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The Delhi High Court Wednesday questioned the Delhi government over sale of artificially coloured vegetables and fruits in the capital’s markets.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan sought the government’s response by Sep 29 on a public interest litigation seeking directions to the city government to take appropriate steps for preventing sale of unhygienic fruits, vegetables and pulses.

‘Comprehensively, it is the duty of the state to look into such kind of matters. This matter relates to health of the general public which cannot be marginalised,’ the bench said.

Sugriv Dubey, appearing for petitioner Salek Chandra Jain, submitted that the rules under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act were notified in 2000 yet the malpractice is going on unabated.

The counsel alleged that the traders start polishing fruits and vegetables with artificial colours to make them appear fresh after their transportation to the markets here.

‘The state is under an obligation to prevent the sale of unhygienic fruits and vegetables besides pulses,’ Jain said in his petition.

He said that traders make use of oxytocin in various agricultural products for giving a fresh and shiny look to attract consumers.

‘Use of such chemicals in eatables causes cancer and other diseases,’ the petitioner, said, adding that the concerned authority had failed to take any action despite several complaints since last year

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