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Muncipal Board, Mainpuri Vs. Raja Ram - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1977CriLJ112
AppellantMuncipal Board, Mainpuri
RespondentRaja Ram
Excerpt:
- - the learned magistrate was, therefore, perfectly correct in following the procedure prescribed for the trial of the warrant cases. as a matter of fact when the charge is framed the duty of the complaint finishes and it is for the court to summon the witnesses for cross-examinatlon and to take coercive steps for their attendance if the witnesses fail to appear. therefore, clearly in error in having dismissed the complaint and in having acquitted the accused merely for the reason that the complaint and his witnesses did not turn up for further cross-examination......7 read with section 16(1)(a)(i) of the prevention of food adulteration act on the complaint of the food inspector b.n. lal. the allegations in the complaint were that the respondent on 25-11-1971 at about 9-30 a.m. was found exposing adulterated she-buffalo milk for sale at his shop at agra road in mainpuri town, the complaint was dated 24-2-1972 and reached the court below on 6-5-1972. the respondent was summoned for 5-6-1972. on that date the respondent was bailed out end he was supplied copies of the documents on which the prosecution relied. june 19, 1972 was then fixed for evidence in the case. on that date b.n. lal, food inspector was examined under section 256, cri.p.c. and the case was adjourned to 3-7-1972. on this date the presiding officer was absent and the case was adjourned.....
Judgment:

Chandra Prakash, J.

1. This is an appeal by the Municipal Board, Main-puri against the order dated 22-8-1972 of Sri S.N. Gupta, acquitting Raja Ram respondent of the charge under Section 16(1)(a)(i) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.

2. Respondent Raja Ram was tried under Section 7 read with Section 16(1)(a)(i) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act on the complaint of the Food Inspector B.N. Lal. The allegations in the complaint were that the respondent on 25-11-1971 at about 9-30 A.M. was found exposing adulterated she-buffalo milk for sale at his shop at Agra Road in Mainpuri town, The complaint was dated 24-2-1972 and reached the court below on 6-5-1972. The respondent was summoned for 5-6-1972. On that date the respondent was bailed out end he was supplied copies of the documents on which the prosecution relied. June 19, 1972 was then fixed for evidence in the case. On that date B.N. Lal, Food Inspector was examined under Section 256, Cri.P.C. and the case was adjourned to 3-7-1972. On this date the Presiding Officer was absent and the case was adjourned to 6-7-1972. On this date the statement of the respondent was recorded and the charge was framed against him. The case was then adjourned to 24-7-1972 for further evidence under Section 256, Cri.P.C. On that date B.N. Lal. Food Inspector, was summoned for further cross-examination for which 7-8-1972 was fixed. It was further directed that the Food Inspector should also bring other witnesses on 7-8-1972. On that date the Presiding Officer was absent and the case was adjourned to 21-8-1972. On this date the Food Inspector and the witnesses did not appear and the court below fixed 22-8-1972 for pronouncing the judgment. The judgment was accordingly pronounced on 22-8-1972 and the respondent was acquitted.

3. It will, thus, be seen that the charge against the respondent was framed on 6-7-1972 and 24-7-1972 was fixed for further evidence under Section 256, Cri, P.C. On that date B.N. Lal the Food Inspector had been transferred and at the instance of the prosecution the date was changed to 7-8-1972 for which date B.N. Lal was ordered to be summoned.

4. The procedure adopted by the court below was the one prescribed for the trial of warrant cases and this procedure was rightly followed by the court below. Under Section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Code warrant case means a case relating to an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life or for a term exceeding one year. The offence under Section 16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act is punishable with a term of imprisonment which may extend to six years. The learned Magistrate was, therefore, perfectly correct in following the procedure prescribed for the trial of the warrant cases. The charge against the respondent was framed on 6-7-1972. After the charge was framed it was the duty of the Magistrate him-self to summon the witnesses for further cross-examination. No undertaking was given by the Food Inspector on 6-7-1972 that he would bring the prosecution witnesses himself. As a matter of fact when the charge is framed the duty of the complaint finishes and it is for the court to summon the witnesses for cross-examinatlon and to take coercive steps for their attendance if the witnesses fail to appear. It has been held by this Court in Criminal Appeal No. 2104 of 1968; Salik Singh v. Ram Prasad reported in 1970 All WR (HC) 767 as under:

In warrant case the duty lies on the Magistrate to secure the attendance of the complaint and his witnesses for further cross-examination. In the instant case after framing of the charge against the accused persons 12th July, 1968 was the date fixed for further cross-examination. The record does not show that the complaint had volunteered to bring his witnesses for further cross-examination. It was, therefore, the duty of the Magistrate to summon the witnesses for further cross-examination that day. No such action was taken by the Magistrate. He was. therefore, clearly in error in having dismissed the complaint and in having acquitted the accused merely for the reason that the complaint and his witnesses did not turn up for further cross-examination.

