Supreme Court Discards the Judgment of High court of Punjab and Haryana

                                                        Report by-  Eshna Thakur

                                                                        

The Supreme court, On 30th July 2020 passed this judgment. A bench comprising the Honourable Justice N.V Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Krishna Murari.  The criminal case appeal number is 492 – DBA of 1996. Previously the High court of Punjab and Haryana passed a judgement  convicting the appellant under Section 2(1a) (f) and Section 16 (1) (a) (ii) of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 setting aside the judgement of trial court acquitting the appellant.

Appellant’s Contention

The appellant firstly argues that the report of the Public analyst does not mention if the sample was “insect infected” or “unfit for human consumption”. The appellant remained unpresented as the advocate did not appear in the court.

 KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  1. The trial court acquitted the appellant.
  2.  High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh in Criminal Appeal no.492­DBA of 1996, set aside the judgment of the trial court acquitting the. Appellant and convicted him for the offences under Section 2 (1a) (f) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 punishable under Section 16(1A) and Section 16(1)(a)(ii). 
  3. The pension of the appellant cannot be forfeited as that in the absence of an order passed under section 71(h).
  4. The Supreme court gave appellant benefit of doubt due to failure of establishing Section 2(1a) (f) of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.
  5. The Supreme court on 30-07-2020 allowed the appeal to stand.

Respondent’s Contentions

On 18th August 1982, the Food Inspector along with a medical officer went to inspect the shop of appellant and found 10 kgs of haldi powder in his shop. He bought 600 grams. And then the sample was sent for testing. The sample was found to have full living mealworms and two living weevils. The Public counsel also submitted that since the sample was taken from the shop itself which meant it was for the public sale.

SC allows the Appeal to Stand

Supreme Court held that the sample was received in the office of public analyst on 20th August 1982 and reports were finalized on 7th September 1982. Causing a delay of 18 days. And there is no evidence that the sample could not be tampered. Hence, giving appellant the benefit of doubt, and as the appellant and argued about the sample not being mentioned as insect infector or unfit for human consumption, the prosecution has failed to establish Section 2(1a) (f) of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. Hence, discarding the impugned order of conviction passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. The Appeal stands allowed.

 What are the key provisions of Prevention of Adulteration of Foods Act, 1954?

  1. Section 2 (1a) –  It deals with the definition of Adulteration and the article of food that can be treated as adulterated.
  2. Section 2(f) – ) if, when sold in packages which have been sealed or prepared by or at the instance of the manufacturer or producer and which bear his name and address, the contents of each package are not conspicuously and correctly stated on the outside thereof within the limits of variability prescribed under this Act.
  3. Section 16 1(a) (ii) – It deals with the penalty. Any adulterant which is injurious to health, he shall, in addition to the penalty to which he may be liable under the provisions of section 6, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to six years and with fine which shall not be less than two thousand.

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