Now, life imprisonment for adulterating food, drugs
Maharashtra state amends IPC and CrPc to make offence punishable with harsh sentence and fine
Those who adulterate milk, food and drugs will now get life imprisonment for the crime. While making the punishment harsher, the state assembly has also made the offence cognisable and non-bailable. So far, sections 272 to 276 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) made adulteration punishable with imprisonment of up to six months, or fine which may extend to R1,000, or both. The offences were bailable.
Food and Drugs Minister Girish Bapat tabled a bill to amend the existing law which the power house approved unanimously on Thursday. The law has been amended on the lines of the initiative taken by Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
He said the amendment was needed because offenders were benefitting from the loopholes in the act. "The amendment will make the enforcement stringent and offence punishable with a harsher sentence and fine. This should help us control the menace more effectively, " Bapat said.
The amended law will cover adulteration of food, drink, drug (medical preparations). It will not only punish the sellers (dispensers) but also the manufactures and importers. The new law will be known as Indian Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 2018.
The statement of objects and reasons of the bill said that arrest and detention of the accused was necessary for the purposes of adequate and effective investigation and collection of evidence in time.
"Since the offences under the [previous] sections of the IPC were non-cognisable and bailable, the police and Food Safety Officers/Drug Inspectors faced difficulties in investigating the crimes that affected the health of the public at large. Therefore, there is urgent need for stringent punishment," said the statement.
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