Published on: October 1, 2022 at 20:02 IST
In Chennai Hotels Association vs. State of Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court on Friday prohibited food safety authorities in the State from bringing along television crews or other media personnel during inspections of hotels, restaurants, etc.
In an interim order, Justice R Suresh Kumar stipulated that the officials might only bring their personal cameras for these inspections.
The Court emphasised that the tape must only be utilised for criminal prosecution and not for public relations.
The Food Safety and Standards Act‘s designated officer for Chennai, according to the Chennai Hotels Association’s appeal, is a “publicity fanatic” who is out to “tarnish” the reputation of the majority of the city’s eateries.
The petitioners claimed that the designated officer lacked the right to check commercial kitchens while accompanied by media crews.
Although they conceded that the officer may check any eatery, they contended that he must do so “without calling the media in advance.”
The petitioners’ motion, according to Justice Suresh Kumar, seems “fair.”
While the officers are allowed to bring in private camera crews, the single judge ruled that “it may not be right to bring in television crews even before food samples were gathered and tested to prove culpability.”
“When FSSA Act was in nascent stage, I was the first standing counsel for food safety authorities. Then, I told a judge, if the provisions of the Act have to be strictly implemented, then most of the Aavin parlours in Tamil Nadu will have to be closed down,” the judge said.
For the petitioners, Senior Attorney PS Raman made court appearance.