The Centre's notification banning the production, sale and use of non-iodized salt for direct human consumption across the country came under judicial scanner on Tuesday with the Supreme Court admitting a bunch of petitions against the decision.
A Bench headed by Justice BN Agrawal admitted the petition filed by Common Cause, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Academy of Nutrition Improvement and some other NGOs and individuals who contended that the November 2005 notification making consumption of iodized salt compulsory, was arbitrary and illegal.
They also contended that countries like the US, Switzerland, England, Japan and Italy, which earlier made consumption of iodized salt compulsory, had to change the decision due to increase in deaths and rise in diseases like hyperthyroid, dysentery, cholera and gastroenteritis. Now they permit consumption of both types of salts, they submitted.
The government felt that consumption of non-iodized salt was harmful to the health of the people. Earlier the Core Advisory Group on Public Health of the National Human Rights Commission had in 2005 recommended the need for universal iodization of salt.
The petitioners had drawn the court's attention to the fact that 235 scientists, doctors and social activists had in September 2005 signed an open letter addressed to the Union Health Ministry opposing the universal ban on the production, sale and use of non-iodized edible salt.
They said whether there should be compulsory or voluntary iodization of salt is linked to the prevalence, incidence, cause and remedy of goitre and other related diseases in a particular area.
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