News on Adulterated Milk

Supreme Court pushes to give milk adulterer life in prison
Friday, 28/02/2014

Acting tough on rampant milk adulteration, the Supreme Court on Thursday gave the Centre a two-week ultimatum to specify whether an amendment will be carried out to make the offence punishable by life imprisonment.

The Supreme Court has directed the government to intensify checks during the festive season, when demand peaks

"The poisoning in the body is gradual and once it happens people think they are afflicted with cancer and nobody blames milk. Are you waiting for them to add cyanide in milk? Only then instant death will be caused for you to take action," a Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Vikramjit Sen asked the lawyer for Centre and states.

"A proper amendment enhancing the punishment from present six months under the Food Safety and Standards Authority Act (FSSA) is necessary in the larger public interest so that such type of crimes could be curbed to a large extent," the court said.

The Bench suggested an amendment in law after the Uttar Pradesh government said that they faced a hurdle in prosecuting adulterators under the Indian Penal Code and seeking their life imprisonment after the Allahabad High Court ruled in 2010 that the IPC cannot be invoked when the FSSA should prevail.

The Uttar Pradesh government said that an appeal against the HC ruling was pending in the SC, but the matter was yet to be taken up.

Anurag Tomar, the lawyer for the petitioner in the PIL, argued that "Only an amendment of the law would be the effective way out, given the confusion and contradiction."

While the apex court found from the status reports filed by Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand that adulteration was rampant in these states, Delhi claimed that there was no adulteration of milk in the Capital.

Appearing for Delhi, additional solicitor general Mohan Jain said that out of 425 samples collected between January 1, 2012 and January 31 this year, 31 samples were found to be sub-standard (only deficient in milk fat and milk solids) but no "synthetic material like urea, plastic, refined oil, starch were found in them."

The SC took serious note of contradictory affidavits filed from Uttarakhand and Maharashtra.

One claimed no adulteration, while the other - filed by some other department or independent surveyor - found rampant adulteration.

The court has sought affidavits from both the states.

On January 30 certain states put forward a ludicrous argument that the menace seems to be growing because the cows are eating plastic.


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