More than 38 years after he was convicted of selling adulterated buffalo milk and sentenced to a year in jail, an octogenarian man from Uttar Pradesh has approached the Supreme Court for suspension of his sentence and bail.
Virendra Singh, a native of Uttar Pradesh, was caught selling adulterated milk on October 7, 1981 and was convicted on September 29, 1984 by a trial court, which awarded him one year rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 under the provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.
He challenged the order before the Bulandshahr sessions court, which on July 14, 1987 affirmed the trial court’s order and upheld his conviction and sentence under the Act.
Aggrieved by the sessions court’s order, Singh moved the Allahabad High Court on July 28, 1987. The high court, by a verdict passed on January 30, 2013, upheld his conviction but reduced the sentence to six months rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs 2,000.
Singh, who was on bail for nearly four decades, surrendered before the trial court on April 20, 2023 and deposited the Rs 2,000 fine, more than a decade after the high court order. He was arrested and sent to jail.
A Supreme Court vacation bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Rajesh Bindal said on Tuesday it will hear Singh's petition on Thursday.
"We will take up the matter for hearing on June 8," the bench told Singh's lawyer Satish Kumar, who sought urgent listing of the petition for suspension of conviction and sentence due to his deteriorating health.
The lawyer prayed for releasing the now 85-year-old Singh on bail pending a decision on his petition for suspension of sentence.
The octogenarian has claimed in his plea that he is suffering from various ailments including asthma. Singh has said he is undergoing treatment at the jail hospital in Bulandshahr where his condition continues to worsen.
Singh's petition says the case against him was lodged after he was allegedly found selling adulterated milk on October 7, 1981. It says a food inspector checked the milk and obtained samples.
"...one part was sent to the public analyst, and as per report of the public analyst, the milk was found adulterated as the alleged fatty solids were 28 per cent less than standard and non fatty solids were 12 per cent less than the standard," the plea said.
It said Singh has filed the Special Leave Petition seeking the indulgence of the court to suspend his conviction and sentence in view of his deteriorating health.
Singh, who is currently lodged in Bulandshahar district jail, has sought as an interim relief quashing of charges levelled against him on August 1, 1984 before the trial court under section 7/16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.
He has claimed he was a bus conductor by profession and had travelled from his native village Kiryawali to Kalyanpur for buying milk for religious rituals.
Singh said he was intercepted by food inspector H C Gupta when he was heading home from Kalyanpur. Samples of the milk he was carrying were obtained and sent for analysis during which they were found to be adulterated.
-With PTI Input