1. The sole respondent (accused) was prosecuted for selling edible oil which was found to be adulterated by the Public Analyst. The Additional Munsiff- Magistrate of Tenali who tried the case, acquitted the accused on the ground that there was no reliable evidence to show that the coconut oil which had been mixed with the groundnut oil which had been mixed with the groundnut oil was likely to affect injuriously the health or any other way prejudicially affect the purchaser. The appeal is directed against this order of acquittal.
2. The fact beyond controversy are that the accused was found storing some oils in tins for the purpose of sale in his oil retail shop. This shop is situated in Ravi Anjaiah Street, 8th Ward, Tenali. The Food Inspector of Tenali Municipality purchased a sample of oil from him in the presence of mediators after paying the necessary price. The sample so purchased was divided into three equal parts and sealed in bottles. Once bottle was handed over to the accused. The other was sent to the Court and the third one was sent to the public Analyst for analysis. The Public Analyst in his report opined that the sample consisted of a mixture of 82% of groundnut oil and 18% of coconut oil and was therefore, adulterated. On that basis a report was laid against the accused for contravention of the provisions of the Food Adulteration Act, namely Sections 16 (1) and 7 read with Section 2 (1) Ia) and 2 (1) (i) . The accused pleaded that he had sold that he had not committed any offence. The learned Additional Munsiff- Magistrate, Tenali, after examining one witness for the prosecution and one witness for the defence, acquitted the accused mainly on the ground that the adulteration was not injurious to the health of the purchaser nor was shown to be prejudicial to him in any other way.
3. The learned public Prosecutor contends that the view taken by the lower Court is erroneous inasmuch as adulteration as defined in the Act takes in its ambit the mixing of two edible oils. His argument is that the sample sent to the Public Analyst conformed neither to the standard prescribed for the groundnut oil nor for the coconut oil. In case of coconut oil, the provision of A. 17.0.1. are attracted while in the case of groundnut oil A. 17.0.3 are applicable. The Public Analyst who had taken these into consideration had opined that the sample was adulterated. The definition in the Act of 'adulteration food' is as under:
'An article of food shall be deemed to be adulterated- (a) if the article sold by a vendor is not of the nature, substance or quality demanded by the purchaser and is to his prejudice, or is not of the nature, substances or quality which it purports or represents to be'
In the instant case, even according to the admission of the accused, he sold the groundnut oil and according to the Public Analyst the sample did not conform to the prescribed standard and thus it was adulterated. The learned counsel for the respondent contends that what was sold to the inspector was groundnut refined oil in respect of which no standard has been prescribed by the Act, and therefore, the opinion of the public analyst that the sample was adulterated is not acceptable. I am not prepared to accept this argument. There is no variety of edible oil as 'groundnut refined oil'. At least the Act does not recognise the existence of edible oil of this nature. The sample could have been therefore sold either as groundnut oil or as coconut oil. It is an admitted fact that the standard prescribed for those edible oils has not been adhered to in the sample sold and stocked for sale. It therefore, fails within the mischief of 'adulterated food' as it was not of the nature , substance or quality which it purported or was represented to be.
4. The learned counsel has relied on a decision of this court reported in Public Prosecutor v. N. Subba Rao (1963) 1 Andh lower Court also has made a reference to this decision . With great respect to the learned judge, I am not inclined to accept the restricted scope of adulteration as accepted by him that the criterion for contravention of the act is only with the reference to the injury or prejudice to the purchaser. Having regard to the facts of that case Munikaniah J., seems to have taken into consideration the definition of adulteration as found in Section 2 (b) and (c) of the Act. Further I am of opinion that once the Public Analyst who is an expert has found that the article is adulterated, his opinion has to be accepted unless it is shown that his opinion is based on a misreading of facts, or is superseded. I therefore, hold the accused guilty under Section 7 (1) of the Act and sentence him to pay a fine of Rs. 200 bearing in mind that the offence was committed some time in 1964 and the appeal is being disposed of in 1968. Time for payment of fine is one month from the date of receipt of records in the lower Courts. In case of default, the accused-respondent will undergo 3 months' imprisonment.
5. Appeal allowed.