Food adulteration has become a very common practice in our country and we are consuming these foods almost every day which has numerous harmful effects on our health. The Supreme Court has observed that if the standards prescribed under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, are not complied with, the accused charged with adulteration cannot be acquitted only on the ground that the deficiency is marginal.
The fact of the case (Raj Kumar Versus the State of Uttar Pradesh) on 30.10.1995 a sample of milk was collected from the appellant by the Food Inspector. The same was sent to the Public Analyst who received the same on 02.11.1995. The sample was analysed and Milk Fat (MF for short) was found to be Signature Not Verified Digitally signed by MEENAKSHI KOHLI Date: 2019.10.04 4.6% and Milk Solid Non-fat (MSNF for short) was 7.7%, against 15:35:09 IST Reason: the prescribed standard of 8.5%. The appellant was prosecuted after obtaining the consent of the Chief Medical Officer and was convicted by the trial court, which conviction was upheld by the Sessions Court and the High Court.
While rejecting the contention raised during the appeal, the bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose observed that once standards are laid down by the Legislature then those standards have to be followed. It said: "In items like milk which is a primary food, under the Act, it is not necessary to also prove that the food item had become unfit for human consumption or injurious to health. In cases of food coming under the Act, it is not required to prove that the article of food was injurious to health. In this case, the only question to be determined is whether the article complies with the standards laid down or not? If it fails to comply with the standards then it will have to be treated as an adulterated article even if it is not rendered injurious to health. Even marginal deviation from the prescribed standard cannot be ignored”. In view of the above-settled law, we hold that if the standards are not complied with, the Court is not justified in acquitting the accused charged with adulteration only on the ground that the deficiency is marginal. The above case is the recent SC judgment in India.
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