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