M.L. Pendse, J.
1. This application has been filed under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Article 227 of the Constitution of India for quashing the Criminal Case No. 95 of 1980 pending in the Court of Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Dindori and the process issued by the trial Magistrate under sections 167 and 504 of the Indian Penal Code.
2. The facts would unfurl how respondent No. 1 is abusing the process of the Court by institution of criminal proceedings against the petitioner. The petitioner is a Food Inspector working in the office of the Assistant Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration, Nasik. The petitioner was appointed under section 9 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 and the duties includes inspecting the shops, hotels and to draw samples when it is suspected that the food articles are adulterated.
3. On July 20, 1979 at about 12.30 in the afternoon, the petitioner visited the shop of respondent No. 1 situated at Dindori in Nasik District with intention to inspect the food articles. Respondent No. 1 alone was present in the shop and when the petitioner demanded the inspection of the food articles and the licence issued under the Food Adulteration Rules, respondent No. 1 threatened him by claiming that he is a freedom fighter and known social worker in the area and no Inspector should visit his shop. Respondent No. 1 also threatened the petitioner that in case he insisted in carrying out his duties, respondent No. 1 would involve him in a false case of demand of bribe. The petitioner thereupon left the shop and went to the Police Station for seeking help to discharge his functions. The petitioner made a written request at the Dindori Police Station. The petitioner also sent a telephonic message to his superior at Nasik and explained to him what transpired at the shop of respondent No. 1 and requested that help should be sent to enable the petitioner to carry out the work. On receipt of this message three Food Inspectors were sent from Nasik to Dindori to assist the petitioner. The petitioner also secured assistance of two Police Constables of Dindori Police Station and all of them went to the shop of respondent No. 1 at about 4.45 in the evening. Respondent No. 1 was present in the shop and after the Inspectors and the Police Constables disclosed their identity, respondent No. 1 permitted the petitioner to draw the samples from various food articles, like ground nut-oil, coconut oil Elaichi etc. while the petitioner was busy in drawing up the panchanama and was preparing the lables, forms etc. as required under the provisions of the Act, respondent No. 1 rushed towards the petitioner and snatched from his hand the document which the petitioner was preparing in support of the fact of obtaining samples. Respondent No. 1 also threatened the Panch witnesses who were called there for drawing up of the Panchanama. Respondent No. 1 as well as some other persons manhandled the petitioner and his shirt was torn and he suffered certain minor injuries. The petitioner was treated at the Civil Hospital. Nasik.
4. The petitioner thereafter lodged a complaint against respondent No. 1 at Dindori Police Station complaining that he was obstructed in the discharge of his duties and he was also manhandled by respondent No. 1. On the basis of the complaint the police carried out the investigation and a charge-sheet was filed against respondent No. 1 under sections 353 and 352 of the Indian Penal Code. The criminal case was numbered as 425 of 1979 and was lodged in the Court of Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Dindori on July 13, 1979, i.e. within 10 days of the occurrence at the shop of respondent No. 1. The petitioner submitted the relevant documents to his superiors and the prosecution was launched against respondent No. 1 on May 30, 1980 for having committed the offence under sections 16(1)(c) and 16(1)(d) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. Both these complaints filed against respondent No. 1 are still pending in the Criminal Court.
5. Respondent No. 1, as a counter-blast filed Criminal Case No. 95 of 1980 on December 4, 1979 before the Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Dindori against the petitioner, Inspector Suralkar, Inspector Nasik, Constables Sonavane and Havsule. Respondent No. 1 claimed that on July 20, 1979 accused No. 1 came to his shop and demanded an amount of Rs. 500/-. The complainant claims that when the demand was turned down the petitioner threatened respondent No. 1 that he would be sent to jail for a period of six months. The complainant asserts that as a bribe was demanded by the petitioner he immediately telephoned to the Police Station at Dindori but Inspector Wagh, who was incharge, declined to take the message and called respondent No. 1 to the Police Station. Respondent No. 1 further claims that when he visited the Police Station the Police Officer was not inclined to record his complaint. Respondent No. 1 further asserts that in the afternoon by about 6 O'clock the three Inspectors and two Police Constables entered his shop and forcibly secured the samples and made a false report with a view to cause harassment to the complainant. It was further claimed that all the accused abused the complainant in filthy language and threatened to assault him. On this complaint, the trial Magistrate has issued process under sections 167 and 504 of the Indian Penal Code only against the petitioner by his order dated February 21, 1980 and that has given rise to the present petition.
6. Shri Zambre, the learned Counsel appearing in support of the petition, submitted that the complaint filed by respondent No. 1 is nothing but an abuse of the process of the Court. I find considerable merit in the submission of the learned Counsel. From the facts stated hereinabove it is crystal clear that respondent No. 1 has got some curious notions about his being a freedom fighter and social worker. The petitioner in the discharge of his duties has visited the shop of respondent No. 1 and the fact that he was required to take the assistance of the constables from Dindori Police Station and also required to seek assistance of his superiors speaks volumes. It is obvious that respondent No. 1 has lodged the complaint in question merely as a counter-blast to the two prosecutions launched against him. Shri Kankaria appearing on behalf of respondent No. 1, urged that the complaint discloses an offence and the Magistrate was perfectly justified in issuing the process. In my judgment, the submission is not correct. The Magistrate has clearly overlooked some of the salient features of the case. Though the complaint alleges that the petitioner demanded the bribe of Rs. 500/- on July 20, 1979, the complaint in question was lodged only on December 4, 1979, i.e. almost after more than 4 months. The complaint has not stated one word in the complaint about the delay in lodging this complaint. It is also clear from the complaint that the complainant had grievance not only against the Inspectors appointed under the Food Adulteration Act, but also against the constables of Dindori Police Station and Inspector Wagh who was Station Officer at the relevant time, but the complaint no where discloses as to when and at what time the complainant visited the Police Station. From the complaint itself, it is clear that the petitioner was present at the Police Station when the complainant reached there. That itself indicates that the complainant apprehending that he would be prosecuted for obstructing the public servant has gone to the Police Station with a view to avoid the prosecution. The trial Magistrate has totally ignored all these facets of the matter and mechanically issued the process against the petitioner. The fact that the Magistrate has issued process only against the petitioner and not against the remaining accused indicates that the Magistrate was not at all satisfied about the wild allegations made by the complainant in the complaint and in his statement. In my judgment, the complaint filed by respondent No. 1 is clearly with a view to bring pressure upon the petitioner and other Officers appointed under the Food Adulteration Act to withdraw the prosecution launched against him. The lodging of the complaint is nothing short of abuse of process of the Court and cannot be permitted to continue and the petitioner is entitled to the relief sought in the petition.
7. As I am holding in favour of the petitioner, on the merits, itself, it is not necessary to consider the question whether the complaint was maintainable in absence of sanction as the petitioner was a public servant and the offence alleged is one in the discharge of his duties.
8. Accordingly, the petition succeeds and the rule is made absolute and the Criminal Case No. 95 of 1980 filed by respondent No. 1 before the Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Dindori and the order of process issued by the Magistrate on February 21, 1980 are quashed.