A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw sought response from the railway ministry, chairman of railway board, director general (Railway Health Services) and also the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSA) and posted the matter for Oct 31.
The PIL filed by Sardar Jagjit Singh, a retired food inspector with the railways through advocate K.C. Mittal said that 23 million people travel by train in various parts of the country every day and the petition focuses on the prevailing appalling conditions of sale and supply of adulterated food stuffs to the Indian Railways.
Mittal also submitted a CD containing a news article from a television channel to the court. The plea said: "The worst is the insensitivity and failure on the part of the respondents to take adequate steps to ensure sale and supply of unadulterated, wholesome and hygienic food to 23 million passengers who travel everyday (24X7) by trains in different parts of the country."
The PIL, seeking a direction to various authorities to issue notifications in compliance of the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act said: "...Establish prosecuting and adjudicating agency and Food Safety Appellate Tribunal, at micro level to monitor and check the food adulteration day and night at various railway stations."
The PIL further pleaded that "the checking should be done in passengers and goods trains, pantry cars, other food outlets in Railway area operated by private contractors or IRCTC or food plazas including unauthorized vendors and canteens run by railways."