Nil conviction for food adulteration
In the last three years, not a single person or a company has been convicted by Court for food adulteration in Mumbai as per information supplied under the RTI Act by the Maharashtra Food and Drug Control Administration and its Greater Mumbai wing. Lack of even a single conviction during 2009, 2010 and 2011 has raised questions about the effectiveness of the agencies and the working of the courts .
In Mumbai, there were 1,175 and 1,208 cases running in the magistrate court in 2009-10 and 2010-11, respectively, for instances of food adulteration/ misbranding of food and similar other types. Out of these, 12 cases were decided in 2009-10 and 8 cases in 2010-11 and the accused were acquitted in all the 20 cases so decided. In the Thane district the highest number of prosecutions in the state was registered with 1,175 pending cases in 2009-10 and 1,208 in 2010-11 out of which no case has reached finality in the last three years.
45 raids were conducted by the FDA in 2011 and the data showed that 20 were milk and milk product adulterators, nine were held for gutka adulteration and seven for oil. The rest of the cases included traders using carbide for ripening, high caffeine containing energy drinks etc.. No case was booked against non-edible colours, use of toxic chemicals for food, ethyl alcohol in liquor and unhygienic water, exaggerated health claims etc.. Apart from Mumbai and Thane, nearby areas such as Raigad and Nasik have registered a zero conviction rate.
The overall picture for the country too does not present a bright picture. Ten states in India had zero conviction in the year 2010. Some states like Rajasthan had 1,738 adulterated samples from 7,752 samples seized but the number of convicts produced by the state was merely 10. The only exception seems to be Jammu and Kashmir which registered 491 convictions against 532 adulterated samples produced before the court in 2010.