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Hira Lal Vs. Emperor - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFood and Adulteration
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1938All395
AppellantHira Lal
RespondentEmperor
Excerpt:
.....charged and that justice had been done even though there had been a material irregularity in the proceedings in that no notice of the charge was contained in the summons. there is nothing in the act which justifies the conclusion that it was the intention of the legislature that a failure to give the particulars in the summons required by section 15 of the act would justify an acquittal even if it were perfectly clear that the person charged had been guilty of an offence and had had a full opportunity of defending his conduct. are perfectly clear. they are that no finding, sentence or order passed by a court of competent jurisdiction shall be reversed or altered on appeal or revision on account of any error, omission or irregularity in the summons, unless such error, omission or..........by section 15 of the act would justify an acquittal even if it were perfectly clear that the person charged had been guilty of an offence and had had a full opportunity of defending his conduct. the provisions of section 537, criminal p.c. are perfectly clear. they are that no finding, sentence or order passed by a court of competent jurisdiction shall be reversed or altered on appeal or revision on account of any error, omission or irregularity in the summons, unless such error, omission or irregularity has in fact occasioned a failure of justice. there is no reason why this piece of legislation should be ignored any more than any other.3. in the present case, there is no reason to suggest that the applicant was unaware of the charge against him or that he was in any way hampered.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Allsop, J.

1. This is an application in revision against a conviction under Section 4, United Provinces Prevention of Adulteration Act. The point raised against the conviction is that the summons issued to the applicant did not contain the particulars required by Section 15 of the Act. Learned Counsel maintains that the failure to give these particulars is by itself sufficient to justify the acquittal of the applicant. He has relied upon the cases in Banarsi Das v. Emperor : AIR1930All595 , Raghubar Dayal v. Emperor : AIR1931All705 and Gajraj Singh v. Emperor : AIR1936All761 . I have examined the judgments delivered in these cases and I am of opinion that they do not justify the wide proposition that an irregularity in a summons issued under the Prevention of Adulteration of Food Act is in itself sufficient to justify an acquittal. The cases in Banarsi Das v. Emperor : AIR1930All595 and Raghubar Dayal v. Emperor : AIR1931All705 were cases under the Act, but they were both cases in which the learned Judges were of the opinion that prejudice had been caused to the person accused by the failure by Section 15 of the Act. In Banarsi Das v. Emperor : AIR1930All595 the learned Judge said that the omission to mention the charge in the summons was highly prejudicial to the applicant. It was a case where it was not clear even at the time when the learned Judge of this Court was considering it what the exact charge was against the person accused. The other case in Raghubar Dayal v. Emperor : AIR1931All705 was one which was again full of irregularities. The learned Judge said that it was uncertain whether the facts which had been proved constituted any offence. There was a misjoinder of charges and the applicant had been prosecuted on the assumption that the article of which a sample had been taken was intended to be ghee, whereas in fact it was found that it was intended to be cocoanut oil used for the manufacture of soap and not as a food.

2. The third case was not one under the Act but it is perhaps a parallel case, because the person accused was acquitted upon the ground that summons issued did not specify the exact nature of the charge which was one under the Motor Vehicles Act. The learned Judge however clearly said that the Court would not normally interfere in revision if it was satisfied upon the merits that the accused was guilty of the offence charged and that justice had been done even though there had been a material irregularity in the proceedings in that no notice of the charge was contained in the summons. There is nothing in the Act which justifies the conclusion that it was the intention of the Legislature that a failure to give the particulars in the summons required by Section 15 of the Act would justify an acquittal even if it were perfectly clear that the person charged had been guilty of an offence and had had a full opportunity of defending his conduct. The provisions of Section 537, Criminal P.C. are perfectly clear. They are that no finding, sentence or order passed by a Court of competent jurisdiction shall be reversed or altered on appeal or revision on account of any error, omission or irregularity in the summons, unless such error, omission or irregularity has in fact occasioned a failure of justice. There is no reason why this piece of legislation should be ignored any more than any other.

3. In the present case, there is no reason to suggest that the applicant was unaware of the charge against him or that he was in any way hampered by any omission or irregularity in the summons. As a matter of fact, I have examined the summons and it seems to me hardly possible to say that it does not contain all the particulars required by Section 15 of the Act. The applicant was charged with exposing adulterated ghee for sale in his shop. The summons states that a sample of ghee was taken from his shop and that he was being prosecuted under Section 4 of the Act. Section 4 says that any person who exposes for sale any article of food which is not of the nature, substance or quality which it purports to be shall be punished. It is a fundamental principle that every person is presumed to know the law and therefore it must be presumed that the applicant knew that he was being prosecuted for exposing for sale an article which was not of the quality which it was supposed to be. He was told in the summons that that article was ghee and that it was found at his shop by the sanitary inspector. Section 15 also requires that the name of the prosecutor should be mentioned in the summons. The summons says that the sanitary inspector has prosecuted the applicant.

4. It has been urged that Section 12 requires the I sanction of the local authority for a prosecution and therefore the prosecutor must always be the local authority. If that was so, it would be unnecessary to mention the prosecutor, and no useful purpose could be served by doing so because everybody would know who the prosecutor was. It is clear that the intention of Section 15 is that the person charged should obtain information about the informer against him. In this case the informer was the sanitary inspector and his name was rightly mentioned in the summons as the prosecutor. Even if it can be urged that the summons should state in so many words that the applicant was being prosecuted for exposing for sale adulterated ghee, that in itself would be no reason for acquitting him. The Legislature which enacted Section 537, Criminal P.C., clearly intended that no more quibbles on the subject of errors, irregularities and omissions in procedure should interfere with substantial justice. There is no force in this application and I reject it.


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