The Karnataka High Court has upheld the verdict that packaged drinking water comes within the purview of Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006.
Further, the court has said that certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is mandatory for packaged drinking water.
It also directed the state government to take action to prohibit and prevent the manufacture and sale of packaged drinking water without BIS certification.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice Aravind Kumar passed the order while disposing of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition by Lochamesh B Hugar of Hubli complaining inaction by the authorities against manufacturers of packaged drinking water operating without BIS certification, and a batch of petitions filed by the manufacturers claiming that certification from BIS was not necessary.
The Bench also directed the authorities to take action against the manufacturers if they found them operating without certification from BIS.
There are 564 packaged drinking water manufacturing units without BIS certification as against 224 with BIS certification in Karnataka. Now the court has given an opportunity for those operating without BIS certification to apply for certification. In this regard, the Bench stated that all manufacturers would need to submit applications for BIS certification in the prescribed format within 15 days. It directed the authorities concerned, including the BIS, to process the application within three months and notify the deficiencies, if any, in these units.The Bench said that the entire exercise would have to be completed within four months.
For now, the court has given permission to the authorities to initiate action against those manufacturers who fail to adhere to the directions and comply with conditions for manufacturing packaged drinking water.