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M/s. Amrut Distilleries Limited Versus Authorized Officer, Chennai Seaport & Airport And Deputy Commissioner of Customs (Docks-Seaport)

2015 (3) TMI 1178 - MADRAS HIGH COURT

Import of Active Dry Yeast - does not meet the labelling requirement under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 hence, samples could not be drawn - both 'Expiry Date' and 'Best Before Date' are mentioned as one and the same in wholesale package which should be different and clearly specified as per the guidelines issued by the FSSAI - Petitioner contended that as per Regulations, 2011 it is sufficient that the date of manufacture and the best before date is given and that the said regulation was .....

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the said contention is misconceived and untenable since merely because there is no specific provision or regulation prescribing requirement of mentioning both dates differently, the petitioner cannot be permitted to take advantage of it for the purpose of mentioning the dates as per his whims and fancies in order to get the maximum marketable period, i.e. till the date of expiry by mentioning that the product will be best till its expiry. - It is settled law that while interpreting a statut .....

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ther [2013 (10) TMI 1409 - SUPREME COURT]. Purpose of labelling is not to be ascertained by any one for diluting the rigorous of the regulations and importing the concept of substantial compliance therewith. It is not that validity of any provision is in issue. Strict compliance principle seems to be the requirements of the regulations dictated by public interest that must prevail over any private interest of an importer. So, the Authorized Officer was fully justified in not taking samples of th .....

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19-3-2015 - MR. S.VAIDYANATHAN, J For the Petitioner : Mr.Hari Radhakrishnan For the Respondents : Mr. K. Surendranath And Mr.A.P.Srinivas for R2 ORDER Aggrieved by the order, dated 15.10.2014 passed by the first respondent, the petitioner has come forward with the present writ petition. 2. It seems that the petitoner had imported Active Dry Yeast vide Bill of Entry No.6898217, dated 26.9.2014, which was referred to the first respondent by the Customs Department for compliance under the Act. By .....

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given, then two should be different and clearly specified, however, as regards the above said food item of the petitioner, both 'Expiry Date'and 'Best Before Date' are mentioned as one and the same, i.e. 2016/04/30. 3. According to the petitioner, a representation was made on 3.11.2014 to the first respondent, stating that as per Regulation 2.2.9 of the Food Safety and Standards (Pkackaging and Labeling) Regulations, 2011 (in short, the Regulations, 2011), it is sufficient that .....

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fferent and clearly specified and not one and the same. On verfication of the consignment of the petitioner, it was found that both the dates mentioned on the lables of the product, are one and the same same, i.e. 30.04.2016 and therefore, it is in violation of the above said regulation. Hence the impugned order has been passed. In fact, on earlier occasion, though the petitioner had committed similar violation, in the interest of business and facilitation of trade, the petitoner was given one t .....

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would contend that the requirement as per the Rulation 2.2.9 of the Regulations, 2011 is only to give date of manufacture and the best before date, which admittedly, the petitioner has complied with. He also contended that there is no requirement to declare 'use by date' or 'expiry date', mentioning the same date for 'expiry date' and 'best before' cannot be said to be objectionable one and is in violation of the regulation. He has also contended that the guideli .....

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f stored in appropriate conditions and on the other hand, 'expiry date' is the date on which the product shall completely cease to have the specific qualities associated with it and shall not remain marketable. He pointed out that a product may be best before a specific date, but shall expire only on another specified date. In view of this distinction, the FSSAI has issued guidelines dated 24.1.2013, specifically directing that in case of wholesale packages which contain both 'best b .....

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describe what is 'best before' and 'expiry'. 8. In Regulations, 2011, Regulation 1.2 denotes 'definitions', wherein, clause (1) defined 'best before' which reads under: Best before means the date which signifies the end of the period under any stated storage conditions during which the food shall remain fully marketable and shall retain any specific qualities for which tacit or express claims have been made and beyond that date, the food may still be perfectly sa .....

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ety attributes normally expected by the consumers and the food shall not be sold." 9. A plain reading of the above, it is understood that there is a distinction between "best before" and "expiry". The meaning attached to phraseology- "best before" is that the period during which the product shall remain fully marketable and shall retain in specific qualities for which tacit or express claims have been made. It is further clarified that beyond the prescribed dat .....

