Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday asked three companies including a Delhi-based spice manufacturer to deposit Rs. 10 crore each with a hospital in Srinagar following laboratory report that some of their products were “substandard and unsafe.”

The division bench comprising Justices M. H Attar and Tashi Rabstan passed the order after hearing a petition filed by advocate Sheikh Mohammad Ayoub, and directed the companies to deposit the money with Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in the Valley.

The order came following a report by Central Food Laboratory Kolkata which found samples of some of the products manufactured by the companies as “misbranded, substandard and unsafe.”

The court said that the treatment has to be meted out to the people who have suffered or who may suffer from various diseases because of the consumption of such products.

“In our considered view, at this stage we deem it appropriate to direct the owners or managing directors of the above said companies or corporations to deposit the amount of Rs. 10 crores each with the Director SKIMS within two weeks,” the division bench said.

The laboratory report revealed that a batch of toned Khyber milk manufactured in July was found to be unsafe, misbranded and substandard. The report also suggested that detergents were also found in the sample of the milk.

The laboratory also declared unsafe the turmeric powder manufactured by Delhi-based AVON Agro Industries Private Limited because one of its samples showed the presence of Tartrazine (a colouring matter which can be cause of subjecting a consumer to fatal diseases).

Similarly, the laboratory found Carmoisine and Tartrazine in samples of a ‘saunf’ (fennel seeds) powder processed and sold by south Kashmir based Kanwal Agro food industries and it was also declared to be “unsafe”.

The court directed Director SKIMS to keep the amount in a separate account and to await further orders from the court for the utilisation of the amount and also file report about the nature of the diseases which can be caused because of colouring matter found in the samples.

The court directed traders not to sell the food items from the said batches to the consumers and asked authorities to take necessary steps for seizing the products from the market and in the premises of the manufacturers.

The court has listed the case for the next hearing in the first week of February next year.