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Municipal Corporation of Delhi Vs. Charanjit Lal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal;Food Adulteration
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 181 of 1971
Judge
Reported inAIR1979Delhi178
ActsPrevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954; Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 - Rule 29
AppellantMunicipal Corporation of Delhi
RespondentCharanjit Lal
Advocates: M.N. Sharma,; B.B. LAL and; D.C. Mathur, Advs
Cases ReferredRam Lubhaya v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
Excerpt:
(i) prevention of food adulteration act (1954)--prevention of food adulteration rules (1955), rule 29--amendment of--retrospective effect--'papar' and 'phoolwari'--of coal tar dye--whether the amendment of the rule can be read retrospectively to give benefit--whether the amendment would affect a pending prosecution.; that, the amended rule 29 of the prevention of food adulteration rules, in terms is not retrospective in operation.; further, that what was once an offence cannot be pleaded as not having been offence unless the law in unmistakable terms says so. thereforee, reading rules 28 and 29 as in force at the time of the offence, it is clear that the coal tar dyes which could be used were those which were specified in rule 28. rule 29 lays down that use of permitted coal tar dye in.....prakash narain, j.(1) criminal appeal no. 181 of 1971 has been laid before us on a reference being made by two of us (prakash narain and s. ranganathan, jj.) to a larger bench on account of what appears to be a conflict in law enunciated by different bench decisions of this court. criminal appeal no. 182 of 1971 has been laid before us because an identical point arises in that case also.(2) the question which arises for determination is whether amendment of a rule of the prevention of food adulteration rules, 1955, would affect a pending prosecution under the prevention of adulteration act, 1954, and whether such a rule is to be given retrospective effect. the precise rule which is to be considered is rule 29(e) of the said rules as amended by notification no. s. r. o. 2755 dated november.....
Judgment:

Prakash Narain, J.

(1) Criminal appeal No. 181 of 1971 has been laid before us on a reference being made by two of us (Prakash Narain and S. Ranganathan, JJ.) to a larger bench on account of what appears to be a conflict in law enunciated by different bench decisions of this Court. Criminal Appeal No. 182 of 1971 has been laid before us because an identical point arises in that case also.

(2) The question which arises for determination is whether amendment of a rule of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955, would affect a pending prosecution under the Prevention of Adulteration Act, 1954, and whether such a rule is to be given retrospective effect. The precise rule which is to be considered is Rule 29(e) of the said Rules as amended by Notification No. S. R. O. 2755 dated November 24, 1956. The relevant part of the rule reads as under :

'29. Use of permitted coal tar dyes prohibited. Use of permitted coal tar dyes in or upon any food other than those enumerated below is prohibited ' Charanjit Lal Underneath are mentioned various articles of food. It is the common case of the parties that coloured 'papars' prepared from sago in Criminal Appeal No. 181 of 1971 and coloured 'Phoolwari' in Criminal Appeal No. 182 of 1971 were not items of human consumption which were enumerated in Rule 29(e) on the date when the samples were taken from the respondent or when he was prosecuted or during the course of the prosecution. Use of permitted coal tar dye in or upon 'papars' and 'Phoolwari' was permitted by an amendment of Rule 29(e) subsequently. It is not in dispute that this amendment had not come into force even at the time when the trial Court delivered its judgments acquitting the respondent but it was wellknown at that time that this amendment was likely to be made. The trial Court was persuaded to keep in view the proposed amendment and acquite the respondent.

(3) At the hearing of Criminal Appeal No. 181 of 1971 before two of us the appellant had relied on a decision of a bench of this Court in Municipal Corporation of Delhi & Another v. Ail Dass, I.L.R. 1975(11) Del 346 which construing the judgment of the Supreme Court in Ram Lubhaya v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi and another, 1974 F.A.C. 102, had held that retrospective effect to standards changed during the pendecy of the trial crupendency of an appeal cannot be given. On behalf of the respondents reliance was placed on two bench decisions of this court in Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Mai Ram, 1974 PF AC 19, Sunder Lal v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi, 1974 Prevention of Food Adulteration Cases 21(4) and as Shyam Lal v. State, : AIR1968All392 , in which it had been held that if during the pendecy of the proceedings in the High Court or the trial Court standards applicable as to the purity of an article of food are changed, then the substituted standards take the place of the old standards and must be given retrospective effect. As noticed by us earlier, da account of this conflicting views expressed by different benches of this court the matter wa's referred to a larger bench to resolve the conflict and lay down the correct law.

