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Delhi High Court: City Dairies Fail Statutory Compliance

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Observing that “citizens are consuming” milk products “which may not be very safe”, the Delhi High Court Wednesday said it will set up a “pilot project” in Madanpur Khadar Dairy — one of the nine designated dairies in the city — to address issues such as the use of “spurious” banned drugs like Oxytocin which increases milk production, cattle health, and hygiene at the premises.

Hearing a petition highlighting the conditions of dairy colonies, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora said it shall pass an order and form a team involving the Delhi State Legal Services Authority to bring the dairy under “immediate compliance”.

The bench observed that the city’s designated dairies are not complying with the statutory framework in as much as they do not have “mandatory” licences from the MCD, Delhi government’s animal husbandry department, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

Delhi’s Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, who had joined the proceeding through virtual mode along with other senior officials such as the MCD Commissioner, said he will file a detailed affidavit indicating a “road map” to deal with the issues raised.

The HC also questioned the Delhi Police if it has been able to find the source of the problem — where spurious Oxytocin is produced, packaged, and distributed. It orally observed, “If the police is feeling handicapped, then we can hand the matter over to the CBI… This is affecting the food cycle. It affects all young children, babies. Police must show some alacrity.” The counsel appearing for the police said FIRs have already been registered and an investigation is underway.

The HC also told the CEO of FSSAI to “ramp up testing in food products” especially those that contain milk. “Testing is very very low. Especially in the Ghazipur and Bhalswa areas, we want you to do far more tests. Give us a report on May 27. Check sweet shops, they must be using a lot of milk produced in these two areas. Please do random sample testing from sweets and chocolates that are being sold in Delhi,” the bench told the official.

Shifting two dairies near landfills

With respect to moving two dairies located near the Ghazipur and Bhalswa landfills, the Chief Secretary said the required land is not available for relocation.

“My request is that we make a commitment and give a timeline by which we will be in a position to clear the two landfill sites and… be allowed to continue the dairies at these sites,” the senior official said, adding that based on the past year’s performance, he is hopeful that legacy waste will be removed by 2026. He added that multidisciplinary teams shall be formed to tackle the issues raised.

To this, the bench orally remarked, “If you think you can do it good luck to you. Till today, the administration has just turned a blind eye as if these dairies do not exist. We are talking about nine designated dairies right now. How many unauthorised dairies may be there, we aren’t even asking you about that.”

It went on to add: “This is the so-called milk being used in the production of sweets, chocolates, how it is entering our food cycle no one knows… Someone has realised it is impossible to do this, so don’t look at them. Today, these dairies are not being examined by any statutory authority. How are they working in contravention of the law? Whether it is MCD, GNCTD.”


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On Oxytocin use, the court said: “We are hearing amazing stories that cattle have been moved to the second floor, and once they move up they do not come down. What cruelty is being met out to them? Oxytocin is rampant over there which is a banned drug. These are all spurious drugs that are being circulated. Please ask your officers what they have done. Some junior officers are getting salaries for working in the area. Some responsibility will have to be fixed, otherwise nothing will happen.”

The matter is now listed on May 27.

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