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Food Adulteration case – High court reduced the sentence to 3 months minimum sentence – No further reduction – Clause (m) postulates a situation where the articles fall below the prescribed standard even if it is not injurious to health. It is clear from this provision that if salt is added to chillies even if it would not be rendered injurious to health, nevertheless the quality/purity of the article would fall below the prescribed standards/its constituents as prescribed in A.05.05.01 limit. It would be adulterated.- Apex court held that We are of the view that no further benevolence can be shown to the appellant, more so, when it is a case of food adulteration. There is no special circumstances which may warrant reducing the sentence below the minimum. The appeal is accordingly dismissed= MITHILESH APPELLANT VERSUS STATE OF NCT,DELHI RESPONDENT= 2014(May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41547

Food Adulteration case – High court reduced the sentence to 3 months minimum sentence – No further reduction  – Clause (m) postulates a situation where the articles fall  below the prescribed standard even if it is not injurious to health.  It is clear from this provision that if salt is added to chillies even if it would  not be rendered injurious to health, nevertheless  the  quality/purity  of  the article would fall  below  the  prescribed  standards/its  constituents  as prescribed in A.05.05.01 limit.  It would be adulterated.- Apex court held that We are of the view that no further benevolence can be  shown  to  the appellant, more so, when it is a case of food adulteration.   There  is  no special circumstances which may warrant reducing  the  sentence  below  the minimum.  The appeal is accordingly dismissed=

 

They lifted a sample of red chilly powder (Lal Mirch) from an  open

container of 2 kg. capacity from the shop of the appellant.  

The sample  was

weighed on scale in a brown sheet and divided into three parts.  The  entire

sample collected was of 450 gms.  It was  sent  for  examination  by  Public

Analyst.  The report dated 7.4.1993 was  submitted  by  the  Public  Analyst

which, inter alia, affirmed that sample  adulterated  because  it  contained

salt as an adulterant. Relevant portion of the report is as under:

         “Moisture-8.22% Total ash – 7.44% A insoluble in dil.Ncl.  –  0.34%

         Non Voletile other extract – 20.97% Crude fibre – 19.25%  Test  for

         coaltar dye – negative Test for starch – negative Insect & Fungus –

         nil Microscopy-Chillies structures seen.  Test for sodium  chloride

         – positive Sodium chloride (common salt) – 2.54%”.

 

Confronted with the sample, the appellant exercised his right under  Section

13(2)  of  the  Prevention  of  Food  Adulteration  Act,  1954  (hereinafter

referred to as  ‘PFA  Act’).   

Accordingly,  another  sample  was  sent  for

examination which was examined by  the  Director  of  the  Central  Forensic

Laboratory (CFL).  In its report dated 30.6.1993 even this sample was  found

to be adulterated on two counts, namely:

“(a)  Total ash content exceeds the  maximum  specified  limit  of  8.0%  by

weight.

(b) It is not free from the presence of sodium chloride.”

      Total ash was found to be 9.72% by weight and Sodium Chloride  content

was 2.5% by weight.  =

 

Learned  Metropolitan  Magistrate  found  that  the

appellant  had  violated  the  provisions  of  Section  2   (ia)(a)(m)   and

therefore, he was found guilty for the offence punishable  under  Section  7

read with Section 16(1) of the PFA Act.   Vide  order  dated  6.4.2002,  the

appellant was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for  one  year  and

also was also imposed a fine of Rs.3000/-; in default of  payment  of  fine,

to undergo simple imprisonment for three months. =

However,  in  so  far  as  the

quantum of sentence is concerned, the High Court has reduced the  same  from

RI of one year to a  period  of  three  months  RI,  which  is  the  minimum

sentence.  The reasons for reducing the sentence has been given by the  High

Court in paragraph 25 of its judgment.

We are of the view that no further benevolence can be  shown  to  the

appellant, more so, when it is a case of food adulteration.   There  is  no

special circumstances which may warrant reducing  the  sentence  below  the

minimum.  The appeal is accordingly dismissed

 

2014(May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41547

B.S. CHAUHAN, A.K. SIKRI

NON-REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO(S).1570 OF 2010

MITHILESH APPELLANT

VERSUS
STATE OF NCT,DELHI RESPONDENT

O R D E R
A.K. SIKRI,J.
The appellant was running a small kirana shop at 96-A, MIG
Flats, Opposite G.T.B. Hospital, G.T.B. Enclave, Shahdara, Delhi. On
11.3.1993, some officials from the Food Adulteration Department visited his
shop which was being run under the name and style “M/s Mithlesh General
Store”. They lifted a sample of red chilly powder (Lal Mirch) from an open
container of 2 kg. capacity from the shop of the appellant. The sample was
weighed on scale in a brown sheet and divided into three parts. The entire
sample collected was of 450 gms. It was sent for examination by Public
Analyst. The report dated 7.4.1993 was submitted by the Public Analyst
which, inter alia, affirmed that sample adulterated because it contained
salt as an adulterant. Relevant portion of the report is as under:
“Moisture-8.22% Total ash – 7.44% A insoluble in dil.Ncl. – 0.34%
Non Voletile other extract – 20.97% Crude fibre – 19.25% Test for
coaltar dye – negative Test for starch – negative Insect & Fungus –
nil Microscopy-Chillies structures seen. Test for sodium chloride
– positive Sodium chloride (common salt) – 2.54%”.

