Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954

 

(2018)1 SCeJ 871

Supreme Court e Journal

 

24 April, 2018

(i) Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, Section 7, Explanation - According to the accused, since the Ghee which was found to be adulterated was not itself meant for sale, but was meant to be used as an ingredient in the sweets that were in turn meant for sale, no offence is made out – It was pleaded that it was stored not for sale, but for a purpose other than that of sale i.e. for the purpose of preparation of sweets -  The contention in other words is that it was legal to store adulterated Ghee, if the Ghee itself was not meant for sale - Explanation to the section 7 does not support this contention -  It clearly lays down that if a person stores any adulterated food for the purpose of manufacturing from it any article of food for sale, he shall be deemed to store adulterated food - The purpose of this provision is clear, it prohibits the storing of adulterated food notwithstanding the fact that such adulterated food is itself not offered for sale, but is used in making some food which is offered for sale - It is clearly to prevent the adulteration of food and its sale to the public even when it is meant to be used for preparing some other food which is offered for sale - Thus, either way, whether the adulterated food is stored for sale, or if such food is stored for making some other food which is sold, such storing is an offence -  Parliament has rightly assumed that no one, who offers food for sale, would store food which is not meant to be used in some food meant for sale.         

 

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(ii) Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, Section 13  - Variation between the reports of Public Analyst and the Director, Central Food Laboratory - Section 13 lays down the procedure by which the report of the PA that an article of food is adulterated is dealt with - The law accords such great importance to the report from the Director that it prohibits the Court from continuing with the prosecution until the receipt of the certificate from the Director - Sub-section 3 of Section 13 clearly attributes a higher evidentiary value to the certificate from the Director when compared to the report given by the PA - The proviso to sub-Section 5 provides that the certificate from the Director shall be final and conclusive evidence of the facts stated therein – Certificate of the Director shall supersede the report of the PA and the proviso which makes such a certificate final and conclusive evidence, puts it beyond any shadow of doubt that the report of the PA loses any significance in the proceedings as a piece of evidence - Therefore, there is no reason for the Court to refer to the contents of the report of the PA - The Court is enjoined by law to consider the contents of the certificate of the Director only – High court finding that discrepancy between the report of PA and that of the Director with respect to the BR reading  (The PA had recorded the BR reading as 52.7, whereas the Director had recorded the BR reading as 53.1) -  This variation was 0.76% i.e. more than 0.3%, and therefore the sample cannot be considered as representative in nature as held in State (Delhi Administration) v. Ram Singh and Another (2009) 1 FAC 371, set aside.

Calcutta Municipal Corporation v. Pawan Kumar Saraf (1999) 2 SCC 400, referred.

Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Laxmi Narain Tandon (1976) 1 SCC 546, distinguished - Amendment which introduced the deeming fiction that a person shall be deemed to store any adulterated food, even if he stores such food for manufacturing from it any article for sale was introduced by Act 34 of 1976 w.e.f. 01.04.1976. Tandon’s case was decided on 17.12.1975

Kanshi Nath v. State 2005 (2) FAC 219 (Delhi) and State v. Mahender Kumar & Ors.(2008)1 FACC 177 , not good law. 

 

 

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