While reiterating the precedent set that there is no bar on prosecuting a person under two different enactments if the same set of facts qualify for offences under different laws, instead the bar is upon double punishment for the same offence, Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of State of Maharashtra v. Sayyed Hassan Sayyed Subhan held that a penalty prescribed under the Food and Safety Standards Act, 2006 does not bar a prosecution under Indian Penal Code, 1860.

A bench comprising of Hon’ble Justice S. A. Bobde and Justice L. Nageswara Rao allowed an appeal made via s Special Leave Petition preferred against an order of Hon’ble High Court of Bombay wherein it allowed the accused not to be tried under section 188, 272,273, 328 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 on the reasoning that section 55 of the Food and Safety Standards Act, 2006 provides for a penalty of non-compliance of the directions of Food Safety Officer and the order of the Food Safety Officer does not qualify to be an order under chapter X of the IPC. The Apex Court held that the Hon’ble High Court erred in holding that the order of the Food Safety Officer does not constitute to be an order under chapter X of IPC as section 188 is attracted even in cases where the act complained of causes or tends to cause danger to human life, health or safety as well.

Apart from this Hon’ble Supreme Court also opined that Hon’ble High Court should have taken into consideration section 26 of the General Clauses Act which provides as follows-

Provisions as to offences punishable under two or more enactments– Where an act or omission constitutes an offence under two or more enactments, then the offender shall be liable to be prosecuted and punished under either or any of those enactments, but shall not be liable to be punished twice for the same offence.”

The bench also took into consideration precedents set in State of Rajasthan v. Hat Singh [(2003) 2 SCC 152] as well as State (NCT of Delhi) v. Sanjay [(2014) 9 SCC 772] in order to reach to a conclusion that prosecution and punishment under different laws is allowed and what is barred under the principle of double jeopardy is getting punished twice for the same offence.

The matter was remanded back to Hon’ble High Court for deciding whether offences under section 188, 272, 273 and 328 is made out or not, considering the writ petitions afresh.

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Judgment: State of Maharashtra v. Sayyed Hassan Sayyed Subhan & Ors.