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Death by adulterated food may lead to life term (Relevant for GS Prelims, Mains Paper II and III)

Recommendations of The Law Commission of India
1.    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 or “noxious” food and drink, saying that punishment should be proportional to the crime.
2.    The guilty should pay the victim's family a sum of Rs. 10 lakh as fine for his crime.

Reasons for recommendations : Victims of greed
The Commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge, 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.

Current law
Under Sections 272 and 273 of the colonial-era Indian Penal Code of 1860, the guilty get away with either a fine of Rs. 1000 or, rarely, an imprisonment of six months for selling adulterated or noxious 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)'.

Background
The report was spurred by a Supreme Court direction to the government in Swami Achyutanand Tirth versus Union of India, which dealt with rampant adulteration in milk supplied to school students, for urgent amendments in the penal law and bring punishment on food adulteration up to the times.



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