Accused has right to send sample of adulterated food to Central Food Laboratory for analysis: SC

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Food Adulteration Basics You Should Know

The Case 

 

On January 16, 2002, Narayana Prasad Sahu was selling chana daal in a market in Kagpur, when a food inspector asked him to show the required licence. On failing to do so, the inspector purchased the daal and sent it for examination to the public analyst. The report showed that the chana daal was adulterated.

On October 12, 2007, Narayana Prasad Sahu was sentenced by the Magistrate to undergo rigorous imprisonment for six months and to pay fine of Rs 1,000.

In an appeal by Sahu, the Sessions Court confirmed the conviction and sentence.

Sahu filed a revision application before the high court, which was dismissed on May 3, 2018.

The Verdict

 

On October 29, 2021, the Supreme Court set aside the verdict of the Sessions Court and mandated that “under sub-section (2) Section 13” of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 “for the Local (Health) Authority to forward a copy of the report of the Public Analyst to the person from whom the sample of the food has been taken in such a manner as maybe prescribed”.

“Further mandate of sub-section (2) of Section 13 is that a person to whom the report is forwarded should be informed that if it is so desired, he can make an application to the Court within a period of ten days from the date of receipt of the copy of the report to get the sample analysed by Central Food Laboratory.”  The verdict went on to say that, “Apart from the right of the accused to contend that the report is not correct, he has right to exercise an option of sending the sample to Central Food Laboratory for analysis by making an application to the Court within ten days from the date of receipt of the report.”

On failing to deliver a copy of the public analysts report , the apex court said that his right of “praying for sending the sample to the Central Food Laboratory will be defeated.”.

“Consequently, his right to challenge the report will be defeated. His right to defend himself will be adversely affected,” the bench said.

 

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