1. This Petition Under Section 561-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure is filed seeking the quashing of the proceedings in C. C. No. 178 of 1966 on the file of the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Nandyal.
2. The petitioner is the sole accused in the above C. C. No. 178 of 1966 and is charged with having committed an offence punishable Under Sections 16(1) and 7 read with Section 2(ix)(j) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954 (referred to hereinafter merely as the Act) and Rule 29 of the Andhra Pradesh Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules made thereunder.
3. It is alleged in the complaint that the petitioner was in possession of misbranded red gram dhall for sale and that he sold a sample of it to the Food Inspector at about 10 a. m. on September 25, 1965, in contravention of the provisions of the Act and the rules made thereunder. Ex. P-l in form No. VI is a notice under Rule 12 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 issued to the petitioner wherein as against the column regarding nature or the sample, it is stated as 'Red Gram Dhal (Used for animals as per the verdict of vendor)'. This was signed by the Food Inspector Sri P. Chenna Reddy on 25-9-1965 and that Food Inspector was examined as P.W. 1. Ex. P. 2 is the receipt given by the accused on the same date wherein also the sample was described as '(used for animals as per the verdict of vendor)'. Ex. P. 3 is the mediator's report, the material part of which reads as follows:
Today morning at about 10 a. m. in our presence you purchased 500 gms. for 0-50 paise from Sri Vankadari China Chengalarayudu Chetty (which the vendor; said was meant for consumption of animals) out of stock of redgram dhal with him stating that it was for purpose of sending for food examination and you paid the price of 0-50 paise.....
This was signed by P. Ws. 1 and 2. . P.W. 1 stated in his examination with respect to the sample thus:.The accused was present. The redgram dhall was in ten bags. I asked him to give dhall for sample. He asked me to note that they are intended for cattle ....
4. Sri A. Rama Rao learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner submits that these proceedings initiated against the petitioner are liable to be quashed firstly, because of the same be ing found to be not in confirmity with the provisions contained in Section 20 of the Act, and Secondly, because no case of contravention of the provisions of the Act, even according to the prosecution, is made out, and, under those circumstances, according to him, any further continuation of the proceedings results only in unnecessary harassment to the petitioner.
5. As per Section 16(1) of the Act, if any person whether by himself or by any other person on his behalf stores, sells or distributes any article of food which is adulterated or misbranded he shall, in addition to the penalty to which he may be liable under the provisions of Section 6, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to six years and with fine which shall not be less than Rs. 100/-.
6. The expression 'food' is defined Under Section 2(v) to mean 'any article used as food, or drink for human consumption other than drugs and water and includes.........', Clause (XIII) of the above said section defined 'Sale' thus:
'Sale', with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, means the sale of any article of food, whether for cash or on credit or by way of exchange and whether by wholesale or retail, for human consumption or use, or for analysis, and includes an agreement for sale, an offer for sale, the exposing for sale or having in possession for sale of any such article, and includes also an at tempt to sell any such article.
7. It is the case of the petitioner that when the sample was asked for by the Food Inspector, he specifically stated that it was used for animals, thereby meaning that it is not intended for human consumption and as such, accord- ing to the learned Counsel for the petitioner, the subject-matter of the charge is not an article of food as defined by or under the Act. That the sample was intended for animals was further found reiterated as per Ex. P-l form No. VI notice issued under Rule XXI of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 and Ex. P-2. the receipt given by the accused as well as Ex. P-3, the mediator's report unequivocally speak to the factum of the vendor's stating that the sample was meant only for the consumption of animals. The Food Inspector who was examined as P.W. 1 also affirms the fact that the accused declared unequivocally that the sample that was taken from him is intended not for human consumption but for the consumption of animals.
8. What is rendered punishable is only sale of an article of food Under Section 16(1) of the Act. But, in view of the unequivocal declaration of the accused while the sample was taken from him by the Food Inspector that it is intended not for human consumption but for that of the animals, I am of the opinion that even according to the prosecution, no case of violation Under Section 16(1) of the Act is made out.
9. The learned Public Prosecutor submits that the mere declaration on the part of the accused is not sufficient. It is for the court to believe the correctness or the otherwise of that declaration and that is a matter that can be relegated to the realm of the trial by the Magistrate and as such it is not expedient for this Court to go into that matter. As against that, my attention has been drawn by Sri A. Rama Rao, learned Counsel appealing for the petitioner to a decision of the Supreme Court in Andhra Pradesh Grain and Seed Merchants' Association v. Union of India, : 1971CriLJ1556 where Shah, J. (as he then was) referring to a matter arising under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, particularly Section 16(1) observed thus:..In any event it is always open to a person selling an article capable of being used as an article of food as well as for other purpose to inform the purchaser by clear notice that the article sold or supplied is not intended to be used as an article of food. What is penalised by Section 16(1) is importation, manufacture for sale, or storage, sale or distribution of any article of food. If what is imported, manufactured or stored, sold or distributed is not an article of food, evidently Section 16(1) can have no application.
10. In view of the aforesaid decision, I am of the opinion that the prosecution case does not disclose any offence inasmuch as the accused while the sample was taken from him unequivocally made a declaration to the effect that that sample is not intended for human consumption and as such it does not constitute an article of food. I am not persuaded to read the decision rendered by the Supreme Court referred to heretofore as meaning that the mere declaration on the part of the accused that the sample is not intended for human consumption is not enough but it is the court's satisfaction that that is so.
11. The inherent jurisdiction of this Court can be exercised to quash proceedings in a proper case to prevent abuse of the process of the Court or to secure the ends of justice and in this case, I am satisfied that any further continuation of the proceedings, as the learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner submits, only results in further harassment of the accused.
12. Under those circumstances, 1 am satisfied that this is a case where the proceedings are liable to be quashed and are hereby quashed. In view of my finding on this, it is not necessary to express any opinion on the other contention raised by the petitioner's counsel.