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Friday, April 24, 2015

Hotels demand fines back

Thiruvananthapuram: The Commissionerate of Food Safety has landed in a fix with the hotels and restaurants across the state demanding return of the  fine compounded from them  during  the various raids held in the past couple of years.
The High Court  has ruled in favour of the Hotels and Restaurants Association and  rapped the commissionerate for collecting huge fines without improvement notices.
Kerala Hotels and Restaurant Association (KHRA) president Jose Mohan said that the food safety authorities had compounded fine to the tune of Rs 18 lakh.
“We have filed an appeal in the HC to get back the fines collected from us illegally. The court has already criticised  the food safety authorities and  asked them not to compound the fines without giving 14 days’ time to rectify the problems. If the conditions are not improved, they can cancel our licence,” said Mr Jose Mohan.
He said that the authorities were not following the guidelines of the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India.
“They cannot just come and confiscate the food items based on their intuition. They should collect the statutory samples first, get them tested  at an authorised lab and action can be taken only after getting the result,” he added.
A top official of the commissionerate said that they had valid documents to prove that fine was compounded legally.  “Initially, there were around 15 cases where we compounded fines without documents. But all other cases were registered with valid proof,” said the official.