The Centre has constituted a committee to suggest amendments in the Food Safety and Standards Authority Act (FSSA) to make milk adulteration punishable with a stricter jail term.
At present, food adulteration is punishable under the Indian Penal Code and a convicted person can be sent to jail for six months. Under the FSSA, a person who manufactures sells or stores food harmful for human consumption can be imprisoned for a maximum period of seven years.
The Supreme Court’s observations condemning the government for turning a blind eye towards the growing menace of milk adulteration has prompted the Centre to form the committee. The top court is hearing a PIL filed by Uttarakhand resident Swami Achyutanand Tirth who had in 2013 approached it alleging adulterated milk was available in large scale in several North Indian cities.
In an affidavit filed before the court, the Centre said the committee under RK Jain, secretary, national disaster management authority, was constituted on December 16 last. The first meeting took place on January 9, 2015 and the report would be ready by February end. “The committee is expected to complete its work in 45 days from the date of its first meeting,” the affidavit stated.
SC has been advocating states to make local amendments in section 272 of the IPC to make milk adulteration an offence punishable with life imprisonment.
West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh have already made the changes, it had noted.