New Delhi: The Supreme Court has sent a milkman from Uttar Pradesh to jail for six months for diluting milk in a case that dates back to 1995. Referring to the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, the court said that it can show no leniency in this case.
When the milk sold by Raj Kumar was tested in a laboratory in November 1995, it was found to have 4.6% milk fat and 7.7% of milk solid non-fat (MSNF) against the prescribed standard of 8.5% under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, as per a Hindustan Times report.
Kumar was then convicted by a trial court and his conviction was upheld by the Sessions Court and High Court. The lawyers on behalf of Raj Kumar argued saying there was a delay in analysing the sample and therefore the marginal shortfall should be overlooked. They also requested the apex court to be lenient considering the case is 24 years old.
The bench, comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose, however rejected those pleas and said that once standards are laid down by the legislature, then those need to be followed.
The bench further said,
“In cases of food coming under the Act, it is not required to prove that article of food was injurious to health. In this case, the only question to be determined is whether the article complies with the standards laid down or not? If it fails to comply with the standards then it will have to be treated as an adulterated article even if it is not rendered injurious to health. Even marginal deviation from the prescribed standard cannot be ignored”
The bench has now asked Raj Kumar to serve the six-month sentence stating that the passage of time can be no excuse to award a sentence lesser than the minimum.
Hope this order acts as a strong deterrent for defaulters who dilute milk before selling.