Published on: November 20, 2023 at 10:00 IST
The Uttar Pradesh government has imposed an immediate ban on the production, storage, distribution, and sale of food products with halal certification, exempting only those manufactured for export.
The government’s decision comes amid allegations of “malicious attempts” to discourage the use of products lacking a halal certificate, claiming that such efforts seek “unfair financial benefits” and contribute to a “pre-planned strategy” by “anti-national elements” to sow class hatred and weaken the country.
Strict legal measures will be taken against individuals or firms engaged in the production, storage, distribution, buying, and selling of halal-certified medicines, medical devices, and cosmetics within Uttar Pradesh, according to an official statement.
The government emphasized the harmful impact of “unrestrained propaganda” within a specific section of society, negatively affecting the business interests of other communities.
While there are concerns about an “unfair advantage” being passed on to “anti-social or anti-national elements,” the ban does not apply to products intended for export.
The government’s recent information suggests that various products, including dairy items, sugar, bakery products, peppermint oil, salty ready-to-eat beverages, and edible oils, are being labeled with halal certification.
The statement highlighted that certain medicines, medical devices, and cosmetic products are also reported to feature halal certification on their packaging or labeling.
However, the government pointed out that there are no provisions for marking halal certification on labels in the rules related to drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics. Any direct or indirect mention of halal certification on labels constitutes falsification, a punishable offense under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, as per the Act and rules applicable to food items, has the authority to determine the standards of food items.
The government expressed concern that halal certification, operating as a parallel system, creates confusion regarding food quality, violating government rules in this regard.
An FIR has been registered in Lucknow Commissionerate, naming entities such as Halal India Private Limited Chennai, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust Delhi, Halal Council of India Mumbai, Jamiat Ulama Maharashtra, and others. The FIR alleges the exploitation of religious sentiments to boost sales by providing halal certificates to customers of a specific religion.
Responding to the allegations, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust termed them “baseless” and asserted that it would take necessary legal measures to counter such misinformation.
The trust emphasized adherence to government regulations and expressed the belief that halal certification is a matter of individual and manufacturer choice based on credentials and preferences.
The government contends that the promotion of halal certification provides an unfair advantage to anti-social and anti-national elements, contributing to a larger criminal conspiracy.
It alleges that, under the guise of religion, unrestrained propaganda is being disseminated to discourage the use of products lacking a halal certificate, harming the business interests of other communities.
The government claims that this malicious attempt forms part of a pre-planned strategy to weaken the country.