Supreme Court favours life imprisonment for milk adulteration

Expressing displeasure and grave concern over the continuous practice of adulterating milk and dairy products, the Supreme Court said “stringent measures”, including amending the Food Safety and Standards Act and making it a penal offence, are needed to “combat” the menace.

With reference to earlier court orders, the supreme court bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said, “It will be in order, if Union of India considers making suitable amendments in penal provisions at par with the provisions contained in the state amendments to the IPC. It is also desirable that Union of India revisits the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 to revise punishment for adulteration making it more deterrent in cases where the adulterant can have an adverse impact on health.”

The justice’s referred the amendments made by some states like West Bengal, Odisha in the IPC, such as enhancing jail term to the imprisonment for life with or without fine for the offence of food adulteration.

The court, while issuing a slew of guidelines to curb milk adulteration, said infants are “traditionally” fed milk and hence, stringent steps are needed.

It directed the states to make a warning to “owners of dairy, dairy operators and retailers” that if chemical adulterants like pesticides, caustic soda and other chemicals are found in milk, then stringent action will be taken against them.

The verdict came on a PIL filed by Swami Achyutanand Tirth highlighting the menace of growing sale of adulterated and synthetic milk in different parts of the country.

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