SC: Storing Adulterated Food for Making Food for Sale is Punishable u/Food Adulteration Act


April 26, 2018

Case name: Delhi Administration v. Vidya Gupta

Date of Judgment: April 24, 2018

The statutory provision to which the instant case relates is Section 7 of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.

Also read Protection of Consumers from adulteration of food.

Brief facts of the case were that the accused, a vendor of a Sweet shop in New Delhi was in charge of the day to day business of the shop. One of the Food Inspector purchased a sample of Ghee, for analysis from the shop where the said food article was stored for sale. On analysis of the Ghee, report was prepared which opined that the sample did not conform to the standards of Ghee as per the Food Adulteration Act and charges were framed. Thus, the accused was held guilty of the violation of the several provisions of the Act alongwith with Section 7 of the Act.

Section 7 of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 prohibits a manufacturer or seller from sale of adulterated food. The explanation to Section7 further states that a person shall be deemed to store any adulterated food if he stores such food for the manufacture there from of any article of food for sale.

The High Court in appeal held the accused not guilty of offence under Section 7 of the Act mainly on the ground that the sample of Ghee that was taken was itself not meant for sale but it was meant to be used merely as an ingredient in the preparation of sweets which in turn were meant for sale, and therefore no offence is made out.

Bench’s Verdict

The Two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court while making reference to relevant statutory provisions in the case held that the accused was guilty of offence under the Act and made the following observations in the case:

  • The Supreme Court opined that explanation to Section 7 clearly laid down that if a person stores any adulterated food for the purpose of manufacturing from it any article of food for sale, he shall be deemed to store adulterated food.
  • That the purpose of this provision is clear, i.e. it prohibits the storing of adulterated food notwithstanding the fact that such adulterated food is itself not offered for sale, but is used in making some food which is offered for sale. It is clearly to prevent the adulteration of food and its sale to the public even when it is meant to be used for preparing some other food which is offered for sale.
  • Thus, either way, whether the adulterated food is stored for sale, or if such food is stored for making some other food which is sold, such storing is an offence. Parliament has rightly assumed that no one, who offers food for sale, would store food which is not meant to be used in some food meant for sale.
  • In the present case, the sample of Ghee that was taken was from the Ghee that was stored for the purpose of making jalebis. On the accused’s own admission, the offence is clearly made out under Section 7 of the Act.

The entire case can be accessed here.