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Jaswinder Singh and ors. Vs. Municipal Committee, Amritsar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal;Food Adulteration
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal Nos. 269 to 272 and 290 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1976SC1560; 1976CriLJ1199; (1976)78PLR724; (1976)3SCC635; 1976(8)LC522(SC)
ActsPrevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 - Sections 16(1)
AppellantJaswinder Singh and ors.
RespondentMunicipal Committee, Amritsar
Advocates: Naunit Lal and; Lalita Kohli, Advs
Prior historyFrom the Judgment and Order dated July 27, 1971 of the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh in Criminal Appeal No. 54 of 1970
Excerpt:
.....under section 16 (1) for mixing 'toria' oil with mustard oil - mustard oil seeds as well as 'toria' oil seeds belong to same class of seeds from which edible oil extracted - mustard oil is fine quality edible oil and 'toria' oil is not of that much fine quality - offence of mixing 'toria' oil with mustard oil proved - appeal dismissed. - [] the appellant company, carrying on business as manufacturer of iron and steel, with its factory and works at jamshedpur in bihar, was assessed to sales tax for two periods prior to the constitution, under the bihar sales tax act, 1947 (no. xix of 1947), enacted by the bihar legislature in exercise of its exclusive power under the government of india act, 1935. the company used to send its goods from jamshedpur to various parts of india. in the..........on this view the trial court acquitted the accused in all these cases.4. if toria oil did not fall within the definition of mustard oil, the trial court would be obviously right in taking the view it did. as will appear from the definition of mustard oil, it is oil, expressed from mustard seeds belonging inter alia to the compestris variety of brassica. it is not disputed that toria seeds belong to the compestris variety of brasses. the amended definition of mustard seed only makes this clear. the previous definition of mustard seed referred to allied varieties of brassica, and the amended definition specified the varieties. thus toria oil falls squarely within the definition of mustard oil. that being so, the appeals fail and are dismissed. the appellants will surrender to their bail.....
Judgment:

A.C. Gupta, J.

1. The appellants in all these five appeals by special leave were convicted by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh of the offence under Section 16(1)(a)(i) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (referred to as the Act hereinafter) end sentenced to six months' rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 10000/-; in default of payment of fine they were to undergo rigorous imprisonment for further two months. They were acquitted by the trial courts, and the Municipal Committee, AmritSir appealed to the High Court against the orders of acquittal. The High Court found them guilty of being in possession of adulterated toria oil for sale and thereby committing an offence punishable under the aforesaid provision. The Municipal Food Inspector purchased the samples in each of these cases on December 12, 1967.lt was conceded before tbe High Court that the samples purchased by the Food Inspector did not measure up to the standard laid down in the Act and the Rules made thereunder for edible oils, but it was contended that toria oil was not mentioned in the list of edible oils and was not an item for which any standard was prescribed. The High Court found that toria oil was really mustard oil and held that the offence was established. The trial court had held that the rules framed under the Act which were in force at (he time when the samples were purchased did not include toria oil in the list of edible oils. The Trial Court also referred to the definition of 'mustard seed' as it stood when the samples were purchased.

2. Rule A.17.06 in appendix B to the Rules defines mustard oil as follows:

'mustard oil' (Sarson-ke-tel) means oil expressed from clean and sound mustard seeds, belonging to the compestris, juncea or napus varieties of Brassica. It shall be clear, free from rancidity, suspended or foreign matter, separated water added colouring or flavouring substances or mineral oil. It shall conform to the following standards:

(a) Butyro-refractometer reading at 40C-580 to 60.5.

(b) Saponification value-168 to 176.

(c) Iodine value-96 to 108

(d) Unsaponifiable matter-Not more than 1.2 per cent.

(e) Free fatty acid as oleic acid not more than 3.0 per cent.

(f) Bollier test (turbidity-Not more than 26.5C. temperature Acetic acid method).

3. The test for argemone oil should be negative. There is no dispute that this definition of mustard oil was in force when the samples were purchased. The definition of mustard seed as it stood on the date the sample were purchased was:

Rule, A.23 : Appendix D. 'Mustard seed' means the dried, ripe seeds of Brassica Nigra, Brassica Juncee and other allied cultivated varieties of the species belonging to the natural order crucifer and to the genues Sinapis of Brassico. The common species are black or brown mustard (B. Nigra), Brown or serepta mustard (B. Besseriana), white or yellow mustard (B alba) and Indian mustard (B. Juncea).

It shall not contain-

(a) more than 5 per cent of foreign organic matter and deteriorated or other seeds and shall be free from insect posts. It shall be free from argemone seeds.

(b) more than 5 per cent of total ash:

(c) more than 1.5 per cent of ash insoluble in hydrochloric Acid;

(d) less than 0.6 per cent of volatile essential oil.

The definition of mustard seed was amended in 1968. The new definition reads:

A. 05.15 'Mustard' (Rai, Sarson) whole means the dried seeds of Brassica alba (L.) Boiss. (safed rai). Biransica compeafris L. var. dichotema (Kali sarson). Brassion compestris L. Var. yellow Sarson, Syn. Braasice compestris L. Var. glauca (pili Sarson), Brassica compestris L. Var. toria (Toria), Brassuca juncea (L). Coss. et. Czern. (Rai Lotni) and Brassica Nigra (L) Koch Becarasi Rai). The proportion of extraneous matter which includes, dust, dirt, stones, lumps of earth, chaff; stem, straw, edible foodgrains, edible oil seeds of any other variety or any other impurity shall not exceed 7.0 per cent by weight. It shall be free from seeds of argoreene maxicana linn.

It would appear that the amended definition of mustard seed includes dried seeds of Brassica compestris to which class toria admittedly belongs. B-fore the amendment the definition of mustard seed referred to 'allied varieties of Brassica'. The trial court thought that as the definition of mustard seed containing a reference to toria came into force after December 12, 1967 when the samples in these cases were purchased, and as the definition as it stood at the relevant time did not mention toria, toria oil could not be called mustard oil when the samples were taken. On this view the trial court acquitted the accused in all these cases.

4. If toria oil did not fall within the definition of mustard oil, the trial court would be obviously right in taking the view it did. As will appear from the definition of mustard oil, it is oil, expressed from mustard seeds belonging inter alia to the compestris variety of Brassica. It is not disputed that toria seeds belong to the compestris variety of brasses. The amended definition of mustard seed only makes this clear. The previous definition of mustard seed referred to allied varieties of brassica, and the amended definition specified the varieties. Thus toria oil falls squarely within the definition of mustard oil. That being so, the appeals fail and are dismissed. The appellants will surrender to their bail bonds and serve out the sentences imposed on them.


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