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The Public Prosecutor Vs. Qrandhi Venkataramana - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1972CriLJ272
AppellantThe Public Prosecutor
RespondentQrandhi Venkataramana
Excerpt:
.....they certainly cannot include pulses like bengal gram and red gram which can be said to be neither kidney shaped nor flattened. 18.06. the failure to satisfy the standards prescribed in paragraph a......a.18.05 prescribes the standards for pearl barley. paragraph a.18.06 prescribes the standards for food grains and it is as follows:a.18.06. : - food grains meant for human consumption shall fulfil the following standards of quality, namely:(i) general : - grain shall be free from deleterious material and insecticide residues in excess of the prescribed permissible limits.(ii) foreign matter : - which includes sand, gravel, dirt, stones, pebbles, straw, stems, chaff, cockles, oil seeds and other non poisonous seeds, but excludes other food grains, shall not exceed 4 % by weight.(iii) damaged grain : - grain that, is damaged by fungus, moisture, or heating and wherein the damage is not superficial but grain is affected internally, shall not exceed 5% by weight.(iv) insect-damage : - the.....
Judgment:

Chinnapa Reddi, J.

1. The respondent was acquitted by the learned Judicial First Class Magistrate, Anakapalli of an offence under Section 16(1) read with sections 7 and 2 (1) (a) (f) and (1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. On 30-11-1966 the Food Inspector of Anakapalli purchased from the respondent after following the procedure prescribed by the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. 450 gram of red gram dhall which he found to be insect-damaged. The Public Analyst gave his opinion that the sample contained about 20% of insect-damaged dhall and that as a result of the insect-damage the Uric acid pontent was 49.9 M. G. per 100 Gms of the sample as against the prescribed maximum of 20 M. G. Per 100 gms. At the instance of the respondent the sample was also sent to the Director of the Central Food Laboratory and according to his opinion 21 % of the sample was insect-damaged and the Uric acid content was 44 M, Gms per 100 Gms of the sample. The learned Magistrate acquitted the respondent on two grounds (1) The quantity of sample sent to the Public Analyst was below the quantity prescribed by Rule 22 of the Rules (2) Red Gram was not a food grain but a variety of 'Beans', therefore, the standard prescribed in paragraph A 18.06 of Appendix-B did not apply, but the standard prescribed by paragraph A.06 alone applied. The reports of the Analyst and the Director of the Central Food Laboratory did not show that the sample fell below the standard prescribed by paragraph A.06 The first ground is now not open to the respondent in view of the opinion of the Division Bench that Rule 22 is directory and not mandatory and therefore, mere failure to send the quantity of sample prescribed by Rule 22 does not entitle the accused to an acquittal. I will now proceed to consider the second ground of acquittal.

2. Paragraph A. 06 of Appendix-B of the Prevention of Food Adulteration . Rules is as follows:

Bean means dry kidney shaped of flattened seeds of the leguminous varieties used as food, either whole or prepared as dhall it shall not contain hydrocyanic acid exceeding 20 parts per million as determined by A. O. A. C. Maceration method.

Paragraph A18 is headed as 'Cereals'. Paragraphs A. 18.01 prescribes the standards for Atta. Paragraphs A. 18.01 .1 and A. 18. 01. 02 prescribe the standards for fortified Atta and protein rich (Paushtik) Atta. Paragraphs A 1 8.02,1, A. 18.02.01 and A18. 02. 02. prescribe standards for maida, fortified maida and protein rich (Paushtik) Maida. Paragraph A. 18.03 prescribes the Standards for Semolina (Suii) Atta. maida and suki are all products of wheat Paragraph A.18.04. prescribes the standards for Besan which means the product obtained by grinding dehusked Bengal-gram. It will be necessary to refer to Besan again in the course of this judgment. Paragraph A.18.05 prescribes the standards for Pearl Barley. Paragraph A.18.06 prescribes the standards for food grains and it is as follows:

A.18.06. : - Food grains meant for human consumption shall fulfil the following standards of quality, namely:

(i) General : - Grain shall be free from deleterious material and insecticide residues in excess of the prescribed permissible limits.

(ii) Foreign matter : - Which includes sand, gravel, dirt, stones, pebbles, straw, stems, chaff, cockles, oil seeds and other non poisonous seeds, but excludes other food grains, shall not exceed 4 % by weight.

(iii) Damaged grain : - Grain that, is damaged by fungus, moisture, or heating and wherein the damage is not superficial but grain is affected internally, shall not exceed 5% by weight.

(iv) Insect-Damage : - The Uric acid content arising as. a result of insect damage shall not exceed 20 milligrammes per 100 grammes sample of the grain.

(v) Moisture content : - The loss in weight due to moisture content shall not exceed 16% and shall be determined by accurately weighing about 2g. of well mixed sample in a dry, tarred dish (provided with cover) and drying the dish with contents in an oven at 100 C for 4 hours. Cool in a dissector and weigh. Repeat drying, cooling and weighing until the weight is constant.

