Union of India &
Ors. Vs. M/S. Exim Rajathi India Pvt. Ltd.  INSC 2025 (26 November 2008)
IN THE SUPREME COURT
OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NOS. OF 2008 (Arising out of
S.L.P.(C) No.11808 of 2006) Union of India and Ors. ....Appellants Versus M/s
Exim Rajathi India Pvt. Ltd. ....Respondent
DR. ARIJIT PASAYAT,
in this appeal is to the order passed by a Division Bench of the Bombay High
Court in Writ Petition No.642/2006. The respondents had imported 56 metric tons
of garlic from China which was found to be infected with Embellisia alli
(fungus) and traces of Urocystis Capulae. The appellants withheld the permit
for import of consignment until further orders. Respondent nos.1 and 2 filed a
writ petition in the Bombay High Court which was directed as follows:
respondent is directed to carry out fumigation treatment by using Methyl
Bromide as prescribed in the Plant Quarantine (regulation of Import into India)
Order 2003 on the 56 metric tones of Chinese garlic imported by the petitioners
and lying in the bonded warehouse at the Petitioner's costs.
After fumigation is
complete which generally takes 48 hours, the Respondent no.3 and 4 are directed
to forthwith permit the Petitioners to clear the 56 metric tones of Chines
garlic imported by the Petitioners and lying in the bonded warehouse upon
payment of necessary duties on the actual weight of the garlic (since the
weight of the garlic has reduced since it landed on the JNPT port) and
completion of formalities, without any further orders.
2 The order dated
6th October, 2005 passed by the Third respondent and the order dated 28th
December, 2005 are hereby set aside."
petition was filed which was dismissed. According to learned counsel for the
appellants there is strong risk of this fungus (at present totality absent in
India) affecting the future cultivation in India for the reason that the scales
of such infected garlic are peeled of for its use, thrown into dust bins as
garbage and used a manure. This is one of the ways by which some of the fungus
got introduced in countries including India and elsewhere and caused permanent
damage to the crops which the agricultural experts found difficult to solve.
the instant case, before the garlic was loaded in China for import into India
by the respondents, it was treated with methyl bromide fumigation. But this is
a treatment for killing insects and pests and not for killing fungi. Fungi can be
killed by fungicides and if earlier treated with fungicides it becomes harmful
for human consumption. The methyl bromide fumigation treatment is not found to
be effective against fungi as found on testing by IARI, New Delhi. Methyl
bromide treatment is generally not recommended for perishable goods/commodities
like garlic as it has phyto-toxic effects and may deteriorate the quality by
absorption of bromide gas in the commodity. Methyl bromide fumigation treatment
is given for propagative material and not for consumption. Thus, such treated
garlic is dangerous for human consumption and also for Indian Agriculture.
counsel for the respondent disputes the aforesaid stand of the appellant.
reference to the order dated 2.9.2008, learned counsel for the respondent
stated that the garlic which is the subject matter of dispute may be destroyed
by firing it in an acceptable manner in an open space.
view of the peculiar circumstances of the case, we direct that the articles
shall be taken from the Customs Warehouse to a place where destruction is to be
made. The date, time and place shall be indicated by the respondent nos. 1 and
2 to the appellants. The articles shall be destroyed by fire in the presence of
an authorized officer of appellant no.1. The cost of the transportation from
the Customs Warehouse to the place of destruction shall be borne by respondent
nos. 1 and 2.
appeal is accordingly disposed of.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)