Sunday, February 8, 2015

Milk Adulteration to be Punishable with Life Imp.

In a significant statement with wide implications, the Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it has formed a highlevel committee to consider if to make the offence of milk adulteration punishable by life imprisonment. It has agreed to the view of the court that the present penalty of six months in jails "was hardly a deterrent" for the menace which was most acute in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

An affidavit in the court by Rakesh Nayal, a senior official in the Union health ministry said the panel, headed by R.K. Jain, secretary of the National Disaster Management Authority, and representatives from Food Safety and Standard Authority of India will take a decision within 45 days.

The court had on December 12, 2014 taken serious exception to Centre's refusal to amend the law to make the offence punishable with life term. 
"What are you doing about it? In March we had given an ultimatum to the Centre to inform us if you are amending the law and we are now in December,"
the Bench said when Anurag Tomar, the lawyer for the petitioner in the PIL, pointed out the delay.

"After perusing the reports submitted by various states, prima-facie we are of the opinion that milk is being laced with white paint, caustic soda, detergent, shampoo, urea, starch and blotting paper and the practice is going unabated. The Centre must come out with necessary amendment to the Act with all seriousness to curb adulteration. We hope the government will take appropriate decision during the winter session of Parliament," the court had said.
The Bench had earlier said it would be foolish to go lightly on adulterators just because no grievous illness or death has been reported immediately after someone drinks milk laced with such poisonous substances. 
"The poisoning in the body is gradual and once it happens people think they are afflicted with cancer and nobody blames milk. Are you waiting for them to add cyanide in milk? Only then instant death will be caused for you to take action," 
the court had said.

The Bench suggested an amendment to the law after the Uttar Pradesh government said they faced a hurdle in prosecuting adulterators under the IPC and seeking their life imprisonment after the Allahabad High Court ruled in 2010 that the IPC cannot be invoked when the FSSA should prevail.

Source: India Today

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