1. On November 1, 1961, Shri M. L. Zutshi, Food Inspector, went to the shop of Shri Naval Kishore, petitioner, and purchased a quantity of chillies powder for purpose of analysis. On one of the samples of that article of food being sent to the Public Analyst, for analysis, it was found to be adulterated with artificial coal tar dye.
2. Shri Nirmal Kumar Jain, Municipal Prosecutor, filed a complaint against the petitioner. On the petitioner being tried by Shri Jagmohan. Magistrate First Class, Delhi, he was convicted for an offence under section 7 read with section 16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) and was fined Rs. 400/- only. The appeal filed by him against this conviction and sentence was heard by Shri R, N. Agarwal, Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi and was dismissed on February 26, 1966. Thereafter the present revision was filed in this Court.
3. The learned counsel for the petitioner assailed the judgments of the courts below by contending that no independent witnesses were called by the Food Inspector to be present when samples of chillies-powder were taken, as was required by Section 10(7) of the Act. It was also urged that the report of the Public Analyst did nto show the type of coal tar dye with which the sample was found adulterated and that there was nothing to show that the seal on the bottle containing the sample tallied with the specimen seal impression. Another contention raised was that Shri Nirmal Kumar Jain, who filed the complaint, was nto an authorised person.
4. On the date when the sample of chillies powder was purchased, Section 10(7) of the Act had nto been amended by the Prevention of Food Adulteration (Amendment) Act, 1964. Sub-section (7), as it then stood, required as far as possible nto less than two persons to be called to be present at the time of taking samples of any article of food from any person selling such articles. Besides Shri Zutshi, there were present, Shri Sachdeva, also a Food Inspector, and Om Parkash peon. They fully supported the prosecution version. Shri Zutshi deposed that two customers were present at the shop but they did nto agree to become witnesses in the case. There is nothing to show that this part of the statement of Shri Zutshi is in any way incorrect. The two customers who were present at the shop of the petitioner having refused to become witnesses the absence of any witnesses from the public cannto be regarded as non-compliance with the requirements of Section 10(7) of the Act, as it stood on the relevant date.
5. It is true that the report of the Public Analyst did nto indicate the type of coal tar dye which was present in the sample. During the trial, the Public Analyst was also examined as a court witness and stated that the coal tar dye found in the sample was nto classified though its colour was red.
6. It was hardly necessary to classify the coal tar dye as under rule A. 05.10 of the rules in Appendix 'B' to the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955, chillies (capsicum) have to be free from extraneous coloring matter in order nto to be adulterated. Due to presence of extraneous coloring matter in the form of coal tar dye the sample was rightly considered to be adulterated.
7. On Form No. Vii, which was sent along with the sample of chillies-powder, was affixed a specimen impression of the seal used to seal the sample. The report of the Public Analyst mentioned that he found 'the seal' intact and unbroken which obviously meant that the seal tallied with the specimen impression. On this ground, thereforee, no objection can be validly taken on behalf of the petitioner. Of course it would have been more proper if in the report the fact about the seal on the container of the sample tallying with the specimen impression of the seal had been specifically mentioned.
8. Regarding the contention that the complaint was filed by an unauthorised person, it will be noticed that Shri Nirmal Kumar Jain was authorised under section 20 of the Act, through a resolution of the Municipal Corporation (No. 973 dated 10-2-1961). A copy of that resolution, Exhibit Pk, is on the record of the trial court. The resolution shows that the recommendations of the Medical Relief and Public Health committee for authorising Shri Nirmal Kumar Jain under section 20 of the Act, to institute and conduct all prosecutions arising under the Act, were approved.
9. According to the learned counsel for the petitioner, there could be no general authorisation by the local authority prior to the amendment of Section 20 of the Act by section 11 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration (Amendment) Act, 1964 (No. 49 of 1964). Before amendment, section 20 read as under:
(1) No prosecution for an offence under this Act shall be instituted except by, or with the written consent of the State Government or local authority or a person authorised in this behalf by the State Government or local authority.
