The Supreme Court in a recent case of State of Haryana v. Ishwar Chand has observed that the sale of food item(s) meant for cooking/preparation of vegetables/food in an eating place to the Food Inspector would amount to “sale” under Section 2 (xiii) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.
Holding the above observation a Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Navin Sinha and Justice KM Joseph has restored conviction of a hotelier from whose eatery the Food Inspector found adulterated red chili powder, which was kept for cooking/preparation of food in the eatery.
Earlier, the trial court had convicted the accused under Section 16(1)(a)(i) read with Section 7 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of one year and to pay a fine of Rs. 2,000/-.
However, in revision, the Punjab & Haryana High Court has altered the conviction and held the accused respondent to be not guilty. The basis of the order of the Punjab & Haryana High Court was that the red chilli powder which was found to be adulterated was not meant for public sale but was kept for cooking/preparation of food in the eating place from where the sample was taken by the Food Inspector.
The Bench relied on a decision of the apex court in The Food Inspector, Calicut Corporation v. Cherukattil Gopalan and another. In this case, sugar was found to be adulterated. The Supreme Court set aside concurrent acquittal by observing thus: “When there is a sale to the Food Inspector under the Act of an article of food, which is found to be adulterated, the accused will be guilty of an offence punishable under S.16(1)(a)(i) read with Section 7 of the Act. We further agree that the article of food which has been purchased by the Food Inspector need not have been taken out from a larger quantity intended for sale. We are also of the opinion that the person from whom the article of food has been purchased by the Food Inspector need not be a dealer as such in that article.”
The Bench, restoring the order of conviction and sentence passed by the learned trial Court has set aside the order of the High Court and directed the accused respondent to surrender forthwith and serve the remaining part of the sentence.