The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 is the primary legislation looking into the prevention of food adulteration by all possible manner. With the establishment and functioning of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, the Food Adulteration Act became a tool to enforce safety standards for manufacturing of food products and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption. The question of whether the storing of adulterated food, even for the purpose of making other food which is to be sold, constitutes an offence was decided by the Supreme Court in Delhi Administration vs. Vidya Gupta.
With regards to answering the , the bench of Justice SA Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao observed that the explanation to the section 7 of the Food Adulteration Act 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 Court further referred to the interpretation enunciated in Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Kacheroo which also arose under this Act. This Court enunciated the Rule as follows:
“5. The Act has been enacted to curb and remedy the widespread evil of food adulteration, and to ensure the sale of wholesome food to the people. It is well- settled that wherever possible, without unreasonable stretching or straining, the language of such a statute should be construed in a manner which would suppress the mischief, advance the remedy, promote its object, prevent its subtle evasion and foil its artful circumvention…….”
Rejecting the reference given by the Delhi High Court
Kanshi Nath v. State (2005 (2) FAC 219) and State v. Mahender Kumar & Ors (2008 (1) FAC 177) for the acquittal, the Apex Court convicted the accused for the offence under under Section 2 (ia) (a) (c) & (m) of the Act, punishable under Section 16 (1) (a), read with Section 7 of the Act and sentenced the accused to period already undergone, taking into account that his business has closed down since and he is now about 70 years old.
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Judgment: Dehi Administration Versus Vidya Gupta