The Supreme Court on Friday sought responses from the Uttar Pradesh government and others on two separate pleas challenging a notification that prohibits the manufacturing, storage, sale, and distribution of food products with halal certification within the state.
This prohibition is applicable, with an exception for items produced for export.
The notification, dated November 18 of the previous year, was issued by the office of the Commissioner of Food Safety and Drug Administration, Uttar Pradesh, under Section 30 (2) (a) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
A bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta heard the petitions, issuing notices to the Uttar Pradesh government, the Centre, and other concerned parties, seeking their responses.
Initially, the bench questioned the advocates representing the petitioners about why the Supreme Court should entertain the pleas under Article 32 of the Constitution and suggested they approach the high court first. In response, the petitioner’s lawyer argued that the issue had nationwide implications and also affected trade and commerce on a broader scale.
The bench acknowledged that even a high court’s order would have a pan-India effect, but suggested that the issue of inter-state trade and commerce could also be considered by the high court. The lawyer emphasized that the apex court needed to examine the issue and determine the validity of such a notification, considering aspects such as public health, impact on trade and commerce, and religious sentiments.
The counsel highlighted that an FIR had been lodged in Uttar Pradesh on November 17 of the previous year against the petitioners and other entities, alleging the issuance of forged halal certificates for financial gain.
While issuing notices on the pleas, the bench scheduled the hearing for two weeks later. However, it rejected the request from one of the counsel to refrain from taking coercive measures against the petitioners, stating that this consideration would be addressed later.
One of the petitions was filed by Halal India Private Limited and others, while the other plea was submitted by Jamiat Ulama-E- Maharashtra and others. The plea by Jamiat Ulama-E- Maharashtra also included the Centre as one of the party respondents.