The Supreme Court today, in a writ petition filed challenging the ban imposed on Halal-certified products in the State of Uttar Pradesh has granted interim protection from coercive action to Halal India Pvt. Ltd.

The bench had earlier issued notice in the matter, however, had refused to pass any interim order that no coercive action be taken under the notification.

The Bench of Justice BR Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta heard the matter. Justice Gavai at the outset said that the same order, as was passed while granting interim protection to Mahmood Madani and other office bearers of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind Halal Trust earlier this year, can be passed in the present matter.

Pertinently, the bench had refused to entertain the petition on the last occasion while saying, "Why should we entertain under 32?...Doesn't the High Court have jurisdiction to consider it?"

"It has pan India effect", the Senior Advocate appearing for the petitioner Halal India Pvt. Ltd. had then responded.

Justice Gavai had then said that if the High Court stays the notification, it will have an effect across the country. To which, the Senior Advocate had submitted that there is an immediate effect on interstate trade and industry and on the consumer, which will have a pan-India effect. He also submitted that similar demands for ban are being raised in other States as well.

Last year, in November, the State of Uttar Pradesh banned production, storage, distribution and sale of halal-certified products in the state, however, exempted exports from the embargo.

It is pertinent to note that Halal certification is a guarantee that the product is permissible and is in accordance with the Islamic law and is unadulterated, meaning no haram product is used. In India, the halal certificate is issued by private bodies unlike in Muslim majority countries.

The Additional Chief Secretary, Food Safety and Drug Administration (FSDA), Uttar Pradesh, had issued a notice to be complied with immediate effect.

The notification in Hindi dated November 18, 2023, read, “… in compliance with Section 30(2)(d) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, in exercise of the authority vested in Section 30(2)(a) of the said Act, in view of public health, food with Halal certification is being banned within the limits of Uttar Pradesh. A ban is imposed with immediate effect on the manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of products (except food produced for export to the exporter).”

The notification also says that it is only the statutory institutions which check the related standards as per the provisions given in the Act and thus, Halal certification of food products is a parallel system which creates confusion regarding the quality of food items and is completely against the basic intention of the said Act and is not tenable under Section 89 of the said Act.

Section 89 says that the provisions of the Act will have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than the Act.

Cause Title: Halal India Private Limited v. The State of Uttar Pradesh