New Delhi, June 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday sought response from the Uttar Pradesh government on a plea by an octogenarian man seeking bail in a milk adulteration case, in which he was convicted nearly four decades ago.
A vacation bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Rajesh Bindal queried counsel, representing the petitioner Virendra Singh, to explain the reasons for delay in filing the appeal. Counsel agreed that there was a ten-year delay challenging the high court order and pointed out that it was not intentional as his client was residing at a different address as per the record.
Counsel submitted that his client got to know about the high court order when he was asked to surrender in the month of April following a non-bailable arrest warrant issued against him by the trial court.
After hearing submissions, the bench said, “Issue notice on the application seeking condonation of delay as well as on the petition.”
On June 6, the Supreme Court had agreed to examine a plea by Singh hailing from Uttar Pradesh, convicted for selling adulterated milk, nearly four decades ago, seeking suspension of his sentence and bail.
Singh’s counsel sought urgent listing of the plea seeking a direction to suspend the conviction and sentence, citing his 85-year-old client’s deteriorating health.
The lawyer urged the court to release Singh on bail pending a decision on his petition for suspension of sentence.
The petitioner has claimed that he is suffering from various ailments including asthma and also undergoing treatment at the jail hospital in Bulandshahr.
Singh was apprehended selling adulterated milk in October 1981 and he was convicted in September 1984 by a trial court. The trial court sentenced him to one year rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 under the provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.
He moved the sessions court against the trial court order, which affirmed the trial court order in July 1987.
He moved the Allahabad High Court in July 1987, which delivered a verdict in January 2013, upholding his conviction but reduced the sentence to six months rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs 2,000.
After being on bail for over three decades, the petitioner surrendered before the trial court in April 2023 and deposited the Rs 2,000 fine. He was arrested and sent to jail.
Singh is currently lodged in Bulandshahar district jail. He has sought, as an interim relief, quashing of charges levelled against him in August 1984, under section 7/16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.
He claimed that the case against him was lodged after he was allegedly found selling adulterated milk in October 1981. The plea contended that a food inspector checked the milk and obtained samples.
Singh moved the apex court seeking a direction to suspend his conviction and sentence against the backdrop of his deteriorating health.