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y not be best as what it would have been if used within specified time limit, since after it passes the date of 'best before' every day counts and the shelf life of the product will gradually decrease in all respects, such as, quality, taste, potency and it may lose its nutritional value, freshness, flavour, etc. There is no confusion as regards 'expiry date', which is a clear cut and once it passes, the product will lost its value in all respects and cannot be consumed and it is .....

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s to be noted that even after best before date, it is marketable till expiry date. While so, if both dates, viz., best before and expriy are given one and the same, i.e. 15.4.2014, the manufacturer can sell the product till 15.4.2014 by projecting the impression in the minds of the consumers that the product will be best till its expiry date. This is quite illogical since any packaged product will always diminish its quality in all respects day by day from the date of its manufacture and cannot .....

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ll manufacture, distribute, sell or expose for sale or despatch or deliver to any agent or broker for the purpose of sale, any packaged food products which are not marked and labelled in the manner as may be specified by regulations: Provided that the labels shall not contain any statement, claim, design or device which is false or misleading in any particular concerning the food products contained in the package or concerning the quantity or the nutritive value implying medicinal or therapeutic .....

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not sell or distribute any packaged food products which were not marked and labelled in the manner as specified by regulations and the lables shall not contain any statement, claim, design, device, etc., which is false or misleading in any particular concerning the food product contained in package or concerning the quantity or nutritive value. Therefore, the lable should contain with specific information by which, the consumer should not be mislead. As already stated above, if both the dates, v .....

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16, which cannot be acceptable one. It is the specific contention of the petitioner that there is no regulation mandates that the 'best before date' and 'expiry date' should be different and hence, there shall not be any objection in declaring the expiry date same as that of 'best before date'. In the absence of any specific provision in the Act or Regulations, prohibiting the mentioning of 'best before date' and 'expiry date' as one and same, the first re .....

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ompliance principle is the requirement of the regulations dictated by public interest that would always prevail over any private interest of an importer. In support of his contentions, the learned counsel for the first respondent relied upon decisions reported in "Badsha versus Urmila Badshah Godse and another" reported in (2014) 1 SCC 188; "Ram Chander versus Nagar Nigam and others" reported in (2014) 1 SCC 199 and "Jai Prakash Singh veresus State of Bihar and another&q .....

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egulated benevolence. 14. In fact, in the guidelines, dated 24.1.2013 as well as in the Regulations, 2011, as contended by the learned counsel for the petitioner, there is no requirement to mention both 'best before date' and 'expiry date'. it is not in dispute that wholesale package can have either 'best before date' or 'expiry date'. But in case if the manufacturer intend to give both dates, then two dates should be different and clearly specified. Therefore, th .....

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efore date' and 'expiry date' should be different and hence, there shall not be any objection in declaring the expiry date same as that of 'best before date', is concerned, I am of the view that the said contention is misconceived and untenable since merely because there is no specific provision or regulation prescribing requirement of mentioning both dates differently, the petitioner cannot be permitted to take advantage of it for the purpose of mentioning the dates as per h .....

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ch, on its result, would have a considerable negative impact on others. In this regard, it is worthwhile to refer a decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court reported in "Badsha versus Urmila Badshah Godse and another" (cited supra), wherein, it was held as under in para 16: "16. The law regulates relationships between people. It prescribes patterns of behaviour. It reflects the values of society. The role of the court is to understand the purpose of law in society and to help the .....

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law. It can be said that the history of law is the history of adapting the law to societys changing needs. In both constitutional and statutory interpretation, the court is supposed to exercise discretion in determining the proper relationship between the subjective and objective purposes of the law." 15. Purpose of labelling is not to be ascertained by any one for diluting the rigorous of the regulations and importing the concept of substantial compliance therewith. It is not that validi .....

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the Regulations, 2011 for the petitioner either to mention best before date or expiry date, however, when he prefers to mention both, he has to fulfill the requirement that both dates should be different and mentioned specifically. 17. For the foregoing reasons, the Writ Petition is liable to be dismissed with costs. Here it is appropriate to mention about the attitude of the petitioner. On earlier occasion, in the year 2013, the petitioner imported a consignment vide Bill of Entry No.3554443, d .....

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