The Law Commission of India has proposed life sentences for persons found to be adulterating food.
The Commission was invited by the Ministry of Home Affairs to examine the laws relating to production and sale of adulterated food in light of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Swami Achyutanand Tirth & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors., AIR 2016 SC 3626, wherein the Court had directed the Central Government to consider making suitable amendments in the penal provisions at par with the provisions contained in the State amendment to the Indian Penal Code.
The Commission’s recommendations are detailed in the LCI’s Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2017 (Provisions dealing with Food Adulteration). Under India’s Penal Code, persons found to be adulterating food can be sentenced to six months imprisonment and a fine up to Rs 1,000 (about $15). The Commission while reviewing the laws relating to the production and sale of adulterated food stated that they are grossly inadequate.
“The Law Commission reviewed sections 272 and 273 of [Indian Penal Code] to address the concern of the Supreme Court in matters relating to food adulteration.
The Law Commission considers that the provisions to deal with production and sale of adulterated food, which is harmful to human beings be made more stringent keeping in view the gravity of offence, the existing maximum punishment of six months for such offences under the IPC is grossly inadequate.
In view of above, the Law Commission is of the opinion that the punishment essentially be graded with reference to the harm caused to the consumer due to consumption of adulterated food and drinks. Therefore, it is recommendable that the provisions contained in sections 272 and 273 of the IPC may be suitably modified….”
Section 272 pertains to adulteration of food and drinks while Section 273 deals with sale of noxious food and drinks.