Boutique Litigation Law Firm - Retain Lawyers - Research based Law Firm - Complete legal services

[Food Adulteration] Delay in sending sample to public analyst, accused acquitted: SC

The SC on July 30, 2020 {PREM CHAND vs STATE OF HARYANA} held that there is no evidence that the samples were not tampered within the intervening period, therefore benefit of doubt accrues in favor of the accused. It was held that moreover, the report of the public analyst   does   not   mention   that   the   sample   was   either   “insect infested” or was “unfit for human consumption”, in the absence of such   an   opinion,   the   prosecution  has   failed   to   establish   the requirements   of   Section   2   (1a)(f)   of   the  Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.

It was also held by the Bench, comprising of Justice N.V. RAMANA, Justice SURYA KANT & Justice KRISHNA MURARI, that the cross­-examination of the medical officer (P.W­2) reveals that he did not find any weevils/worms in the sample on seeing it with naked eyes. It was held although, the food inspector (P.W­1) stated that the sample was dispatched to the public analyst on the next date, however, no parcel receipt was produced to that extent. It was also held although, the sample was received in the office of the public analyst on 20.08.1982 and the report was finalized on 07.09.1982 after the delay of 18 days.

In the present case, the High Court upturned Trial Court judgment of acquittal into one of conviction after 27 years from the date of incident and 14 years after the date of trial court judgment. The present appeal before the SC arose out of the impugned judgment, whereby the High Court 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 (in short, ‘the Act’) punishable under Section 16(1A) and Section 16(1)(a)(ii) of   the   Act   for   selling   adulterated   Haldi   Powder   and   selling   it without licence.

It was held that the impugned order of conviction passed by the High Court is not sustainable. The SC set aside the same and upheld the order of acquittal passed by the trial court. Accordingly, the appeal stood allowed.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published