A parliamentary panel has recommended a minimum imprisonment of six months for those selling adulterate food or drinks along with a minimum fine of Rs 25,000.
In view of the serious health issues that can result from the consumption of adulterated food, the punishment provided for the offenders under this clause is inadequate, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs headed by BJP MP Brijlal said.
“The committee recommends that a minimum punishment of six months be provided for the offence under this clause along with a minimum fine of Rs 25,000,” it said.
Referring to the sale of noxious food or drinks, the panel said the offence has the potential to affect the public at large and that the punishment provided for the offenders under this clause is also inadequate.
“The committee recommends that a minimum punishment of six months be provided for the offence under this clause along with a minimum fine of Rs 10,000,” it said.
At present, the offence of food adulteration is punishable with a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to R 1,000, or with both.
The committee also described as a “welcome step” the introduction of “community service” as one of the punishments under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS).
“This is a very commendable effort and a reformatory approach to tackle the delinquent. Its introduction as a punishment was appreciated by all stakeholders as it shall not only reduce the burden on the prison infrastructure by reducing the number of prison inmates but also improve the management of prisons in the country,” the panel said.
However, the committee said, the term and nature of community service has not been specified.
The committee observes that community service represents a form of unpaid work that offenders might be obligated to undertake as an alternative to incarceration.
“The committee, therefore, recommends that the term and nature of community service should be specified and suitably defined,” it said.
The panel also recommended that while inserting definition of the phrase “community service” in the proposed law, a provision may also be made with regard to making a person responsible to supervise the punishment given in the form of community service.
The committee also undertook a detailed examination of the text of each clause and noted that the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita contains some typographical and grammatical errors.
“The committee is of the view that even a single typographical or grammatical error in the Sanhita has the potential to be misinterpreted and diluting the intent of the provision. The committee, therefore, recommends the Ministry to rectify such typographical and grammatical errors,” it said.
The Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS-2023) bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 11 along with the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS-2023) and the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA-2023) bills.
The three proposed laws seek to replace the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, 1898, the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, respectively.
The reports of the parliamentary panel were submitted to the Rajya Sabha on Friday last.