In a judgement issued on Wednesday, the Kerala High Court ordered the state government to ensure that manufacturers of packaged drinking water and ice bars met the required standards prescribed under the law and to ensure that they met public health standards.
The order was issued as a result of a PIL filed by the Human Rights Mission organisation which alleged that many packaged drinking water companies in the state were operating without license and were using water collected from polluted ponds and water bodies to package and sell.
The petitioners requested that a requirement be made for ISI marking and stricter licensing protocols and check-ups to ensure that manufacturers were following the letter of the law. Additionally the PIL requested the court to take action to ban the sale of 'kulukki sarbath', a popular street-side beverage, as it was allegedly made with the same low-quality ice churned out for profit.
"It is also directed that while granting licence to any new packaged drinking water units, necessary directions shall be issued to maintain the standards prescribed under the respective statutes and to ensure that such units start functioning only after securing permits/clearances/consents from the respective statutory authorities," the judgement issued by the High Court reads.