Food adulteration case: Court upholds trader`s jail term
New Delhi: A city court has upheld a
year-long jail term to a grocer, caught selling adulterated
`arhar dal` by mixing a banned colouring agent `metanil
yellow`, known for its brain damaging potentials.
Additional Sessions Judge J R Aryan also upheld a fine
of Rs 10,000 imposed upon grocer Subhash Chand Garg of Sonia
Vihar in east Delhi by a magisterial court, following his
conviction under various provisions of Prevention of Food
Adulteration Act (PFA) on March 12, 2010.
Dismissing Garg`s appeal against his conviction, ASJ
Aryan said, "PFA prohibited use of any colouring matter to
food article except specifically permitted. Dal arhar did not
fall in the category of those permitted food article. Also,
metanil yellow was absolutely a prohibited colour."
Garg was found selling the pulse with harmful
colouring agent on July 29, 2000, when a food inspector
purchased a sample of dal arhar from his grocery shop `Shree
Balaji Trading Co` at Sonia Vihar here.
The magisterial court convicted Garg after the arhar
dal sample confiscated from him was found adulterated with
colouring agent metanil yellow by two independent testing labs
- Public Analyst in Delhi as well as Central Food Laboratory
The CFL also found the presence of mineral oil and
mycotoxin in the dal sample.
Garg challenged his conviction contending that the two
reports varied as CFL, Kolkata, also showed the presence of
mineral oil and mycotoxin in the dal sample.
The ASJ dismissed the contention saying, "the report
by Public Analyst shows that test for the presence of mineral
oil has not been conducted.
"If test for a particular ingredient had not been
taken up by the PA and taken up by CFL, that may not suggest
variance in two reports so as to reflect upon the
representative nature of the sample," the court said.
While special public prosecutor pointed out that as
per the provisions of the PFA the CFL`s report superseded the
report by the PA, the court emphasised that in any case "the
sample dal arhar has been found adulterated in both reports."
Garg also contended that Tartrazine was a water
soluble colour and as a matter of usual common practice Dal
Arhar would be washed before it is cooked and thus the colour
would be washed away.
He also contended that the Food Department should try
to find out the real culprits when retailer is found carrying
business only in a small quantity.
The court, while refusing to interfere with the
sentence, said, "That by itself would not absolve the vendor
of adulterated food article merely because food inspector did
not proceed further to know the manufacture of such
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