The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that there must be a complete disclosure on whether ingredients in a food item are vegetarian or not as the matter pertains to the fundamental rights of citizens, PTI reported.
The court held that food consumed by a person falls under the ambit of Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) and Article 25 (freedom to conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion) of the Constitution.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and D K Sharma passed the order based on a plea filed by Ram Gau Raksha Dal, a trust working for welfare of cows. The plea argued that citizens have the right to know the ingredients of a food item.
In December, the court had ruled that everyone has a right to know what they were eating and had made it mandatory for all food business operators to make a “full and complete disclosure” of all ingredients in a food product, according to The Indian Express.
The court had also said that using non-vegetarian ingredients and labelling them as vegetarian would offend religious sentiment of citizens and interfere with their right to freely profess their religions, PTI reported.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Advocate Rajat Aneja, appearing on behalf of the trust, said that the order passed in December had scope for ambiguity. He argued that the order had not clearly made it mandatory for food business operators to make a disclosure if even a small amount of ingredient would make it non-vegetarian.
The court then said that under the “garb of exemption”, food business operators cannot hide any ingredient. The judges directed the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, or FSSAI, to issue a fresh communication to authorities regarding the same and publicise it through national dailies, The Indian Express reported.