The Law Commission of India has recommended life imprisonment for traders, businessmen and shopkeepers found guilty of the death of their customers by intentionally selling them adulterated food and drink, saying that punishment should be proportional to the crime.

The Commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justices B.S. Chauhan, highlighted how innocent human lives, especially those of pregnant women and children in anganwadis and government schools, fall victim to the greed of individuals looking for a slight margin by selling adulterated food and drinks to unsuspecting consumers.

Currently, under Sections 272 and 273 of the Indian Penal Code, the guilty get away with either a fine of Rs. 1000 or, rarely, an imprisonment of six months for selling adulterated food and drink with fatal results.

The Law Commission recommendations are now on the government’s table, awaiting a decision.

The suggested amendments in penal law for food adulteration is the focus of the Commission’s 264th report titled ‘The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2017 (Provisions dealing with Food Adulteration)’. “The Commission feels that food adulteration, which is a threat to human life, must invite stringent punishment so that it acts as a deterrent. Punishment must be seen in the light of the harm caused to the consumer who takes in adulterated food and drinks,” the Commission said.

The Commission borrowed the example of three States – Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal – to recommend life imprisonment to those found guilty of causing death by food adulteration.

The Commission has also, besides, life imprisonment, recommended that the guilty should pay the victim’s family a sum of Rs. 10 lakhs as fine for his crime.

Courtesy: NCDRC

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