3. Paragraphs A.18.07, A.18.08, A. 18.09, A.18.10. A.18.11, A.18.12 prescribe standards for Biscuits, Corn Flour, Corn Flakes, Custard Powder. Mocbroni product and malted milk food respectively. These are all products of wheat or maize in combination with other food stuffs.

4. Cereals belong to the Gramineae (grassy) family of monocotyledons. Their fruit serve as food for man and farm animals. Examples of cereals are rice, wheat, barley, millets, maize etc. Pulses belong to the Leguminosac family of dicotyledons. A leguminous plant is a plant having a distinctive type of fruit like a pod which splits along two sides to release contained seeds. Examples of pulses whose seeds are edible are peas which include grams, beans etc, Though the difference between cereals which belong to the Graminae family of monocotyledons and pulses which belong to the Leguminosae family of dicotyledons must be apparent to botanists, the word 'Cereals' appears to have acquired an extended meaning and is sometimes used to include cultivated leguminous plants. In the Oxford English Dictionary the meaning of 'Cereal' is given as follows:

A. adj. Of or pertaining corn or edible grain. B. sb. (usually in pl.) A name given to those plants of the order gramineae or grasses which are cultivated for their see is human food; commonly comprised under the name of corn or grain (sometimes extended to cultivated leguminous plants).

The question for consideration is whether the words 'Cereals' and 'Food grains' occurring in paragraph A18 and A18.06 are intended to include cereals as strictly understood by a botanist or whether they are intended to include cereals with the extended meaning mentioned in the Oxford Dictionary. One of the sub-paragraphs of paragraph A.18 namely, paragraph A.18.04 deals with Besan which is a product of Bengal Gram. Bengal gram is a pulse and not a cereal as understood by a botanist and yet besan finds a place in one of the sub-paragraphs of paragraph A18- From the inclusion of Besan in the articles of food dealt with by paragraph A18 it appears as if cereals and food grains are not to be confined to the cereals as understood by the botanist but should be extended to include the seed of cultivated leguminous plants such as pulses. It is also apparent that there is no logic in confining the standard prescribed by paragraph A18.06 to the fruit or seed of Gramineae and exclude the fruit or seed of Leguminosae. Pulses are as much liable to contain deleterious material and insecticide residues as grains', such as, rice, wheat etc. Pulses are as much liable to be mixed with sand, gravel, dirt, stones, chaff etc., as grain such as rice wheat etc. Pulses are as much liable to be damaged by fungus, moisture and insects as grains, such as rice, wheat etc., I may mention here that the uric acid content of food grains is attributable to the excretion of insects infesting such food grains. Experiments made by the Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore appear to have revealed that considerably large quantities of Uric acid are found infested black gram as compared with infested wheat flour (vide Article in 'Food Science' April 1959 page 121). I am, therefore of the view that the words 'Cereals' and 'food grains' in paragraphs A. 18 and A. 18.06 should be given an extended meaning so as to include the seed of both Gramineae and Laguminosae, that is to say both cereals strictly so called and pulses which are not strictly 'cereals' as understood by a botanist.

5. Sri Adavi Ramarao, learned Counsel for the respondent, submitted that pulses would come within the meaning of 'Beans' as defined in paragraph A. 06 and that they must, therefore, be understood as excluded from the meaning of 'Cereals' and 'Food Grains' mentioned, in paragraphs A18 and A18-06 on the principle that a special provision excludes the general provision. I do not agree with the submission of Sri Ramarao, 'Beans' mentioned in paragraph A.06 include only the dry kidney shaped or flattened seeds of leguminous varieties. They certainly cannot include pulses like Bengal Gram and red gram which can be said to be neither kidney shaped nor flattened. I think that 'Beans' mentioned in paragraph A.06 are meant to include the varieties of Beans ordinarily known as French Beans (kidney beans), Double beans (Lima Beans), Soya Beans, etc. The' standard prescribed in paragraph A.06 with reference to hydrocyanic acid content also indicates that 'Beans' mentioned in paragraph A.06 are Beans as commonly understood and not pulses. According to Winton in his 'Analysis of Foods' Hydrocyanic Acid is evolved by the Hydrolists of Glucosides present in certain varieties of Beans, particularly those grown in, India. I do not therefore, think that the standard prescribed in paragraph A.06 is applicable to pulses. Even if it is applicable to pulses I am of the view that pulses must also satisfy the standards prescribed in paragraph A.18.06. The failure to satisfy the standards prescribed in paragraph A. 18.06. is sufficient to. hold that the pulses are adulterated within the meaning of the definition of 'adulterated' in Section 2(i)(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.

6. In the light of the above discussion I find the accused guilty of an offence under Section 16(1)(a) read with Sections 7 and 2(i)(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. The offence took place nearly five years ago-The accused is stated to be a sickly young man who attended to the sales in his father's petty shop that day. Taking these circumstances into account I think the ends of justice will be met if a nominal fine of Rs. 25/- is imposed. In default of payment of fine the accused will undergo simple imprisonment for one week. The appeal is accordingly allowed.


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