The Supreme Court has favoured life imprisonment for the offence of milk adulteration and urged the central government to amend the Indian Penal Code to make the punishment deterrent for offenders. A bench of Chief Justice of India T S Thakur and Justice R Banumathi has maintained that it is high time that the Centre revisit the IPC, as well as the Food Safety and Standards Act to make sure that stringent penalties are provided under the law.
The apex court preferred to the amendments made to Section 272 (adulteration of food and drinks) in the IPC by the states such as Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and West Benagl, by providing life term as the maximum punishment for adulteration.
“Since in India traditionally infants / children are fed milk, adulteration of milk and its products is a concern and stringent measures need to be taken to combat it. The consumption of adulterated milk and adulterated milk products is hazardous to human health. It will be in order if the Union of India come up with suitable amendments in the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and the Union of India shall also make penal provisions on par with the provisions contained in the State amendments,” said the court.
The bench added “it is also desirable that Union of India revisits the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 to revise the punishment for adulteration making it more deterrent in cases where the adulterant can have an adverse impact on health”.
“For curbing milk adulteration, an appropriate state level committee headed by the Chief Secretary or the Secretary of Dairy Department and District level Committee headed by the concerned District Collector shall be constituted as is done in the state of Maharashtra to take the review of the work done to curb the milk adulteration in the district and in the state by the authorities,” directed the court.