The procedure for launching the prosecution under FSSAI act envisages that the designated officer after due assessment of the report prepared by the food analyst will decide whether the contraventions are punishable with imprisonment or with only fine. In case the contravention is punishable with fine then he shall sanction the prosecution and authorize the food safety officer to file the prosecution with the adjudicating officer, but if the contravention is punishable with imprisonment, the designated officer will send a recommendation to the commissioner of food safety within 14 days from the food analysis report. The commissioner has been given a sole discretionary power to refer the matter to the courts of ordinary or special jurisdiction according to the gravity of the offence. The flowchart of the procedure for launching the prosecution has been demonstrated below:
ORDER OF THE ADJUDICATING OFFICER
After due consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case if the adjudicating officer is satisfied is satisfied that the accused person has committed an offence and is liable for penalty and /or any administrative action under this act, may through written order impose the requisite penalty.
If the adjudicating officer is of the opinion that the persons against whom the inquiry has been conducted, he may dismiss the case.
The adjudicating officer has to pass the final order within 90 days from the date of first hearing in the case and briefly state the reasons for his decisions. The relevant order should be signed by him and a copy of it has to send to the food safety officer who has filed the application for the adjudication.
APPEAL TO FOOD SAFETY APPELLATE TRIBUNAL
Appeal can be filed against the order of the adjudicating officer in the food safety appellate tribunal either by the central government or the state government within 30 days from the passing of the order, it can be extended to 60 days if the tribunal is satisfied that there were sufficient reasons for not filing it within the prescribed 30 days time period.
PROCEDURE FOR FILING THE APPEAL
A memorandum of appeal in triplicate should be presented by the aggrieved food business operator or by his duly authorized agent or by a duly appointed along with the fee in form X in the registry of the appellate tribunal along with the payable fee.
After the appeal has been filed, the registrar will scrutinize it and is not found defective will register the same.A memorandum of appeal and paper book will be served to the respondent by the registrar, the reply of which has to be sent back within 30 days.
No court shall take cognizance of the offence after the expiry of 1 year from the date when the offence is committed. However, the commissioner of food safety may approve the condonation of delay upto 3 years if satisfied with the reasons for such delay.
IMPORTANT FAQ’S ON PROSECUTION
1. Who are responsible for launching the prosecution?
The commissioner of food safety, designated officer and the food safety officer jointly are responsible for launching a prosecution.
2. Who scrutinizes the report of the food analyst for launching a prosecution?
The designated officer scrutinizes the report of the food analyst and decides the prosecution is of fine or imprisonment.
3. Where will the prosecution be launched in case the contravention is only punishable with fine?
With only fine the prosecution will be launched before the adjudicating officer.
4. What does sanction of prosecution means?
It is a written consent of the competent authority to launch a prosecution before the appropriate court.
5. Can an appeal be made against the order of adjudicating officer?
Yes, it can be filed before the food safety appellate tribunal.
6. Is there any time frame under which the prosecution is to be launched?
As per FSSAI, no court should take cognizance of an offence after the expiry of period of one year from the date of commission of offence.
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