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Municipal Committe Vs. Pritam Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1973CriLJ1331
AppellantMunicipal Committe
RespondentPritam Singh
Excerpt:
.....the period of limitation for filing an appeal would commence from the date when the parties concerned acquire knowledge of passing of the said order. - he complained of false implication because of enmitv with the food inspector and naunihal singh p. in holding that it cannot be said with certaintv if the sample of desi ghee was taken from the accused or it was only a sample of vanaspati, the learned additional sessions judge has relied upon the fact that the word 'desi' while describing the ghee of which the sample was taken, nowhere occurred in the memos and the food inspector had failed to take into possession the container from which the sample was drawn......section 16(1)(a)(i) of the prevention of food adulteration act on the complaint of krishan kumar, food inspector of the municipal committee, amritsar. for selling adulterated ghee. finding the charge proved against him. the trial magistrate convicted him and sentenced him to 3 years' rigorous imprisonment and a fine of rs. 1000/-, in default of payment of fine the respondent was directed to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for six months. the appeal aeainst this order dated 17th of april 1969, was however, accepted by shri k. s. bhalla, additional sessions judge, amritsar- aeainst this order of acauittal dated 4th of june. 1969. the municipal committee, lamritsar, has come up in appeal with the leave of this court under section 417 (3) of the code of criminal procedure.2. according.....
Judgment:

Gurdev Singh, J.

1. The respondent Pritam Singh, 31 years old shopkeeper of Amritsar was prosecuted under Section 16(1)(a)(i) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act on the complaint of Krishan Kumar, Food Inspector of the Municipal Committee, Amritsar. for selling adulterated ghee. Finding the charge proved against him. the trial Magistrate convicted him and sentenced him to 3 years' rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1000/-, In default of payment of fine the respondent was directed to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for six months. The appeal aeainst this order dated 17th of April 1969, was however, accepted by Shri K. S. Bhalla, Additional Sessions Judge, Amritsar- Aeainst this order of acauittal dated 4th of June. 1969. the Municipal Committee, lAmritsar, has come up in appeal with the leave of this Court under Section 417 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

2. According to the allegations on which the respondent was tried, on the morning of 24th of May. 1967. the Municipal Food Inspector Krishan Kumar P. W. 1 went to the respondent's shoo and disclosing to him his identity purchased from him 450 grams of ghee on payment of Rs. 5/- vide receipt Exhibit PB- At the time of the purchase the notice Exhibit PA was given to the respondent in the presence of Ajit Singh and Naunihal Singh who attested the memos. The sample was duly divided into three parts and duly sealed in three dry bottles one of which was made over to the respondent as stated in the memo Exhibit PC The Public Analyst to whom this sample was sent for analysis, reported that the sample of ehee was adulterated as it did not conform to the specifications prescribed for ghee but was, on the other hand. 100 per cent, Van-aspati. Besides the Food Inspector Krishan Kumar P. W. 1, Naunihal Singh P- W. 2 appeared at the trial and supported the above allegations with regard to the sale of the sample of gheffbv the respondent to the Food Inspector.

3. The respondent Pritam Singh while pleading not guiltv to the charge attempted to defend himself by denying that the sample of ghee was taken from him or that he was paid anything for it. He did not deny his signatures on the memos and the wrappears on the sealed bottles, but attempted to get out of his liabilitv by saving that his signatures were obtained on blank papers. He complained of false implication because of enmitv with the Food Inspector and Naunihal Singh P. W. 2, No evidence in defence was however, adduced. On careful scrutiny of the prosecution evidence, the learned Magistrate accepted the prosecution allegations and holding the case proved against the respondent convicted and sentenced him as stated earlier.

4. Though at the trial the sole plea of the appellant was that no sample was taken from him in appeal this plea was not pressed and instead it was argued on his behalf that the Food Inspector never asked him for a sample of 'milk ghee or Desi Ghee' and if in those circumstances Pritam Singh supplied him the sample of 100 Per cent. Vanasnati. he could not be held guiltv of selling adulterated Ghee-It was further argued that since on analysis the sample was found to be 100 per cent, Vanaspati, it cannot be said that the sale was of an adulterated article. Readi-lv accepting both these contentions, the learned Additional Sessions Judge acquitted the present respondent.

5. After going through the record and hearing the learned Counsel for the parties, we have no hesitation in holding that the learned Additional Sessions Judge gravely erred in acauitting the respondent. In holding that it cannot be said with certaintv if the sample of Desi ghee was taken from the accused or it was only a sample of Vanaspati, the learned Additional Sessions Judge has relied upon the fact that the word 'Desi' while describing the ghee of which the sample was taken, nowhere occurred in the memos and the Food Inspector had failed to take into possession the container from which the sample was drawn. None of these two circumstances, in our opinion, is sufficient to prove that the Food Inspector asked for the sample of vegetable ghee or Vanas-pati or that the respondent bona fide understood that the Food Inspector wanted to take from him Vanasnati and not Desi ghee and under that impression he supplied him a sample of Vanaspati. Had the learned Judge adverted to the respondent's own statement under Section 342, Criminal Procedure Code, he would have at once realised that the Plea that the Food Inspector had never asked for a sample of milk ghee or desi ahee and the respondent bona fide sold to him veeetable ehee was never taken. On the other hand, the respondent attempted to defend himself simplv by saving that no sample was taken from him. On reference to the cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses, it is further evident that no such suggestion was put to any one of them, not even to the Food Inspector. Thus, there is no basis whatsoever for the argument, which was accepted by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, that the sample of vegetable ehee was supplied by the respondent under bona fide impression that the Food Inspector wanted a sample of Vanaspati-The finding of the lower Appellate Court on this point is entirely based on coniectu-res and being in direct conflict with the plea that the respondent had himself put forward at the trial cannot be sustained.

