Section 2 (1a) (f) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (in short, ‘the Act’) punishable under Section 16(1A) and Section 16(1)(a)(ii) 1 NON­REPORTABLE of the Act for selling adulterated Haldi Powder and selling it without licence.= there is no evidence that the samples were not tampered within the intervening period, therefore benefit of doubt accrues in favor of the accused. Moreover, the report of the public analyst does not mention that the sample was either “insect infested” or was “unfit for human consumption”, in the absence of such an opinion, the prosecution has failed to establish the requirements of Section 2 (1a)(f) of the Act

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 2255 OF 2010
PREM CHAND …APPELLANT
Versus
STATE OF HARYANA …RESPONDENT
JUDGMENT
N. V. RAMANA, J.

  1. The present appeal arises out of the impugned judgment dated
    09.12.2009 passed by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at
    Chandigarh in Criminal Appeal no.492­DBA of 1996, whereby the
    High Court set aside the judgment of the trial court acquitting the
    appellant herein and convicted him for the offences under Section
    2 (1a) (f) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (in short,
    ‘the Act’) punishable under Section 16(1A) and Section 16(1)(a)(ii)
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    NON­REPORTABLE
    of the Act for selling adulterated Haldi Powder and selling it
    without licence.
  2. The case of the prosecution is that, on 18.8.1982, at about 11
    A.M., the Food Inspector, along with Medical Officer, inspected the
    shop of the accused­appellant in the presence of the witnesses
    and found 10 kgs of Haldi Powder in his shop. The Food Inspector
    purchased 600 grams Haldi Powder out of which one sample was
    made and then that sealed sample was sent to the Public Analyst.
    The report of the public analyst dated 07.09.1982, revealed that
    the sample was found to contain four living meal worms and two
    live weevils. The trial court vide order dated 31.08.1995 acquitted
    the appellant. However, upon appeal, the High Court vide
    impugned judgment dated 09.12.2009, convicted the appellant
    under Section 2 (la) (f) of the Act for selling adulterated Haldi
    Powder and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for six months
    and to pay fine of Rs. 2,000/­ in default whereof to undergo
    further imprisonment for one month under Section 16 (lA) of the
    Act. The High Court further convicted the appellant for offence
    under Section 16 (1) (a) (ii) of the Act for selling Haldi Powder
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    without licence and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for one
    month and to pay fine of Rs. 500/­ in default whereof to undergo
    further imprisonment for fifteen days.
  3. The counsel for the appellant submitted that High Court upturns
    Trial Court judgment of acquittal into one of conviction after 27
    years from the date of incident and 14 years after the date of trial
    court judgment. The counsel vehemently put forth that, the report
    of the public analyst no where mentions that the sample was
    either ‘insect infested’ or was ‘unfit for human consumption’. It was
    lastly contended that, the appellant went unrepresented in the
    High Court as the advocate representing the appellant did not
    appear in Court.
  4. On the contrary the advocate appearing for the State fully
    supported the impugned order passed by the High Court and
    submitted that sample was taken from the shop of the accusedappellant which was meant for public sales and the same was
    found to be adulterated as per the report of the public analyst.
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    Therefore, the appellant is liable for the offences under Section 2
    of the Act.
  5. Having heard the learned counsel appearing for the parties and
    carefully perusing the material available on record, we note that
    the cross­examination of the medical officer (P.W­2) reveals that he
    did not find any weevils/worms in the sample on seeing it with
    naked eyes. Although, the food inspector (P.W­1) stated that the
    sample was dispatched to the public analyst on the next date,
    however, no parcel receipt was produced to that extent. Although,
    the sample was received in the office of the public analyst on
    20.08.1982 and the report was finalized on 07.09.1982 after the
    delay of 18 days. There is no evidence that the samples were not
    tampered within the intervening period, therefore benefit of doubt
    accrues in favor of the accused. Moreover, the report of the public
    analyst does not mention that the sample was either “insect
    infested” or was “unfit for human consumption”, in the absence of
    such an opinion, the prosecution has failed to establish the
    requirements of Section 2 (1a)(f) of the Act (See Delhi
    Administration. v. Sat Sarup Sharma, 1994 Supp (3) SCC
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    324). Moreover, no evidence has been adduced by the prosecution
    to prove the offence under Section 16 (1) of the Act either before
    the trial court or the High Court.
  6. Therefore, the impugned order of conviction passed by the High
    Court is not sustainable for the aforementioned reasons. We set
    aside the same and uphold the order of acquittal passed by the
    trial court. Accordingly, the appeal stands allowed.
    …..………………….J.
    (N. V. RAMANA)
    ………………………..J.
    (SURYA KANT)
    ……..…………………J.
    (KRISHNA MURARI)
    NEW DELHI;
    JULY 30, 2020.
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