Skip to content


In Re: Yendrapragada Ramulu - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1957CriLJ949
AppellantIn Re: Yendrapragada Ramulu
Excerpt:
.....or admixed or the article of food sold is not upto the standard of parity prescribed by the state government, and before the sale the vendor has clearly brought the fact to the notice of the purchaser in such manner as the state government may by rule made under section 20 prescribe, or in the absence of any such rule, by means of a label, on or with the food; when prosecuted for such an offence, the accused can plead as a defence, among others, that the food was purchased by him as the same in nature, substance and quality as that demanded by the purchaser and with a written warranty in the prescribed form, if any, to the effect that it was of such nature, substance and quality, that he bad no reason to believe at the the when he sold the same that the food was not of such nature,..........also in section 6(2)(a) of the act as a defence to a prosecution for selling food of a different quality or substance other than that demanded by the purchaser, he cannot plead any exemption, if for the same offence he is prosecuted for the breach of rule 37-a (b) of the rules.obviously no rule can be framed under section 20 for the purpose of carrying out the purpose of the act, which is inconsistent with the express provisions of the act. the rule, therefore, must be construed, it possible, so as to make it consistent with the provisions of the act and if it is not possible, the rule must give way to the section. that rule must be confined only to cases which do not fall under section 5(f)(a) of the act. if a purchaser demands coffee-tablets but the vendor sells him tablets.....
Judgment:

Subba Rao, C.J.

1. This Criminal Revision Petition was referred to a Bench by Satyanarayana Raju, J., on the ground that the Question raised is of some importance.

2. The facts are simple. On 30th March, 1954, the Municipal Sanitary Inspector, Guntur, purchased 16 coffee tablets from the accused and sent a sample to the Chemical Analyst, Madras, for analysis. The Chemical Analyst, in his report, stated that the sample contained not more than 45 per cent, of coffee and at least 55 per cent, of foreign adulterant. Thereafter, the Municipal Health Officer, Guntur, filed a charge-sheet against the accused under Rule 37-A read with Rule 38 of the rules framed under Section 20 of the Madras Prevention of Adulteration Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) alleging that, on 30th March, 1954, the accused sold a mixture of coffee powder adulterated with 50 per cent, of foreign adulterant as Mohini tablets.

The accused not only denied the commission of the offence but also pleaded that he did not commit the offence as he satisfied the conditions laid down in Section 6(2) of the Act. The Stationary Sub-Magistrate held, on the evidence, that the accused sold Mohini tablets as coffee-powder with 60 per cent, of foreign adulterant. He did not accept the plea of the accused that he complied with the provisions of Section 6(2) of the Act and, therefore, he was not liable for the offence. In the result, he convicted him under Rule 37-A of the rules framed under Section 20 of the Act and sentenced him to pay a fine of Rs. 50 with one month's imprisonment, under Rule 38 of the said rules. The appeal filed by him was dismissed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Guntur.

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate rejected the plea of the accused that he complied with the conditions laid down in Section 6(2)(a)(Hi) of the Act on the ground that the said exemption applied only to offence under Section 5 of the Act, whereas the accused was convicted for an offence under Rule 37-A read with Rule 38 of the rules framed under Section 20 of the Act. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate did not accept his other contentions also. Hence, the revision.

3. Learned Counsel for, the accused contends that, when the accused is alleged to have committed an offence which directly falls under Section 5(1)(a) of the Act, he cannot be prosecuted for the same offence under the rules made under the Act so as to deprive him of his defence under Section 6(2) of the Act and that any rule framed under the Act covering the same offence but ignoring the exemption is invalid.

4. To appreciate this argument, some of the relevant provisions of the Act and the rules framed thereunder may be read:

Section 5(1).-Every person who

(a) sells any food which is not of the nature, substance or quality of the article demanded by the purchaser:

* * *

shall be punished for the first offence with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees and for every subsequent offence with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees:

Provided that in the following cases no offence under this section shall be deemed to have been committed ;

(i) Where any innocuous material has been used or admixed in the composition or preparation of the food to render the same fit for carriage or consumption and not fraudulently to increase the bulk, weight or measure of the food or to conceal or debase the quality thereof; or

(ii) Where in the process of production, collection, preparation or conveyance of the food some extraneous material has unavoidably been admixed therewith; or

(iii) Where any innocuous material has been added or admixed or the article of food sold is not upto the standard of parity prescribed by the State Government, and before the sale the vendor has clearly brought the fact to the notice of the purchaser in such manner as the State Government may by rule made under Section 20 prescribe, or in the absence of any such rule, by means of a label, on or with the food; or

(iv) Where the food is the subject of a patent in force and is supplied in the State required by the specification thereof.

Section.-6(1) Save as otherwise provided in Sub-section (1), it shall be no defence to a prosecution for an offence under Section 5, to allege merely that the vendor was ignorant of the nature, substance or quality of the food sold by him or that the purchaser having bought only for analysis was not prejudiced by the sale.

2. (a) A vendor shall not be deemed to have committed an offence under Section 5, if he proves:

(i) that the food was purchased by him as the same in nature, substance and quality as that demanded by the purchaser and with a written warranty in the prescribed form if any, to the effect that it was of such nature, substance and quality;

(ii) that he had no reason to believe at the time when he sold the same that the food was not of such nature, substance or quality; and

(iii) that he sold it in the same state as that in which he purchased it.

