Panel wants stricter law against food adulteration

Panel wants stricter law against food adulteration

Suggests life term in cases that lead to death

Panel wants stricter law against food adulteration

The Law Commission has recommended changes in the penal law to enhance punishment from the existing six months jail to life term for food adulteration resulting in the death of a consumer.

It also suggested changing laws to award maximum compensation of Rs 10 lakh for pre-mature death.

“The Law Commission considers that the provisions to deal with the production and sale of adulterated food, which is harmful to human beings, be made more stringent, keeping in view the gravity of the offence. The existing maximum punishment of six months for such offences under the IPC is grossly inadequate,” panel chairman Justice B S Chauhan stated in a report submitted to the Centre on Wednesday.

The panel favoured the “punishment essentially be graded with reference to the harm caused to the consumer due to the consumption of adulterated food and drinks”.

 It recommended suitable changes in Sections 272 and 273 of the Indian Penal Code.
“The low quantum of punishment and uncertainty surrounding sentencing lends itself to and encourages food safety offences. Raising the overall limit of punishment cannot be enough, however, and a graded framework is hence proposed,” it said.

On a PIL by Swami Achyutanand Tirth, the apex court had in May directed the Centre to bring in amendments in the Indian Penal Code, as done by states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha , enhancing jail term to the imprisonment for life with or without fine for the offence of food adulteration.

The commission made the report based on a reference by the Union government in November for a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system.