The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre to respond to a petition seeking hygienic and quality food at railway kitchens, eateries and trains. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gital Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra issued a notice to the Railway Ministry, asking it to ensure that Food Safety and Standards Act regulations were met.
It said the quality of food served on trains and at railway platforms had to be monitored. The court was hearing a PIL filed by Sardar Jagjit Singh, a retired food inspector with the Railways, who said urgent measures were required to guarantee safe food in restaurants, food plazas, staff canteens and other cooking units run by the railways.
The petitioner’s counsel K C Mittal, while submitting that 23 million people travelled by train in the country every day, focused on the sale and supply of adulterated food in the Indian Railways. The lawyer had earlier submitted to the court a CD containing a news report from a television channel on the subject.
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“The worst is the insensitivity and the failure on the part of the respondents to take adequate steps to ensure sale and supply of unadulterated, wholesome and hygienic food to 23 million passengers who travel everyday by train (24X7) in different parts of the country,” it said.
The petition said food quality should be monitored on passenger and goods trains, pantry cars, other food outlets in railway areas operated by private contractors, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) and food plazas, including unauthorised vendors and canteens run by the railways.
The bench has now fixed May 16 for a hearing on the matter.