The Supreme Court Wednesday issued notice to the central and five state governments on a public suit seeking a complete curb on the sale and supply of synthetic and adulterated milk and its products like ghee, khoya and paneer.
An apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Swatanter Kumar issued the notice on a petition by Swami Achyutanand Tirth seeking a direction to the central and state governments to ensure the supply of healthy, hygienic and natural milk and milk products.
Besides the central government, the notice has also been issued to the Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Rajasthan governments.
Swami Achyutanand Tirth who is the head of the Haridwar-based 'Bhuma Niketan Ashram' in Uttarakhand has contended that "apathy and inaction" of the central and state governments in taking "effective and necessary" measures in curbing the sale of synthetic (chemically prepared) and adulterated milk was violative of the fundamental Right to Life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian constitution.
The petition said that synthetic milk was being prepared using materials like "urea, detergent, refined oil, caustic soda etc." which are poisonous and cause serious diseases like cancer.
The petition said that synthetic milk is also known as "white poison".
The petitioner has sought the framing of a comprehensive policy with regard to the production and sale of healthy, hygienic and natural milk to the people.
Citing various instances of synthetic milk causing havoc in the five states, the petition said that inaction on the part of the central and state governments have contributed to the rapid growth of chemically-made milk which is now commonly sold in the market.
The petition referred to the survey by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) which had taken random samples from different cities in 33 states. The FSSAI report released Jan 2, 2011, said that out of a total 1,791 samples, 1,226 were found to be unfit for human consumption.
The petition said that this means that at the national level, 68.4 percent of milk samples were found to be adulterated.
Describing the situation as "alarming" and requiring "immediate and concrete action", the petition sought direction to the central and the state governments to stop the supply and sale of poisonous synthetic milk and its products.