Gangadhara Rao, J.
1. In all these petitions a common question is raised and it is disposed of by a common order. The petitioners are charged for an offence under Section 15 of the Rice-Milling Industry (Regulation) Act 1958 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). The complaint was filed by the Deputy Tahsildar, Kollapur, in the Court of the Judicial Magistrate of First Class, Kollapur. The petitioners have taken a preliminary objection that the Deputy Tahsildar, Kollapur is not competent to file the complaint, for he was not authorisedly the Licensing Officer to file it and, therefore, the Court cannot take cognizance of the case. That objection was overruled by the learned Magistrate. Thereupon, they have filed these petitions in this Court to quash the proceedings.
2. It is submitted by the learned Counsel for the petitioners that the complaint filed by the Deputy Tahsildar under Section 15 of the Act is not valid, for he was not authorised to file it by the Licensing Officer. The Licensing Officer] in this case is the District Revenue Officer, Mahabubnagar. He has issued proceedings under Section 15 of the Rice Milling Industry (Regulation) Act 1958, authorising all the Deputy Tahsildars in the' District to report in writing to a competent Court, that is, Munsif Magistrate Court, the facts constituting an offence under the Rice Milling Industry (Regulation) Act 1958 and launch prosecution against the offenders. It is by virtue of this authorisation, the Deputy Tahsildar, Kollapur had filed a complaint against the accused in the Magistrate's Court, Kollapur. Section 15 of the Act reads as follows:
15. Cognizance of offence - No Court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act except on a report in writing of the facts constituting such offence made by the licensing officer or any person duly authorised by the Central Government or the licensing officer in this behalf.' Relying upon the words 'in this behalf it is submitted by the learned Counsel for the petitioners that a person should be authorised in every case to file a complaint and a general authorisation will not do. On a reading of the Section I am not able to agree with him. The words 'in this behalf in the Section do not mean that the person should be authorised in every case. What they mean is that he should be authorised to make a report in writing of the facts constituting an offence under the Act.
3. The learned Counsel for the petitioners has relied upon the decision in State of Orissa v. Bisram Patel : AIR1965Ori159 . It is true that in that decision Barman, J. of the Orissa High Court held that the person should be authorised to make a report in respect of a particular offence under Section 15 of the Act. I am not able to agree with this view. Section 15 of the Act does not say that the person should be authorised with respect to a particular offence. He may or may not be. It does not preclude authorising a person to make a report with respect to the offences under the Act. I am of the opinion that a general authorisation by the Licensing Officer empowering a person to make a report with regard to the offences under the Act is valid. No other decision interpreting Section 15 of the Act is placed before me. But, Section 20 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act is in part materia with Section 15 of the Act, This section reads as follows:
20. Cognizance and trial of offences No prosecution for an offence under this Act, not being an offence under Section 14 or Section 14-A shall be instituted except by, or with the written consent of, the Central Government or the State Government or a person authorised in this behalf by the Central Government or the State Government.
That Section has been the subject-matter of interpretation by some Courts. Under that Section, a general authorisation was given to the Food inspector to institute prosecutions for offences under that Act. When it was contended that he should have been authorised in relation to a specific or a particular case and not in general terms applicable to all prosecutions, it was negatived by the High Courts. In this connection the observations made by Veeraswami, J., as he then was, in Madurai City Co-operative Milk Supply Union v. Food Inspector 1961 Mad WN (Cri) 172 : 1962-1 Cri LJ 166 are relevant.
The learned Judge observed at p. 174 (of Mad WN (Cri) : (at p. 168 of Cri LJ):
I am unable to agree with the construction contended for. The words 'in this behalf (in Sub-section (1)) do not bear in the context the meaning attributed to them. In my view, they mean no more than the authority vested in the State Government or a local authority is for the purpose of enabling the person to institute a prosecution. The intention appears to be to provide for a delegation by the State Government or a local authority of its power to institute prosecutions under the Act. To construe the section in the way the learned Counsel has asked me to do would defeat the very purpose of this provision for delegation of the power to institute a prosecution. Once authorised to institute a prosecution, the authority so vested in the person is of the same quality and virtue as the power of the State Government or a local authority to institute a prosecution. This is in contrast with a case of a person enabled to institute a prosecution with the written consent of any of the parties enumerated in the Sub-section. In my opinion, therefore, the Food Inspector in this case was competent to lay the complaint.
The above decision was followed in Corpn. of Madras v. Arumugham : AIR1966Mad194 .
4. In Public Prosecutor v. Thatha Rao : AIR1968AP17 Md. Mirza, J., of this Court, did not agree with the decision of the Orissa High Court in K. G. Anjaneyulu v. Purl Municipality : AIR1963Ori158 ) which held that the authorisation of the person to initiate prosecution must be with special reference to a particular case under the Act. Following the decision of the Madras High Court in Madurai City Cooperative Milk Supply v. Food Inspector, Madurai Municipality 1962 Mad LJ (Cri) 424 : 1962-1 Cri LJ 166 and also the decision of the Mysore High Court in State of Mysore v. Danjaya AIR 1963 Mys 157 : 1963-1 Cri LJ 785, the learned Judge held that the general authorisation to launch prosecutions under the Food Adulteration Act was sufficient.
5. In Subbayyan v. State AIR 1968 Ker 330 : 1968 Cri LJ 1554 the same view was taken by the Kerala High Court. In Powell v. Mpl. Board of Mussorie (1900) ILR 22 All 123 (FB) while interpreting Section 69 of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh Municipalities Act 1883 (a provision similar to Section 15 of the Rice Milling Industry (Regulation) Act), Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court held 'that the section was enacted with a two-fold purpose, The object was, in the first place to exclude prosecutions for what may be called municipal offences from the interference of irresponsible persons, and to secure that such prosecutions should have the guarantee of the responsibility of the Municipal Board, A further object, in my opinion, was to relieve the Municipal Board of the necessity of itself dealing with each individual case of prosecution for a Municipal offence, and to enable it to assign that particular function to some other person or persons.
6. In Dhian Singh v. Saharanpur Municipality : 1970CriLJ492 , the Supreme Court observed that 'under Section 20 (of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act) no question of applying one's mind to the facts of the case before the institution of the complaint arises as the authority to be conferred under that provision can be conferred long before a particular offence has taken place. It is a conferment of an authority to institute a particular case or even a class of cases. That section merely prescribes that persons or authorities designated in that section are alone competent to file complaints under the statute in question.
7. Following the principle in these decisions I hold that the proceedings of the District Revenue Officer, Mahabubnagar, authorising all the Deputy Tahsildars in that District to launch .prosecutions for offences under the Rice Milling Industry (Regulation) Act 1958, are valid. Consequently, I dismiss these petitions.