H.R. Khanna, J.
1. This revision-petition filed by Leela Ram is directed against the judgment of the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi, affirming on appeal the conviction of the petitioner under Section 7 read with Section 16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (No. 37 of 1954), hereinafter referred to as the Act, and the sentence of fine of Rs. 2000/- or in default rigorous imprisonment for a period of three months.
2. The prosecution case is that on February 8, 1961, three Food Inspectors Dina Nath (P. W. 1), Lekh Raj Butt (P. W. 2) and Om Parkash Malhotra (P. W. 3) went to the godown of the accused situated in Gadodia Market, Delhi, and took six samples from six different lots of Hing, stored therein for sale, for analysis. Each Food Inspector took two samples. The samples were sent to the Public Analyst whose report showed that Hing was adulterated. Six complaints were thereupon filed by the Municipal Prosecutor Sham Sunder Mathur (P. W. 4) against the petitioner under Section 7 read with Section 16 of the Act.
3. The learned Magistrate who took cognizance of the case, tried the six cases jointly and recorded evidence at one place because the samples had been taken from the same place on the same day.
4. The accused, in his statement under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, admitted that samples of Hing had been taken. According to him, he had imported that Hing from Afghanistan, The accused advanced the plea that the Hing was meant for agricultural purposes and was not fit for human consumption. The Courts below held that the Hing, of which the samples were taken, had been stored for sale as an article of food and not for any other purpose and accordingly convicted and sentenced the accused as above.
5. At the hearing of the revision Mr. Hardy learned Counsel for the petitioner, has argued that the Hing, of which the samples were taken was not an article of food but was meant for agricultural purposes and as such the petitioner cannot be held guilty of an offence under Section 7 read with Section 16 of the Act. In this respect I find that food has been defined in Clause (v) of Section 2 of the Act as under :-
(v) 'Food' means any article used as food or drink for human consumption other than drugs and water and includes --
(a) any article which ordinarily enters into, or is used in the composition or preparation of human food and
(b) any flavoring matter or condiments.' The definition shows that any article which ordinarily is used in the composition or preparation of human food would answer to the description of food. The word 'ordinarily' indicates that it is not essential that the article should be exclusively and invariably used in the composition or preparation of human food because such a view would render the word 'ordinarily' meaningless. On the contrary, the language used clearly goes to show that it is quite enough if the article in question is ordinarily used in the composition or preparation of human food and its occasional use for other purposes would not take it out of the definition of food. So far as Hing i. e., Asafetida is concerned it cannot be disputed that it is ordinarily used in the preparation of human food. According to Encylopaedia Britannica, Volume 2, 1953 Edition, Asafetida is a gum resin obtained chiefly from an umbelliferous plant (Ferula Fetid), allied to the giant fennel (q. v.) native to Persia and Afghanistan. It is further stated --The gum resin is relished as a condiment in India and Persia, and is in demand in France for use in cookery. In the regions of its growth the whole plant is used as a fresh vegetable the inner portion of the full-grown stump being regarded as a luxury.
As Hing is ordinarily used for human consumption its occasional use for agricultural purposes, to which reference has been made on page 26 of the Imperial Council of Agricultural Research Publication 'Stored Grain Pests and Their Control' by Hem Singh Pruthi, 1943 Edition would not take it out of the category of food. I am fortified in this conclusion by a Full Bench decision of Allahabad High Court in Municipal Board, Kanpur v. Janki Prasad, : AIR1963All433 , in which the majority of Judges held while dealing with linseed oil that it was an article of food. Repelling the contention that linseed oil was not an article of food because it was also used for the preparation of paints and varnishes. it was observed --
An article may have more than one use and it may ordinarily be used for more than one purpose. The mere fact that linseed oil is also used for making varnishes and paints would not make it any the less an article of food as defined in Section 2(v) of the Act.
6. It may also be stated that Hing is one of the articles of food mentioned in appendix 'B' referred to in Rule 5 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 which were framed under Section 23 of the Act. These Rules, as required by Sub-Section(2) of Section 23 of the Act were laid before both Houses of Parliament and should thus be deemed to have been approved by the Parliament. The fact that Hing has been treated as an article of food under the Rules also lends support to the conclusion, arrived at earlier, that it is an article of food as defined in the Act.
7. It has also been argued that no witnesses of the locality were called when the samples were taken. This fact would not, in my opinion, materially affect the case because it is admitted by the petitioner in his statement under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that such samples were taken. No argument has been advanced before me that the Hing in possession of the petitioner conformed to the requirements of purity prescribed by the Rules.
8. The petition, accordingly, fails and is dismissed.