Section 20.-(1) The State Government may make rules to carry out all or any of the purposes of this Act and not inconsistent therewith.

2. In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, they may make rules-

* * *

(d) prescribing the manner in which notice of any addition, admixture or deficiency shall be given to the purchaser of any article of food;

(e) prescribing standards of purity for milk, cream, butter, ghee, cheese or any food and determining what deficiency in any normal constituent of any of these articles or what addition of any extraneous matter or proportion of water in any such article or any preparation of the same shall for the purposes of this Act raise a presumption until the contrary is proved, that the milk, cream, butter, ghee, cheese, or food is not genuine or is injurious to health;

(f) prohibiting or regulating in the interest of public health;

(i) the addition of water or other dilutent or adulterant to any food;

(ii) the abstraction of any ingredient from any food; and

(iii) the sale of any food to which such addition or from which such abstraction has been made or which has been otherwise artificially treated.

Rules made under Clauses (d), (e) and (f)

of Sub-section 2 of Section 20.

36. * * * * *

37. * * * * *

37-A.-No person shall by himself for by his servant or agent-

(a) add any substance other than chicory to coffee intended for sale under any description or add coffee to any substance other than chicory intended for sale as an article of food under any description ; or

(b) sell or have in his possession for the purpose of sale or for use as ingredient in the preparation of decoction or beverage intended for sale; any mixture the preparation of which is prohibited by Clause (a);

* * * * *

38.-Whoever commits a breach of Rr. 36, 37 and S7-A to 37-E shall be punishable-

(a) in the case of a first conviction, with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees, and

(b) in the case of a subsequent conviction, with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.

5. The relevant provisions of the aforesaid sections and the rules may be summarised thus : Under Section 5, every person, who sells any food which is not of the nature, substance or quality of the article demanded by the purchaser, shall be punished for the first offence with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees and for every subsequent offence with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees. When prosecuted for such an offence, the accused can plead as a defence, among others, that the food was purchased by him as the same in nature, substance and quality as that demanded by the purchaser and with a written warranty in the prescribed form, if any, to the effect that it was of such nature, substance and quality, that he bad no reason to believe at the the when he sold the same that the food was not of such nature, substance or quality and that he sold it in the same state as that in which he purchased it.

Under Section 20 of the Act, the Government is empowered inter alia, to make rules prohibiting or regulating in the interests of public health any sale of food to which water or other dilutent or adulterant is added. Government, pursuant to the power conferred under that section made Section 37-A (a) and (b) prohibiting the sale of coffee to which any substance other than chicory was added and made the sale of coffee, adding substance other than chicory, an offence punishable under Rule 38. The result is that whereas under Section 5(1)(a) a person who sells any food which is not of the nature, substance or quality of the article demanded by the purchaser can prove facts mentioned in the proviso to Clause (d) of Section 5(1) and also in Section 6(2)(a) of the Act as a defence to a prosecution for selling food of a different quality or substance other than that demanded by the purchaser, he cannot plead any exemption, if for the same offence he is prosecuted for the breach of Rule 37-A (b) of the rules.

Obviously no rule can be framed under Section 20 for the purpose of carrying out the purpose of the Act, which is inconsistent with the express provisions of the Act. The rule, therefore, must be construed, it possible, so as to make it consistent with the provisions of the Act and if it is not possible, the rule must give way to the section. That rule must be confined only to cases which do not fall under Section 5(f)(a) of the Act. If a purchaser demands coffee-tablets but the vendor sells him tablets containing more than 55 per cent, of foreign adulterant, he contravenes the provisions of Section 5(1)(a) and is, therefore, liable to be punished for breach of that clause under section. He can raise all the defences open to him under Sections S and 6 of the Act to a prosecution launched against him for the breach of that rule.

The fact that he added substance other than chicory, which Rule 37-A prohibits him from doing, cannot make it any the less an offence under Section 5(1)(a) of the Act. The sale of coffee-tablets to which a substance such as chicory is added, necessarily reduces the quality of the article as coffee, and, therefore, Section 5(f)(a) applies. It may be where a purchaser demands pure coffee but he is given coffee added with chicory and, therefore, of an inferior quality, the vendor is liable under Section 5(1)(a) and not liable under Rule 37-A. It may also be that a person is liable under Rule 37-A for selling coffee adding any substance other than chicory even when a purchaser did not demand supply of an article of a particular quality. But Section 5(f)(a) is comprehensive enough to take in every case of sale of a substance of a quality inferior to that demanded by the purchaser. If so, Rule 37-A cannot apply if a vendor is sought to be prosecuted for selling food which is not of the nature, substance or quality of the article demanded by the purchaser.

6. In the present case, the case of the prosecution is that the Sanitary Inspector, Guntur, asked the accused to sell coffee-tablets to him whereas the accused sold him tablets containing 55 per cent, of foreign adulterant. If the prosecution case be true, the vendor sold the purchaser tablets of a quality inferior to that demanded by him and, therefore, the accused committed an offence under Section 5(1)(a) of the Act. If so, the facts alleged directly fall under the provisions of Section 5(1)(a) of the Act and the accused has all the defences open to him under Sections 5 and 6 and of the Act.

7. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate, in his order, did not consider the defence pleaded by him under Section 6 on the ground that the prosecution was not under Section 5 of the Act but only under R, 38 of the rules made under the Act. This view is wrong. We, therefore, set aside the order of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate and direct him to dispose of the case in accordance with law.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //