Mumbai: The Cadbury India and its management can now heave a sigh of relief since the Bombay High Court has quashed the criminal proceedings against the firm, initiated after a live insect was found in its chocolate. The HC has quashed and set aside the proceedings that were directed by a judicial magistrate in Akurdi district.
The breather to the firm was granted by a single-judge bench of Justice Anil Menon, who held that if all the directors and the company is prosecuted without presence of specific material, then it would be bad in law. According to the prosecution, in August 2003 a man had filed a complaint against Cadbury India and its directors after he found a live insect a Cadbury milk chocolate, he had purchased. In his complaint with the Yamuna Nagar police station, he also named the retail store from where he had bought the chocolate. Accordingly, a plaint was filed under the Prevention of Food and Adulteration (PFA) Act.
Acting upon the complaint, the food officer of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) raided the retail shop and seized the chocolates. The confiscated chocolates were sent to the State Health Laboratory and Local Health Officer with detailed information. The analysis report had revealed the presence of live grub and concluded that chocolate does not conform to the standards of milk chocolate as per the PFA act. The chocolate was also found to be unfit for human consumption. The investigators had booked all the directors of the company citing that the firm’s nominated officer had left the job.
After hearing the submissions advanced, Justice Menon noted, “There is not a single averment that by virtue of the present applicants, having been directors, they were engaged into the day-to-day affairs of the company. The complaint has dealt with various aspects like seizure of the product, manner of search etc however, there is no allegation in the complaint that the present applicants were engaged in the day-to-day affairs of the manufacture or distribution or storage of the product. There is nothing to connect the applicants with these activities.”
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