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[Prevention of Food Adulteration Act] Relevant information under Rule 32(e) with regard to the lot/code/batch identification are available in the barcode, criminal proceedings quashed: SC

The SC on Sep 04, 2020 {RAGHAV GUPTA vs STATE (NCT OF DELHI) AND ANOTHER} held that several   grounds   have   been   urged   to   challenge   the prosecution, however the appeal can be disposed of on a single undisputed ground.

It was observed by the SC Bench, comprising of Justice R.F. NARIMAN, Justice NAVIN SINHA & Justice INDIRA BANERJEE, that the appellant questions his prosecution under Rule 32(e) of the   Prevention   of   Food   Adulteration   Rules,   1955   (hereinafter called   as   “the   Rules”)   framed   under   the   Prevention   of   Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (in short “the Act”). 

In the present case, the report of the Public Analyst dated 30.05.2011, held that the sample confirmed to standards but was misbranded being in violation of Rule 32(e), lacking   in   necessary declaration   of   lot/batch   numbers. Notices were issued   to   the   appellant   under   Section   251   of   the   Criminal Procedure   Code   (hereinafter   referred   to   as   ‘the   Code’).   The appellant preferred an application for discharge under Section 294 of the Code read with Section 192 of the Act inter alia on the ground that the product had the necessary barcode on it and which contained all the relevant information as required by Rule 32(e) such as batch no./code no./lot no. The application having been rejected, the appellant raised the same ground before the High Court which also failed to consider the same. Hence, the present appeal.

The SC held that the barcode was available on the sample is not in dispute. It was held that in view of the fact that the relevant information under Rule 32(e) with regard to   the lot/code/batch   identification   to facilitate it being traced to the manufacturer are available in the barcode and which can be decoded by a barcode scanner, it is of the considered opinion that no useful purpose is going to be served by allowing the present prosecution to continue and it will be an abuse of the process of law, causing sheer waste of time, causing   unnecessary   harassment   to   the   appellant,   if   the prosecution is allowed to continue.

The SC therefore allowed the appeal and quashed the prosecution of the appellant in Patiala House Court, New Delhi. 

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