1. In this case the accused have been convicted under Section 142 (1) of the Bombay District Municipal Act (Bombay Act III of 1901) for selling at a beef-stall meat unfit for human food. The District Magistrate of Thana has made a reference to this Court against these convictions.
2. No offence with reference to meat which is an article of a perishable nature could have been committed under Section 142 (1) and the convictions are clearly wrong. The power which the section gives to the Municipality is the power to destroy forthwith any article which is of a perishable nature, and which in its opinion is diseased, unsound, unwholesome or unfit for food, drink and medicine. The last paragraph of Sub-section (1) relates to any animal and any article which is not of a perishable nature, and which under the next preceding paragraph can be taken before a Magistrate. Mr. Koyajee for the Municipality has not contested this position. But he has suggested in the argument before us that these convictions ought to be upheld on the ground that the facts which are alleged in the information disclose an offence under Section 273 of the Indian Penal Code. It is clear that the complaint related to an offence under a special Act, and not to an offence under Section 273; and it would not be fair to allow the case at this stage to be treated as one relating to an offence under the Indian Penal Code. Further, having regard to the wording of the last para of the sub-section, the Magistrate's finding involves the result that the provisions of Section 273, Indian Penal Code, do not apply to this case. We, therefore, set aside the convictions and sentences, and direct the fine, if paid, to be refunded.