Follow up of the penalty case regarding the standards of Trans fats percentage in the edibles oil
The readers may recall the case of a vigilant citizen, trying to enforce certain standards as regards Ghee and Edible oils reported in this site earlier. On the basis of studies which have shown that trans fats are harmful to health, he has been pursuing this matter to persuade government to specify such standards as prevalent in other countries. His specific queries were:-
Query-1: Have you determined the safe percentage of Trans fats in Ghee and Edible oils etc.
Query-2: Have you instructed the manufactures of Ghee and edible oils to exhibit the safe percentage of Trans fats on their packets along with actual percentage of trans fats on their products.
On not getting a suitable reply, the matter went to the CIC. In their earlier order dated 09/02/2012, the Commission held that if the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India has taken no steps about specifying the safe level trans fats percentages in Ghee and Edible Oil they should atleast admit this. A compensation of Rs.2000/- was awarded to the Appellant while a show cause notice for penalty was issued to the PIO by the Commission. During a hearing before the Commission for levy of penalty, it was presented before the Commission that:-
To Query-1, The Respondent stated that FSSAI has not determined the safe percentage of Trans Fats in Ghee and Edible oil. To Query-2, the Respondent confirmed that no such instruction has been issued.
The Respondent claimed that he had not understood the queries properly and asked not to levy penalty and to waive the compensation of Rs. 2000/- awarded to the Appellant. Expressing surprise about the lack of understanding to the simple queries by the Appellant, the Commission gave the benefit of doubt to the Respondents and accepted the plea that they have not been able to understand the queries properly. The penalty proceedings were dropped by the Commission while the Compensation was upheld.
This case sets a precedent for citing the lack of understanding of the simple queries by the Appellant for waiver of penalty.
Citation: Mr. K. K. Swami v Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in File No CIC/SG/A/2011/003539
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/189
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission