Article 32 of the Constitution and why they should not approach the high court first.

The lawyer representing one of the petitioners said the issue involved pan-India ramifications and also has an impact on trade and commerce.

"Even high court's order would be having a pan-India effect. If suppose a particular instrument is stayed by the high court, the stay will be applicable throughout the country," the bench observed.

The top court said the issue of inter-state trade and commerce can also be considered by the high court.

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The lawyer argued the issue was required to be examined by the apex court and it has to be considered whether such a notification can be issued.

He said the issue of public health was also there along with the impact on trade, commerce as well as religious feelings.

The counsel said an FIR was lodged in Uttar Pradesh on November 17 last year against them and other entities alleging they were issuing forged halal certificates for financial gains.

The bench, while issuing notice on the pleas, posted it for hearing after two weeks.

It, however, refused the request of one of the counsel that no coercive steps be taken against the petitioners.

The bench said it would consider this afterwards.

One of the petitions has been filed by Halal India Private Limited and others, while the other plea is by Jamiat Ulama-E- Maharashtra and others.

The plea filed by Jamiat Ulama-E- Maharashtra and others has also arrayed the Centre as one of the party respondents.

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