HINDUSTAN UNILEVER LTD. Vs. STATE OF RAJASTHAN AND ORS.
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: RAJASTHAN)
HINDUSTAN UNILEVER LTD.
State of Rajasthan And Ors.
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(1.) By the impugned order under challenge dated 12.01.2015 a learned Single Judge of Jaipur Bench of the Rajasthan High Court chose to reject appellant's prayer to quash criminal case bearing CC No.2776/2000 under Section 16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (PFA Act) pending on the file of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jaipur City, Jaipur. As a consequence, appellant's application under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure bearing Criminal Miscellaneous Petition No.444 of 2008 stands dismissed by the High Court.
(2.) A perusal of the complaint petition filed by Food Inspector in the office of the Chief Medical and Health Officer, Jaipur discloses that appellant along with five others has been arrayed as accused. As per allegations, a sample of Kesar Pista ice cream was taken by the Food Inspector from a dealer of the appellant's product on 05.04.1999. After taking the necessary steps samples in three empty bottles were prepared to which required quantity of formalin was also added in each bottle. One sample was sent for analysis to the Public Analyst as required by the provisions of the PFA Act. As per report of the Public Analyst dated 19.04.1999 the sample was found to be adulterated as it did not conform to the prescribed standards. According to the complainant all the required steps were taken as per law and complaint was filed on 23.11.2000 against all the accused persons including the appellant under Section 16 of the PFA Act and Rule 50(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 framed under the said Act. One co-accused exercised his right under Section 13(2) of the PFA Act and on his application said to be dated 03.01.2001, the learned Magistrate took a final decision to send the second sample for re-analysis by an order passed as late as on 05.02.2004. The Central Food Laboratory (CFL) gave its report dated 06.07.2004 to the effect that "sample received deteriorated and was not in a condition fit for analysis".
In September 2004 learned Magistrate directed the prosecution to produce the third sample. Such direction was reiterated in November 2007. In March 2008 the appellant moved the High Court with the quashing petition but the same was ultimately dismissed by the impugned order dated 12.01.2015.
(3.) Mr. Sidharth Luthra, learned senior advocate appearing for the appellant highlighted before us the provisions of Section 13(2) of the PFA Act to submit that a valuable right has been conferred upon the accused that if he or they so desire, any of them can make an application to the court to get another sample of the article of food analysed by the CFL. He also highlighted that under sub-section (3) of Section 13 the certificate issued by the Director of the CFL in terms of sub-section (2B) supersedes the report of the Public Analyst under sub-section (1) of Section 13.;
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