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NEW DELHI: Nearly four decades after being accused of selling adulterated haldi, the Supreme Court on Thursday acquitted a Haryana shopkeeper, setting aside the HC order convicting him under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.
Prem Chand, now 76 years old, was charged after sample of haldi (turmeric) taken from his shop in a village in Sonepat district in 1982 by a food inspector along with a medical officer was found adulterated. The report of the public analyst revealed that it contained four living meal worms and two liveweevils.
The trial court acquitted him in 1995 after holding proceedings for almost 13 years. But 14 years later, Punjab and Haryana HC quashed the order in 2009 and held him guilty of selling adulterated food items. The HC sentenced Chand to undergo imprisonment for six months and pay a fine of Rs 2,000. Chand then approached the Supreme Court.
Allowing his appeal, a bench of Justices N V Ramana, Surya Kant and Krishna Murari said the public analyst took 17 days to prepare the report and tampering of the sample could not be ruled out. “…the sample was received on August 20,1982 and the report was finalised on September 7. There is no evidence the samples were not tampered within the intervening period, therefore benefit of doubt accrues in favour of the accused.” it said.

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