The High Court in the above ruling has considered the previous case law including the Division Bench cases. The same view was held by a single Judge of this Court in Criminal Appeal No. 1956 of 1969 : Parbati Devi v. State of U P. reported in 1971 BCLJ (All HC) 278. It was not referred to any authority laying down any counter proposition. If the witnesses did not appear on 21-8-1972 it was the duty of the court below to find out if the summonses had been served and if they had not been served to issue fresh summonses and in case they had been duly served, then to take coercive steps for securing the attendance of the witnesses. The court below was not justified in acquitting the respondent simply because the Food Inspector or the witnesses were not present.

5. Learned Counsel for the respondent drew my attention to:

(i) 1971 ACC 124, State of U.P. v. Abid Ali and

(ii) 1971 ACC 126, Lal Mohammad v. Traffic Inspector, Lucknow. These rulings apply to Section 247 which governs the trial in summons' case and they are not authorities for the interpretation of Section 256, Cri.P.C. under which the impugned order was passed.

6. It was contended on behalf of the respondent that he should not be harassed by unnecessary prolonging the case. As already noted above, the charge against the appellant was framed on 6-7-1972 and on the next date fixed B.N. Lal, Food Inspector was summoned for 7-8-1972. On that date the learned Magistrate was absent. The prosecution or the Food Inspector could not be held responsible for the absence of the Magistrate. On the next date of hearing i.e. 21-8-1972 the case was taken up and the judgment was pronounced on 22-8-1972. The prosecution or the Food Inspector, who conducted the case could hardly be responsible for any change of date. It cannot be said that the respondent was unnecessarily harassed. The charge against the respondent was framed on 6-7-1972 and the respondent was acquitted on 22-8-1972 i.e. within two months of the framing of the charge.

7. Lastly, it was contended that the complaint in this case was filed by the Food Inspector while the appeal against the order has been filed by the Municipal Board after obtaining the special leave of the Court under Section 417(3) of the Cr.P.C. It was argued that since the special leave was not obtained by the Food Inspector, who was the complaint in the case, the appeal was, therefore, incompetent. In support of this contention reliance was placed by the learned Counsel for respondent on : AIR1964All497 , State v. Ishwar Sanan. The above contention cannot be accepted. Section 20(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act reads as under:

No prosecution for an offence under this Act shall be instituted except by, or with the written consent of the Central Govt. or the State Govt. or a local authority or a person authorised in this behalf by general or special order, by the Central Govt. or the State Govt. or a local authority.

The above sub-section shows that the complaint against the respondent could be filed either by the Central Govt. or by the State Govt. or by the local authority, or a person authorised in this behalf by the general or special order by the Central Govt. or the State Govt. or a local authority. It is not disputed that the Municipal Board, Mainpuri is a local authority. There is permission of the Municipal Board on record authorising the Food Inspector to file the complaint against the respondent. The validity of this permission was not disputed before me. When the Food Inspector filed the complaint under the authority of the Municipal Board, Mainpuri he filed the complaint not on his own behalf, but on behalf of the Municipal Board. The real complaint was the Municipal Board. The Municipal Board obtained special leave of this Court before filing the appeal. The real complaint was the Municipal Board in the court below and that very complaint has obtained the leave of the Court. I am supported in my view by the ruling reported in : 1970CriLJ492 , Dhian Singh v. Municipal Board, Saharanpur and the ruling reported in : AIR1964All497 (supra) is distinguishable for in that case the complaint had been filed by the Food Inspector while the special leave of the High Court was sought by the Medical Officer, who was not the complaint in that case. In the present case however, the Municipal Board was the real complaint . It cannot be said that the permission was not obtained by the complaint in this case.

8. For the reasons given above the order dated 22-8-1972 cannot be allowed to stand and it is accordingly set aside. The case is remanded to the court below with a direction to dispose it of in accordance with law.


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