Bom HC | Convict under PFA Act acquitted in light on non-compliance of mandatory provisions of Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules

Bombay High Court: The Bench M.G. Giratkar, J. reversed the judgment of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Yavatmal whereby the criminal revision applicant was convicted for the offences under Section 7(i) read with Section 2 (ia)(a) punishable under Section 16(1)(a)(ii) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.

Applicant was the owner of a shop. The Food Inspector visited his shop and took samples of chilly powder. It was divided into three parts and sealed in bottles. One part was sent to Public Analyst and after receiving his report complaint was filed before the CJM. Charges were framed and after trial, the applicant was convicted by the CJM as mentioned above. Aggrieved thereby, he filed the present revision application.

The High Court noted that offences under PFA Act are to be proved strictly by following mandatory rules laid down in PFA Rules, 1955. Rule 14 deals with the manner of sending samples for analysis which is mandatory provision. In the present case, the Food Inspector neither personally cleaned the jars nor directed any other person to clean them when samples were taken. This resulted in non-compliance of Rule 14. Furthermore, Rule 22 which is also a mandatory provision was also not complied with. In case of chilly powder, the quantity of sample to be sent to Public Analyst must be 500 grams. However, in the present case, only 250 grams sample as sent. Also, the Public Analyst Report did not show that the powder was injurious to health. In such view of the matter, the court allowed the revision application and acquitted the applicant. [Santosh v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 88, dated 22-01-2019]

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