Chandigarh sweetshop owner without licence gets ‘imprisonment till rising of court’ and Rs 1 lakh fine

The Chandigarh district court has held a sweetshop owner guilty of running his business without a licence and sentenced him to imprisonment “till the rising of the court”.

Chief judicial magistrate Aman Inder Singh, who convicted Satish Kumar of Jai Hanuman Sweets Workshop in Chandigarh’s Daria village, also slapped a Rs 1 fine on him on October 12 in a case filed by the food safety officer of the Government Multi-speciality Hospital in Chandigarh Sector 16.

According to the prosecution, it was found during an inspection on October 26, 2018, that Kumar, who made and sold sweets like pista burfi, dhodha burfi and gazzak, did not have a licence. Since the challan was issued for not having a licence, the officials did not collect any samples .

Kumar’s counsel argued the case was falsely foisted on him and that there was no independent witness. He also submitted that the officials had not taken any samples of the sweets or the raw material during the inspection. Since his shop’s annual turnover was less than Rs 12 lakh, he was not required to obtain any food licence, the counsel further submitted.

The magistrate, however, said, “Law is well settled that even the sole testimony of the FSO (food safety officer) where the same is reliable and inspires the confidence of the court can form the basis for conviction of the accused and there is no requirement that the testimony of the FSO should be corroborated by the testimony of an independent witness.”

The magistrate also held that there was nothing to suggest the food safety officer had any enmity or hostility towards Kumar.

“Even if it is presumed that annual turnover of the accused was less than Rs 12 lakh, the accused was required to register himself as a petty manufacturer. However, there is nothing on record to prove that the accused has registered himself as such,” the court added.

The magistrate thus convicted Kumar under Section 63 of the Food Safety and Standards Act and said such violations of the law were on the rise.

He made clear that Kumar would have to undergo simple imprisonment for two months if he did not pay the fine.

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