Provided that a prosecution for an offence under this Act may be instituted by a purchaser referred to in Section 12, if he produces in court a copy of the report of the public analyst along with the complaint.
(2) No court inferior to that of a Presidency magistrate or a magistrate of the first class shall try any offence under this Act.
10. In K. G. Anjaneyalu v. Chairman, Puri Municipality, : AIR1963Ori158 , by placing reliance on Gour Chandra Rout v. Public Prosecutor, Cuttack, : AIR1963SC1198 , it was held that a general authorisation made long before the date of commission of the alleged offence would nto suffice and that the authorisation must be by the authority concerned with respect to a specific complaint.
11. In the case of Gour Chandra, : AIR1963SC1198 their Lordships of the Supreme Court were considering the essential requisites for initiation of prosecution of the editor, printer and publisher of a Uria daily newspaper for printing matter known to be defamatory of the Governor of Orissa, under Section 501 of the Indian Penal Code, on a complaint filed by a Public Prosecutor on sanction being granted by the Secretary to Government of Orissa as required by section 198-B of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Their Lordships made the following observations:
'It has to be borne in mind that subsection (3) of section 198-B speaks of a complaint under Sub-section (1) and the complaint under Sub-section (1) is a specific complaint in writing made by the Public Prosecutor. thereforee, reading the two Sub-sections together it would be clear that the authorisation by the Governor is of the sanction with respect to a specific complaint.'
12. The relevant provisions of section 198-B of the Code of Criminal Procedure run thus:
'198-B (1). Notwithstanding anything contained in this Code, when any offence falling under Chapter Xxi of the Indian Penal Code (other than the offence of defamation by spoken words) is alleged to have been committed against the President, or the Vice President, or the Governor or Rajpramukh of a State, or a Minister, or any other public servant employed in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State, in respect of his conduct in the discharge of his public functions, a Court of Session may take cognizance of such offence without the accused being committed to it for trial, upon a complaint in writing made by the public prosecutor.
.. .. .. (3) No complaint under Sub-section (1) shall be made by the Public Prosecutor except with the previous sanction;
(a) in the case of the President or the Vice President or the Governor of a State of any Secretary to the Government authorised by him in this behalf;
(b) in the case of a Minister of the Central Government or of a State Government, of the Secretary to the Council of Ministers, if any, or of any Secretary to the Government authorised in this behalf by the Government concerned;
(c) in the case of any other public servant employed in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State of the Government concerned.'
13. It seems to me that provisions of Section 198-B of the Code of Criminal Procedure are nto pari materia with those of Section 20 of the Act before its amendment by Act 49 of 1964. Section 198 of the Code of Criminal Procedure prohibits a court from taking cognizance of certain offences including those under Sections 500 and 501 of the Indian Penal Code except upon complaint made by a person aggrieved by such offence. The normal procedure, thereforee, is that it is for the person defamed to himself make a complaint to the Court in order to enable the court to take cognizance of the offence complained of. The provisions of Section 198-B, as was held by the Supreme Court, were enacted for the specific purpose of allowing the State to prosecute a person for defamation of a high dignitary of a State or a Public servant, when such defamation is directed against the conduct of such person in the discharge of his public functions. Obviously, thereforee, the sanctioning authority is to apply its mind to the facts of the particular case before according sanction.
In Gurnam Singh Lal Singh v. State 1963 (1) Cri Lj 708, (Punj) the Punjab High Court did nto accept the contention that a general authorisation of a Food Inspector to prosecute all offences under the Act was invalid. D. Falshaw, J. (as he then was) observed that what the Section meant was that the prosecution must be instituted either by some person duly authorised with delegated power or else by some person nto so delegated but with the written consent of an authorised person. The Bench decision in the State v. Moti Ram 1962-64 Punj Lr 1039 also proceeded on the same basis. With great respect I am in agreement with the view taken in these cases.
14. In my opinion, the conviction of the petitioner cannto be considered to be unjustified. In the matter of sentence he was leniently dealt with. The revision is accordingly dismissed.
15. Revision dismissed.