Jammu and Kashmir High Court: Exercising inherent jurisdiction under Section 561-A CrPC, a Single Judge Bench comprising of Janak Raj Kotwal, J. quashed a complaint registered under Section 7 read with Section 16 of Prevention of Food and Adulteration Act, 1954.

According to the complaint averments, the Food Inspector purchased three sealed bottles of pineapple juice with the name and style ‘JUICY FUN’ from the shop of the petitioner. The said bottles were sealed for sample test as per the prescribed procedure. Samples were analysed by the public analyst and the said articles were found to be adulterated and misbranded. After obtaining sanction from the Local (Health) Authority, the complaint was filed against the petitioner and the learned Magistrate issued process to proceed against him for the commission of the abovesaid sections. Aggrieved thereby, the petitioner filed the instant petition.

The High Court referred to Section 13(2) of the Act and observed that the section imposes duty on the Food Inspector to provide copy of the report of the analyst after launching prosecution to the person against whom the prosecution has been launched and confers a right on such person to get the sample analysed by the Central Food Laboratory. The report of the Director of the Laboratory, in that case, supersedes the report of the public analyst. The Court found that there was a gap of over an year between sealing of the sample and launching of the prosecution. However, the period of best use of the article was six months from the date of manufacture. By causing inordinate delay in launching the prosecution against the petitioner, he was deprived of his valuable right under Section 13 to get the sample analysed by CFL within the best use period of the article as such a right arises only after the prosecution has been launched. The Court held that the action against the petitioner was vitiated by inordinate delay in launching prosecution. Accordingly, the complaint and the prosecution against the petitioner were quashed. [Om Prakash Sharma v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine J&K 299, dated 17-05-2018]

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