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The Food Inspector, Penugonda Municipality Vs. Dwarampudi Gangireddy - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal;Food Adulteration
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 490 of 1979
Judge
Reported in1981CriLJ393
ActsPrevention of Food Adulteration Act - Sections 2, 7 and 16(1)
AppellantThe Food Inspector, Penugonda Municipality
RespondentDwarampudi Gangireddy
Respondent AdvocateM. Narasimha Chari and ;A.V.K.S. Prasad, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....- burden of proof falls on accused to prove that such deterioration was due to natural causes - food articles need not be injurious to health for being treated as adulterated - magistrate himself satisfied with accuracy of analyst report which proves deterioration in quality - accused liable to be sentenced for offence of adulteration of food article. - motor vehicles act (59 of 1988)section 149 (2): [v. gopala gowda & jawad rahim, jj] insurers entitlement to defend the action joint appeal by insured and insurer - held, the language employed in enacting sub-section (2) of section 149 appears to be plain and simple and there is no ambiguity in it. it shows that when an insurer is impleaded and has been given notice of the case, it is entitled to defend the action only on grounds..........causes and beyond the control of human agency. once it is established by the prosecution that the sample is adulterated within the meaning of section 2(ia)(m) of the act, the burden shifts to the accused to establish that the adulteration was solely due to natural causes and beyond the control of human agency, so as to entitle him to escape from the mischief contained in the main sub-clause. the proviso appended to section 16(1) of the act cannot be read as casting any burden on the prosecution to establish in a case falling under section 2(ia)(m) of the act that the adulterated article of food was not solely due to natural causes and beyond the control of human agency. the proviso is referable to cases falling under s. 2(ia)(m) or section 2(ix) of the act. in all such cases, the court.....
Judgment:

1. This appeal is preferred by the State against the judgment rendered by the Second Additional Munsif Magistrate, Tanuku, acquitting the respondent-accused of the charge framed against him under Section 16(1) and 7 read with Section 2(ia)(m) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, hereinafter called, the Act.

2. The facts giving rise to the appeal lie in a narrow compass and do not admit of any controversy.

3. On 23-6-1977 at 9-30 a.m. P.W. 1 the Food Inspector of Penugonda Gram Panchayat, purchased a sample of milk from the accused after complying with the procedure prescribed by the Act. On analysis of the sample by the Public Analyst it was found to adulterated, as borne out by Ex. P-5. Neither the factum of sale of the sample by the accused P.W. 1 nor the accuracy of the report of the Public Analyst was doubted by the learned Magistrate. The learned Magistrate, however, acquitted the accused on the ground that there was no evidence that the adulterated sample was injurious to health and that sale of adulterated articles of food without being injurious to health was outside the purview of the Act.

4. Sri Narsimhachari, learned counsel for the accused fairly concedes that the view taken by the learned Magistrate is erroneous. He, however, submits that it is for the prosecution to establish that the adulteration of the sample was not solely due to natural causes and beyond the control of human agency. Reliance is placed upon Section 2(ia)(m) of the Act which runs thus :

'2. Definitions :- In this Act unless the context otherwise require, ..... ......... .......

(ia) 'adulterated' - an article of food shall be deemed to be adulterated - ............. .........

(m) if the quality or purity of the article falls below the prescribed standard to its constituents are present in quantities not within the prescribed limits of variability but which does not render it injurious to health :

Provided that, where the quality or purity of the article, being primary food, has fallen below the prescribed standards or its constituents are present in quantities not within the prescribed limits of variability, in either case, solely due to natural causes and beyond the control of human agency, then such article shall not be deemed to be adulterated within meaning of this sub-clause. Explanation :- Where two or more articles of primary food are mixed together and the resultant article of food -

(a) is stored, sold or disturbed under a name which denotes the ingredients thereof; and

(b) is not injurious to health, then, such resultant article shall not be deemed to be adulterated within the meaning of this clause.'

It may be noted that under Section 2(ia)(m) of the Act, an article of food is deemed to be adulterated if the quality or purity of the article falls below the prescribed standard or its constituents are present in quantities not within the prescribed standard or its constituents are present in quantities not within the prescribed limits of variability, but which does not render it injurious to health. It is not denied tat the adulterated sample of milk collected from the accused by P.W. 1 was not injurious to health. The accused was, therefore, prosecuted under Section 2(ia)(m) of the Act. The proviso appended to Section 2(ia)(m) of the Act takes away the adulterated article of food from its purview if the adulteration was solely due to natural causes and beyond the control of human agency. Once it is established by the prosecution that the sample is adulterated within the meaning of Section 2(ia)(m) of the Act, the burden shifts to the accused to establish that the adulteration was solely due to natural causes and beyond the control of human agency, so as to entitle him to escape from the mischief contained in the main sub-clause. The proviso appended to Section 16(1) of the Act cannot be read as casting any burden on the prosecution to establish in a case falling under Section 2(ia)(m) of the Act that the adulterated article of food was not solely due to natural causes and beyond the control of human agency. The proviso is referable to cases falling under S. 2(ia)(m) or Section 2(ix) of the Act. In all such cases, the Court may for adequate and special reasons to be recorded by it, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three months. In other words, in such cases, the minimum sentence of compulsory imprisonment for a term of six months prescribed under Section 16 is reduced to three months on account of the mitigating circumstance that the adulterated articles of food covered by such cases is not injurious to health. It, therefore, follows that the accused is guilty of the offence enacted in Section 2(ia)(m) of the Act and the acquittal of the accused of the said charge by the learned Magistrate is erroneous.

5. I must also observe that the learned Magistrate lost sight of the fact that the accused was also charged under Section 2(ia)(m) of the Act. On his own finding that the sample was adulterated, the accused should have been squarely found guilty of the same on the said charge.

6. There is no substance in the other submission made by Sri Narsimhachari that as the Analyst found the sample to be deficient of the minimum amount of solids-non-fat, it would not necessarily mean that the sample was adulterated. To accept the contention put forward by the learned counsel for the accused would be to do violence to the definition of the expression 'adulterated' in Section 2(ia) of acquittal of the accused passed by the learned Magistrate and find the accused guilty of both the offences under Section 2(ia) (a) and (m) of the Act and sentence him to suffer simple imprisonment for a term of three months only as the offences were committed in the year 1977. In the result the appeal is allowed.

7. Appeal allowed.


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