Himachal Pradesh High Court: Deciding on a matter of grave concern wherein the Court took notice of a news item which highlighted the illegal use of lethal vaccine ‘Oxytocin’ in fruits, vegetables and on milching animals, the Court issued directions to both Central and State Government authorities to regulate the manufacture, import and distribution of drugs, especially Oxytocin. The learned amicus curiae, Satyen Vaidya had pointed out that the misuse of drug Oxytocin is rampant and wide spread and is being indiscriminately used in most parts of the country on milching animals, vegetables, fruits and non-vegetarian consumable items by unscrupulous people with the motive to earn more profits at the cost of serious consequences on the animals as well as human health. The Court noted that inspite of various provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and other statutes in place, grave misuse of Oxytocin by farmers and dairy owners persists in a secretive manner.
Some of the important directions issued were:
- The respondents shall bring about an efficient Drug Regulatory System both at the Centre and the State for better co-ordination and handling of the entire problem so as to regulate the manufacture, import and distribution, especially, those drugs like Oxytocin.
- The State Government shall make available adequate testing facilities of Oxytocin at its Kandaghat Laboratory within a period of three months.
- Establishment of an Academy for training all drug regulatory officers both from Enforcement and Laboratory set up by the Union of India.
- The wholesalers and retailers of all prohibited scheduled drugs shall maintain records as required under the law and the same shall be produced for inspection after every quarter before the Officer specially appointed for this purpose by the Drug Controller.
- The competent authorities under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 are directed to ensure random sampling of milk and vegetables and carryout prosecutions where such products tests positive for Oxytocin.
- The police authorities are directed to book all the offenders under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 who are found using Oxytocin, more particularly in milching animals. [Court on its own motion v. State of H.P., 2016 SCC OnLine HP 237, decided on 15.3.2016]
To read the Judgment, click HERE