6. The assertion of the Food Inspector Krishan Kumar that he had asked for the sample of desi ghee and not of Vanaspati finds support from the fact that for 450 grams of ffhee taken by him as sample he had Daid Rs. 5/-. There is a considerable difference in the price of veeetable ghee and desi or milk ahee as stated by Krishan Kumar P. W. 1- who gave the rate of desi ghee as Rs. 12/- per kilogram and that of Vanaspati Rs. 4.50 per kilogram- ln the cross-examination of this witness it was suggested by the counsel for the respondent that during those days desi ahee was beine sold at Rs. 16/-or Rs. 17/- per kilogram and Vanaspati at Rs. 10/- per kilogram. This was vehemently denied by Krishan Kumar and his statement with regard to the market rate of desi ghee and Vanaspati remains unre-butted. Moreover, the fact that the respondent charged Rs. 5/- for supplying 450 grams of ghee to the Food Inspector is fully consistent with his assertion that during those davs desi ghee was being sold at Rs- 12/- per kilogram. Had the respondent been under the impression that the Food Inspector wanted a sample of vegetable ahee, he would not have charged Rs. 5/- for 450 grams of ghee. The defence suggestion in the cross-examination of Krishan Kumar, as mentioned above was that during those days the rate ol vegetable ghee was Rs. 10/- per kilogram-If this was the rate at which vegetable ghee was sold it is not understandable how the respondent charged Rs. 5/- lor 450 grams of ghee. We thus find that what the Food Inspector had asked the respondent to supply was ghee and not Vanaspati, but what the respondent sold to him was Vanaspati or vegetable ghee.

7. The contention that the respondent was not guilty of selling an adulterated article of food, which has Prevailed with the learned Additional Sessions Judge, is also untenable. Section 7 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act lavs down that no person shall himself or by any person on his behalf manufacture for sale, or store, sell or distribute any adulterated or misbranded food. Section 16 of the Act then lavs down penalty for various offences, including the sale or distribution of any article of food in contravention of any provision of the Act or the Rules made thereunder. Section 2(i) defines the word 'adulterated1, the Relevant part of which reads thus;

2. 'In this Act unless the context otherwise requires,

(i) 'adulterated' an article of food shall be deemed to be adulterated

(a) if the article sold by a vendor is not of the nature, substance or aualitv demanded by the purchaser and is to his prejudice or is not of the nature, substance or quality which it purports or is represented to be:

(b) xx xx xx(c) if any inferior or cheaper substance has been substituted wholly or in part for the article so as to affect iniuri-ouslv the nature, substance or aualitv thereof;

XX XX XX(1) if the quality or purity of the article falls below the prescribed standard or its constituents are present in auanti-ties which are in excess of the prescribed limits of variability.

8. Appendix B of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955, eives definitions and standards of various Qualities of food. A. 11.14 thereof, which refers to ehee and prescribes its various values, states:

Ghee means the pure clarified fat derived sqlelv from milk or from curd or from deshi (cooking) butter or from cream to which no colouring matter or preservative has been added.

9. As the report of the Public Analyst goes to show and which has not been disputed before us, the sample supplied by the respondent to the Food Inspector in this case does not conform to the prescribed values of ehee. Accordingly, this sample must be held to be adulterated within the meaning of Section 2(i)(l) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act- Since the Public Analyst has found that it is 100 per cent vegetable shee. it must be held to be adulterated under Clause (c) of Section 2(i). The contention that Vanaspati or vegetable ghee is a different commodity from milk ghee again does not benefit the respondent as it will still be covered by Section 2(i)(a), which lays down that if the article sold by the vendor is not of the nature, substance or aualitv which it Purports or is represented to be, it would be considered to be adulterated.

10. Thus, from whichever angle the case be viewed, there is no escape from the conclusion that the respondent Pritam Singh by selling vegetable ghee or Vanaspati to the Food Inspector when he had asked for sample of ghee Cwhich has been defined in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955), had clearlv committed the offence of selline adulterated food and committed an offence under S, 16 (I) (a) (i) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. We, accordingly set aside the order of his acquittal recorded by the learned Additional Sessions Judge and convict him for this offence. The conduct of the respondent in selling 100 per cent vegetable shee to the Food Inspector, who had demanded from him ghee, cannot be lightly ignored. We accordingly sentence him to one year's rigorous imprisonment and Rs. 1000/- as fine. In default of payment of fine, the respondent shall undergo further rigorous imprisonment for 3 months. '

Gurnam Singh, J.

11. I agree.


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