P.R. Sharma, J.
1. This case conies up before me on a report submitted by the Additional Sessions Judge Rajnandgaon recommending that the proceedings under Section 16(1)(a) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) pending against the present non-applicant, be quashed.
2. The non-applicant is being prosecuted in the Court of the Magistrate First Class Rajnandgaon for keeping for sale adulterated edible oil on his shop.
3. An objection was raised by the accused that there being no valid sanction for his prosecution under Section 20(1) ot the Act, the proceedings against him are entirely without jurisdiction. Section 20(1) of the Act runs as under:--
'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.'
The State Government by Notification No. 7770-XVII-H in the M. P. Bajpatra dated 19-2-1960 Part I at page 224 has authorised all Food Inspectors appointed under the said Act to institute or give a written consent to prosecute for offences under the said Act within the local limits respectively assigned to them.
4. It was contended by the accused that the State Government could not give a general authority to the Food Inspectors to prosecute cases under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. According to his contention prosecution in each individual case had to be with the written consent of (1) the State Government (2) or a local authority, (3) or a person authorised in this behalf by the State Government or a local authority. The learned Magistrate overruled the objection raised by the defence. On a revision being preferred against that order before the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Durg he held that the provisions of Section 20(1) contemplated that the prosecuting authority was distinct from the authority by whom a written consent to initiate proceedings was granted. The two personalities namely of the investigator or prosecuting authority and the sanctioning authority could not, according to the learned Judge, be combined in one and the same person.
Some support was sought to be drawn for the view taken by the learned Additional Sessions Judge from the decision of a Single Judge of the Mysore High Court in P. Pramji v. Health Inspector, 1964 Mad. LJ (Cri) 441. Reliance was also placed before me on the decision in City Corporation of Trivandrum v. V. P. N. Arunachalam, AIR 1960 Ker. 356. This case was, however, explained by a learned Judge of the same High Court in M.H.O. and Food Inspector Kozhikode v. Arthala Tea Estate Co. AIR 1961 Ker. 84. It was held therein that the authorisation under the second clause can be a general authorisation to institute, or give consent to prosecutions for offences under the Act. What the second clause enables is a general delegation of the power given to the State . Government arid local authorities under the first clause, and the words 'authorised in this behalf mean authorised to institute, or give consent to, any prosecution for an offence under the Act, in other words to exercise the power conferred on the State Government or the local authorities by the first clause. The earlier decision of the Kerala High Court in AIR 1960 Ker. 356 (supra) was considered by Falshaw J. (as he then was) in Gurnamsingh v. State (1963 (1) Cri LJ 708 Punj) which was cited with approval by a Division Bench of the Punjab High Court in The State v. Moti Ram (1962) 64 Pun LR 1039.
5. The words 'by or with the written consent of the State Government. .........' could not be interpreted to mean 'by and with the written consent of the State Government--. The written consent would, therefore, be necessary only where the prosecution is being instituted by some person who has not already been given the power to institute such prosecutions. There is nothing in the provisions of Section 20 of the Act to indicate that the person or authority who institutes a prosecution must In spite of his being authorised by the State Government in this behalf give himself a written consent to institute a particular prosecution, or that he shall be under the necessity to seek a written consent from the State Government or the local authority as the case may be. I respectfully agree with the opinion of Falshaw J. ( as he men was) in 1965 (1) Cri LJ 708 (Punj) (supra) to the effect that in so far as the persons who have been duly delegated with authority to institute prosecutions under that are concerned the Section must be read as if the words ' or with the written consent' were omitted altogether. All that the Section means is that the prosecution must be instituted either by some person duly authorised with delegated power or by some person not so authorised but with the written consent of an authorised person.
Agreeing with the view taken by a Division Bench of the Punjab High Court in (1962) 64 Pun LR 1039 (supra), I am of the opinion that the authority or person filing a complaint has itself or himself to consider the reasonableness and propriety of the prosecution and be satisfied that the prosecution is not frivolous and is called for. It was, therefore, not necessary for the Food Inspector in the present case to obtain a written consent for prosecution of the non-petitioner from the State Government or the local authority.
6. The conclusion, therefore, is that the learned Additional Sessions Judge went wrong in holding the prosecution in the present case to be vitiated for non-compliance with the provisions of Section 20(1) of the Act.
7. The reference is, therefore, rejected.