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Raghav Gupta vs State (NCT Of Delhi)

The court heard the special leave petition filed by the appellant in which he questioned his prosecution under Rule 32(e) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955, framed under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954.

This was a Non reportable Judgement Passed by the Hon'ble Bench.

Raghav Gupta vs State (Nct Of Delhi) on 4 September, 2020 - Bench: Rohinton Fali Nariman, Navin Sinha, Hon'ble Ms. Banerjee
Appellant: Raghav Gupta (director of M/s V & V beverages Pvt. Ltd) - Respondent: State (NCT Of Delhi)

Facts
The Appellant imported Snapple Juice Drink from a foreign manufacturer by the name of Schweppes International Rye Brook and the shipment was duly cleared by the Customs department.

The sample of Snapple juice (sealed) was purchased by the Food inspector on the date 03/05/2011 for an analysis.

The analysis report came out on the date 30/05/2011 and it stated that sample was at par and confirmed to all standards but was 'misbranded' for being in violation of rule 32 (e) as it failed to declare the much-required lot/ batch numbers.

On receiving the report, the Food inspector filed a complaint against the Appellant and a notice was issued against him under section 251 of the Code of the criminal Procedure. (CrPC).
The Appellant filed a discharge application under section 294 of the CrPC read with section 192 of the Act inter alia. He claimed that his product sample possessed the barcode which contained all the relevant information as required by Rule 32(e) such as batch no./code no./lot no.

The application was rejected and the appellant appealed to the high court, where the court once again rejected his application.
 
Court's Reasoning And Judgement
The hon'ble Court based its judgement on the reasoning and the arguments provided by Senior Counsel Ms. Geeta Luthra (that all the information required under rule 32(e) was already available on the barcode on the product)

The court was of the opinion that Shri Jayant K. Sud, learned Addl. Solicitor General appearing for the respondent could not Appropriately counter the arguments and reasoning provided by the counsel of the appellant.

The Court held that the present question of fact was not the presence of the barcode.

According to court the question of fact was whether the guidelines given by the rule 32(e) of the act were being met.

Concluding from the available facts, the court was of the opinion that necessary information was available on the barcode and it could be generated by the manufacturer by decoding the barcode with the help of a barcode scanner.

The Court called allowing the prosecution to continue in this case as a 'waste of time and an abuse of the process of law' and also mere unnecessary harassment for the appellant.
Hence, the court quashed the prosecution and allowed the appeal.

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