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Apply FSSAI circular on duty-free shops: HC

1,September, 2016
 

A bench led by justice SC Dharmadhikari held that the duty free shops constitute a retail channel “different” from the domestic market, and the goods sold at duty-free shops could not be considered as imports.

The Bombay high court on Wednesday directed the Centre and the state government to ensure the implementation of the recent FSSAI circular that exempts duty-free shops from its food import quality control checks.

This was after the court observed that food, beverages, liquor etc. sold at duty-free shops at airports across the country are beyond the purview of domestic food safety regulations and thus, are not required to meet the guidelines of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

A bench led by justice SC Dharmadhikari held that the duty free shops constitute a retail channel “different” from the domestic market, and the goods sold at duty-free shops could not be considered as imports.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by DFS against the customs department’s decision to confiscate their goods on the ground that they had not been verified by FSSAI.

Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas argued that the DFS goods cannot be governed by domestic food regulations since the products sold there are “not technically on Indian soil.”

Meanwhile, appearing for FSSAI, advocate Rui Roderigues, told the high court that till the time the new import regulations are notified, it had no objection to keeping duty-free shops outside the ambit of Food Safety Standards Act 2006.

country are beyond the purview of domestic food safety regulations and thus, do not need to secure checks of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the union and the state government to ensure the implementation of the recent FSSAI circular that exempts duty free shops from its food import quality control checks.

A bench led by justice SC Dharmadhikari held that the duty free shops constitute a retail channel “different” from the domestic market, and the goods sold at DFS could not be considered as imports.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by DFS against the customs department’s decision to confiscate their goods on the ground that they had not been verified by FSSAI.

Incidentally, following several representations by DFS, FSSAI had issued a notification in May this year, announcing that the duty free retail outlets at airports would be exempted from its food import regulations.

However, the petitioners told the court on Wednesday that despite the above notifications, the customs department was hesitant to clear their consignments.

Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas argued that the DFS goods cannot be governed by domestic food regulations since the products sold there are “not technically on Indian soil.”

He said that “DFS were not importing these goods into the country through customs but were selling them at the airports only for personal consumption and thus, they had “no liability to get each batch of their products tested by FSSAI.”

“These products are meant only for international passengers either entering or leaving India. These same passengers can take a flight that is not even three hours long, and land at Dubai or any other country where the FSSAI does not get an inspection done, and purchase these same products. As long as they are following the customs regulations in terms of stipulated quantity and items on the list, there should not be a problem,” he said.

Meanwhile, appearing for FSSAI, advocate Rui Roderigues, told HC that till the time the new import regulations are notified, it had no objection to keeping DFS outside the ambit of food safety standards Act 2006.

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