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Municipal Board, Lucknow Vs. Shyam Behari - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal;Food Adulteration
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 321 of 1956
Judge
Reported inAIR1960All117
ActsPrevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 - Sections 7, 9, 10, 16 and 20; General Clauses Act, 1897 - Sections 6
AppellantMunicipal Board, Lucknow
RespondentShyam Behari
Appellant AdvocateB.L. Kaul, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateOnkar Prasad, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....- sections 7 and 16 of prevention of food adulteration act, 1954 - not only actual seller but also person authorising sale of adulterated food can be punished. (ii) lodging of complaint - section 20 of prevention of food adulteration act, 1954 - medical officer authorized to initiate proceedings - complaint filed by medical officer is a valid complaint-appeal allowed. - cantonments act[c.a. no. 41/2006]. section 346 & cantonment fund (servants rules, 1937, rules 13, 14 & 15: [h.l. gokhale, ag. cj, p.v. hardas, naresh h. patil, r.m. borde & r.m. savant, jj] jurisdiction of school tribunal constituted under maharashtra employees of private schools (conditions of service) regulations act, (3 of 1978) held, school run by the cantonment board is a primary school and it is not a school..........against the said order of acquittal.3. shyam behari is admittedly the owner and proprietor of a milk shop situate at gwyane road, lucknow. one ram lal used to work as his servant at this shop. on the 15th of september, 1955, sri o. p. mehrotra, food inspector, paid a visit to this shop in the morning at about! 8.30 a. m. he purchased half a seer of milk from ram lal and paid-/4/-as its price. he took this milk in three bottles. these bottles were duly packed, corked, sealed and labelled in the presence of the witnesses, sri k. n. agarwal, sankata prasad and bhagwan din, who were present at the shop from the beginning. in the meantime shyam behari who was upstairs came down. on his appearance sri mehrotra handed over a notice to him. this notice is ex. p(1), shyam behari signed this.....
Judgment:

N.U. Beg, J.

1. This is an appeal by the Municipal Board, Lucknow. It is directed against an order of acquittal of one Shyam Behari passed by Sri B. B. Misra, Civil and Sessions Judge, Lucknow.

2. The respondent Shyam Behari was prosecuted for an offence under Section 7 read with Section 16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (Act 37 of 1954) 1954. He was convicted by the trial Court and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 600/- or 'in the alternative, to undergo four months' simple imprisonment. On appeal he was acquitted by the learned Civil and Sessions Judge, Lucknow. Dissatisfied with the said judgment, this appeal has been filed by the Municipal Board, Lucknow, against the said order of acquittal.

3. Shyam Behari is admittedly the owner and proprietor of a milk shop situate at Gwyane Road, Lucknow. One Ram Lal used to work as his servant at this shop. On the 15th of September, 1955, Sri O. P. Mehrotra, Food Inspector, paid a visit to this shop in the morning at about! 8.30 A. M. He purchased half a seer of milk from Ram Lal and paid-/4/-as its price. He took this milk in three bottles. These bottles were duly packed, corked, sealed and labelled in the presence of the witnesses, Sri K. N. Agarwal, Sankata Prasad and Bhagwan Din, who were present at the shop from the beginning. In the meantime Shyam Behari who was upstairs came down. On his appearance Sri Mehrotra handed over a notice to him. This notice is Ex. P(1), Shyam Behari signed this notice.

The original of the notice was also signed by the witnesses. Two sealed sample bottles were sent to the office of the Medical Officer of Health. The Medical Officer of Health sent one sample bottle to the Public Analyst. The Public Analyst sent his report Ex. P(2). This report showed that the sample of milk sent to him contained 19% added water and was adulterated. Thereafter, a complaint was submitted against Shyam Behari by the Medical Officer of Health on behalf of the Municipal Board, Lucknow. The complaint was against Shyam Bebari as well as Ram Lal his servant. Ram Lal, however, could not be traced. Shyam Behari was the only person against whom the prosecution proceeded.

4. The acquittal of the respondent in the present case was made by the lower appellate courton two grounds. The first ground was that no examination of the respondent was made under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. On this point the lower appellate court appears to have ignored the fact that there is on record an examination of Shyam Behari under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He was put detailed questions on matters appearing in evidence against him. He admitted that the shop of milk belonged to him. He further admitted that Earn Lal was his servant. He also admitted in his statement that the notice Ex. P(1) bore his signature. He also admitted that the sample of milk was taken from a Karhai of his shop. He denied the fact that the milk was adulterated. Under the above circumstances, we are of opinion that the acquittal order cannot be sustained on the ground that no examination of the accused under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was done.

