By LE Desk
New Delhi, June 9, 2021: A lawyer arguing for the anticipatory bail in a food adulteration case was left befuddled when the Supreme Court said it will consider allowing his plea if he and his family were willing to eat what his clients were selling.
As the lawyer, Puneet Jain, took time to reflect and the court said that it was not inclined to give anticipatory bail in a case like this, he chose to withdraw the petition, the Hindustan Times reported.
“Will you or your family eat this food? We will consider allowing the bail if your answer is a yes,” a bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and MR Shah told advocate Jain on Tuesday. The court asked Jain why it was difficult for him to answer such a basic question. “Or is it that let other people die? Why should we bother?”
Jain’s clients Prawar Goyal and Vineet Goyal moved the court seeking pre-arrest bail in the case registered against them in December in Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch district.
Jain pressed for their anticipatory bail, saying the charges pertaining to food adulteration were bailable and therefore, it will not serve any purpose to arrest his clients first. He added only the charge of cheating was non-bailable for which his clients were required to secure bail from a trial court. But no such offence was made out as per the First Information Report, he added.
The two are accused of selling wheat after polishing it with non-edible golden offset colour. Several thousand kilograms of polished wheat was confiscated from their premises after a raid in December. The two have been charged under the Indian Penal Code sections related to food adulteration and sale of noxious food items.
Last week, another bench of the court refused to grant anticipatory bail to an accused in a food adulteration case, observing that these offences were against the entire society.
“You are trying to kill not just one person but the entire society by selling spurious food. Such offences cannot be taken lightly,” the bench of Justices BR Gavai and Krishna Murari commented while refusing bail to one Dibyalochan Behera, the Hindustan Times reported.
Behera’s lawyer argued on June 4 that the ghee he was accused of adulterating was not meant for eating since it was being supplied only to the temples for lighting lamps.
Amused by the submission, the bench retorted: “This is just so good. And what was your chilli sauce for? Was it for decorating the deity or for abhisheka (consecration) of the idols? Not a single product of yours is unadulterated.”