Confronted with the sample, the appellant exercised his right under Section
13(2) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (hereinafter
referred to as ‘PFA Act’). Accordingly, another sample was sent for
examination which was examined by the Director of the Central Forensic
Laboratory (CFL). In its report dated 30.6.1993 even this sample was found
to be adulterated on two counts, namely:
“(a) Total ash content exceeds the maximum specified limit of 8.0% by
weight.
(b) It is not free from the presence of sodium chloride.”
Total ash was found to be 9.72% by weight and Sodium Chloride content
was 2.5% by weight. On the basis of the aforesaid reports, a complaint was
filed with the Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi and trial was conducted
against the appellant. Learned Metropolitan Magistrate found that the
appellant had violated the provisions of Section 2 (ia)(a)(m) and
therefore, he was found guilty for the offence punishable under Section 7
read with Section 16(1) of the PFA Act. Vide order dated 6.4.2002, the
appellant was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year and
also was also imposed a fine of Rs.3000/-; in default of payment of fine,
to undergo simple imprisonment for three months.
Aggrieved, the appellant preferred the appeal against such
judgment which was dismissed by the Additional Sessions Judge, New Delhi
vide order dated 30.7.2002. The appellant thereafter filed Revision
Petition in the High Court of Delhi. This Criminal Revision Petition has
also been dismissed by the High Court vide judgment and order dated
4.11.2009 thereby maintaining the conviction. However, in so far as the
quantum of sentence is concerned, the High Court has reduced the same from
RI of one year to a period of three months RI, which is the minimum
sentence. The reasons for reducing the sentence has been given by the High
Court in paragraph 25 of its judgment.

Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that in one sample
analysis by the Public Analyst, only salt was found as adulterant which was
common in such cases as the appellant was a petty shopkeeper who had kept
the things in open and there was every chance of spilling of this salt into
the container which contained red chilly powder. He further submitted that
even the total ash was found to be marginally higher, that is, 9.72% by
weight as against maximum specified limit of 8% by weight. He also argued
that in view of this, it was a fit case where the sentence should be
reduced to the period already undergone. More so, even the incident
happened way back in the year 1993.
Though, an attempt was made to argue that the sample was not
adulterated, it is difficult to accept the said submission.
Definition of “adulterated” as contained in Section 2(ia)clauses (k)
and (m) thereof are relevant. Section 2 (ia)(k) reads as under:
“(k) if the article contains any prohibited preservative of
permitted preservative in excess of the prescribed limits;”
Section 2(ia)(m) reads as under :
“(m) if the quality or purity of the article falls below the
prescribed standard or its constituents are present in quantities
not within the prescribed limits of variability but which does not
render it injurious to health:”
Clause (m) postulates a situation where the articles fall below
the prescribed standard even if it is not injurious to health. It is clear
from this provision that if salt is added to chillies even if it would not
be rendered injurious to health, nevertheless the quality/purity of the
article would fall below the prescribed standards/its constituents as
prescribed in A.05.05.01 limit. It would be adulterated.
Having regard to the aforesaid provisions, it is clear that an
article of food may be adulterated once it does not meet the specifications
and exceed the limit prescribed under the PFA Act. As pointed out above,
the presence of salt, that is , Sodium Chloride by 2.5% weight as well as
presence of total ash exceeding the prescribed limit is sufficient to hold
that the sample drawn was adulterated, even if one was to proceed on the
basis that mere addition of common salt to the chilly powder did not render
it injurious to health. The High Court in support of its aforesaid
conclusion has referred to various judgments and we are in full agreement
with the view taken by the High Court on this count.
Faced with the aforesaid position, the main emphasis of the
learned counsel for the appellant was for showing some more leniency by
reducing the sentence to the one already undergone.
It is not in dispute that the sentence of R.I. 3 months, awarded
by the High Court, is the minimum prescribed in law. No doubt, as per the
provisions which were prevailing at the relevant time, it was still
permissible for the court to reduce it to below minimum, by giving special
reasons. We find that the High Court has already shown leniency by
reducing the sentence from RI one year to RI three months. While doing so,
the High Court has given the following reasons:
“24. However, on the quantum of sentence, this Court has taken
due regard of the fact that the petitioner herein was a petty shop
keeper,. Matter relates to the year 1993 i.e. dating back to
sixteen years; petitioner has suffered incarceration of about 12
days out of the period of sentence of one year which had been
awarded to him. There is no overemphasizing the fact that speedy
trial which is the essence of justice has been lost. The Supreme
Court in Braham Das vs. State of Himachal Pradesh AIR 1988 SC 1789
had held that 8 years having been lost, where part of the sentence
had been undergone, the petitioner had been sentenced to the period
already undergone by him. In Veer Singh Chauhan vs. State of Delhi
1994 (2) CCC 253, the revision had come up for hearing after seven
years; the court reduced the sentence to the one already undergone
i.e. of a period of 3 months.
25. In the instant case, the offence relates to the year 1993. The
nature of offence i.e. the sample having been found to be
adulterated in terms of Section 2 (ia)(m); the period of 12 days of
incarceration already undergone by the petitioner who would as on
date be about 47 years of age, he having rooted himself in society,
the ends of justice would be met if the sentence is reduced from RI
one year to a period of RI three months. No modification is made
in the fine which has been imposed.”
We are of the view that no further benevolence can be shown to the
appellant, more so, when it is a case of food adulteration. There is no
special circumstances which may warrant reducing the sentence below the
minimum. The appeal is accordingly dismissed. The appellant is directed to
surrender within four weeks to serve the remaining sentence, failing which
the Chief Judicial Magistrate, New Delhi shall take the appellant into
custody and send him to jail to serve out the remaining sentence.
…………….J.
[DR. B.S. CHAUHAN]

 
…………….J.
[A.K. SIKRI]
NEW DELHI
DATE; MAY 28, 2014

 

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