5. The second ground for acquitting the respondent was that the person who had committed the offence was his servant Ram Lal, and Shyam Behari, being the proprietor, could not have been convicted. This ground taken by the learned lower appellate court also appears to be clearly untenable. Section 7 of the Prevention o Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (Act 37 of 1954) lays down as follows:

'No person shall himself or by any person on his behalf manufacture for sale, or store, sell or distribute--(a) any adulterated food; ...........'

Under the above provision it is clear that not only the person who actually sells the adulterated food is prohibited from doing this act, but also any person on whose behalf the food is sold. In this particular case Shyam Behari was admittedly the proprietor of the shop. Ram Lal was acting on his behalf. The sale made by Ram Lal was, therefore, on behalf of Shyam Behari. The penal section viz. Section 16 of the same Act also leads us to the same conclusion. It lays down as follows:

'(a) Whether by himself or by any person on his behalf imports into India or manufactures for sale, or stores, sells or distributes any article of food in contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or of any rule made (thereunder, or

((b) to (g) omitted)

he shall, in addition to the penalty to which he may be liable under the provisions of Section 6, be punishable--

(i) for the first offence, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both.

(rest omitted) '

The above provision also makes it quite clear that the person who can be punished for committing the offence is not only the person who actually sells the adulterated food, but also the person on whose behalf the adulterated food is sold. In this view of She matter we are of opinion that Shyam Behari was liable to be punished and his acquittal was not justified.

6. Learned counsel for the respondent has argued a number of other points also before us. He has argued that the Food Inspector who took the sample of milk was appointed under the old Act. This Act was repealed by the Central Act, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954 (Act 37 of 1954), which came into force on the 1st June, 1955. No Food Inspectors were appointed under the Central Act at the time when the offence took place, hence the Food Inspector who took the sample was not competent to function as Food Inspector or to do any of the acts prescribed by law. We are unable to accept this contention, as it ignores the provisionsof Section 6 of the General Clauses Act 1897. Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 lays down that:

'where .....any Central Act ....repeals any enactment... ....then, unless a different intention appears, the repeal shall not ..........

(b) affect the previous operation of any enactment so repealed or anything duly done or sufferedthereunder.'

There can be no manner of doubt that the Food |Inspector who acted in the present case was appointed under the previous Act, and his appointment wasan act duly done under the said Act. After thecoming into force of the new Act, it would naturallytake time before fresh Food Inspectors could beappointed. Until fresh appointments are made appointments duly made under the previous Act mustbe considered to be valid and good. In this viewof the matter we are of opinion that the Food Inspector who took the sample of the adulterated milkmust be taken to be a person competent to actas such when the offence took place.

7. Learned Counsel for the respondent further advanced a similar argument about the incompetency of the Public Analyst to conduct any analysis under the new Act. This argument can be answered effectively in a similar manner as the argument relating to Food Inspectors.

8. In the end the learned counsel for the

respondent argued that no proper complaint was lodged in the present case. In this connection he invited our attention to Section 20 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. Section 20 runs as follows:

'(1) No prosecution for an offence under this Act shall be instituted except by, or with the written consent of, the State Government or a local authority or a person authorised in this behalf by the State Government or a local authority.'

Having heard the learned counsel for the respondent we are of opinion that this point also has no substance. In the present case the complaint was lodged by the local authority, namely the Municipal Board, This complaint has been signed by the Municipal Medical Officer of Health, Learned Counsel for the respondent argued that the Medical Officer of Health, Municipal Board, was not authorized to launch complaints on behalf of the Board. In reply, the learned counsel appearing for the Municipal Board invited our attention to an order by the Administrator which empowers the Medical Officer of Health, Municipal Board, to launch prosecutions of this nature. It may be mentioned that this point was not taken by the respondent at the stage of the trial court otherwise the relevant order might have been brought on record. As this point was taken for the first time at this stage, we are taking notice of this fact. For the above reasons it cannot be said that the complaint in (the present case was not made by the authority competent to prosecute.

9. No other point was urged before us.

10. The net result of the findings given by us above is that the acquittal of Shyam Behari must be set aside. We may mention that there is ample evidence on record to support the conviction of the respondent on merits. Sri O. P. Mehrotra (P. W. 1), Food Inspector, has proved the fact that he purchased the milk from the shop of the respondent and ha took the sample. His statement is corroborated by R. S. Gupta (P. W. 3) and the report of the public Analyst that the milk was adulterated. Two defence witnesses were produced on behalf of the respondent. Their evidence has rightly been rejected by the trial Court. We are of opinion that they are unreliable witnesses.

11. We accordingly allow this appeal and set aside the acquittal of the respondent. We restorethe order of the trial court, and, finding the respondent guilty o having committed an offence underSection 7/16 of the Prevention of Food AdulterationAct, 1954, sentence him to a fine of Rs. 600/- or inthe alternative to undergo simple imprisonment fora period of four months.


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