SC: Can’t in­voke Art 142 to lessen min­i­mum pun­ish­ment

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Na­tion -

Writ­ing the judg­ment for the bench, Jus­tice Gupta said, “In cases of food com­ing un­der the Act, it is not re­quired to prove that ar­ti­cle of food was in­ju­ri­ous to health. In this case, the only ques­tion to be de­ter­mined is whether the ar­ti­cle com­plies with the stan­dards laid down or not? If it fails to com­ply with the stan­dards, then it will have to be treated as an adul­ter­ated ar­ti­cle, even if it is not ren­dered in­ju­ri­ous to health. Even marginal de­vi­a­tion from the pre­scribed stan­dards can­not be ig­nored.”

The bench said the ac­cused could not be per­mit­ted to in­voke the SC’s power un­der Ar­ti­cle 142 of the Con­sti­tu­tion to lessen the min­i­mum pre­scribed pun­ish­ment of six months as the leg­is­la­ture pro­vided it con­sid­er­ing the bane of adul­ter­ation and the ef­fect sub­stan­dard food has on the health of cit­i­zens, es­pe­cially chil­dren when milk is in­volved. “Pas­sage of time can be no ex­cuse to award a sen­tence lesser than the min­i­mum,” it said.

Ask­ing the milk­man toserve out the sen­tence, the bench said, “Power un­der Ar­ti­cle 142 can­not be ex­er­cised in such a man­ner that they make a mock­ery of law it­self.”

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