(4) Although the point involved is a pure question of law yet it will be advisable to briefly set out the facts giving rise to the two appeals.

(5) In Criminal Appeal No. 181 of 1971 the respondent is Charanjit Lal. He was prosecuted under Section 7 read with Section 16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) on the charge that he was keeping for sale coloured 'papars' prepared from sago at a shop, the sample of which was duly taken and found to be adulterated inasmuch as unpermitted coal tar dye had been used in coloring it. Shri Charan Singh, Food Inspector of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, went to shop No. 6512, Khari Baoli, Delhi, in which the respondent had kept the coloured 'papars' prepared from sago for sale. A sample weighing 600 gms. was purchased by the Food Inspector against payment of Rs. 3.60 as price. Notice was given by the Food Inspector to the respondent before taking the sample that the purchase was being effected for the purposes of analysis to find out whether the article of food being sold was pure or adulterated. The sample was duly sealed after purchase in accordance with rules. The Public Analyst, to whom the sample was sent, vide his report, Exhibit Pe, opined that the sample sent to him was adulterated because coal tar dye had been used for coloring which was not permitted under the rules at that point of time. In consequence the respondent was prosecuted.

(6) The respondent admitted the sale but pleaded that he was not the manufacture of coloured 'papars'. Those had been purchased by him from someone else in the market. Evidence was led to show that coloured 'papars' prepared from sago were supplied to the respondent by a firm of Madras, M/s. Sri Venkateswara & Co. Thus, the respondent pleaded warranty under Section 19 of the Act. The warranty was not proved. The trial Court, however, came to the conclusion that though the warranty had not been proved, there was sufficient evidence to show that the respondent had sold coloured 'papars' as received by him from another party and in those circumstances it would not serve the purpose of the Act if the real culprit is not prosecuted and a person who buys goods from a firm and sells them as such is convicted. The contention on behalf of the prosecution that unless warranty is proved, as contemplated by Section 19 of the Act, the question of prosecuting some one else did not arise was repelled. While acquitting the respondent the trial Court also held that in its view conviction was not possible as a change in law was under the consideration of the Government to the effect that permitted coal tar dye may be used, for coloring 'papars'. The trial Court's judgment was announced on May 29, 1971. As noticed earlier, the amendment in Rule 29 came subsequently, namely, on April 22, 1972.

(7) In Criminal Appeal No. 182 of 1971 also the respondent is Charanjit Lal. In this case the item that was purchased by Food Inspector, Shri Prem Parkash, was 600 gms. coloured 'Phoolwari' prepared from sago for purposes of analysis. An amount of Rs. 3 had been paid by way of price. The 'Phoolwari' that was purchased was duly sealed In accordance with the Rules and sent for analysis. According to the Public Analyst report. Exhibit Pe, it was found to be adulterated inasmuch as coal tar dye had been used for coloring which' was not permissible under Rule 29. The respondent was prosecuted under Section 7 read with Section 16 of the Act. The respondent and the prosecution admitted the sale but pleaded warranty by saying that he had purchased the infringing article from M/s. Raja Ram Charanjit Lal of Fatehpuri, Delhi. The warranty was not proved in accordance with the provisions of Section 19 of the Act. It was further pleaded by the respondent that Rule 29 was under amendment and the proposed amendment would make 'Phoolwari' one of the articles enumerated under Rule 29. A document, Exhibit Dw 2/A, was produced. This is a circular dated May 14, 1970 purported to have been issued by the Municipal Health Officer to the Municipal Prosecutor. This circular brought to the notice of the Municipal Prosecutor that a representation had been made by the Halwais' Association to permit use of permitted coal tar dye in savouries and the matter was under active consideration. It further stated that in some cases despite the opinion of the Public Analyst, prosecutions had not been launched in view of the proposed change that was to be brought about. As the matter was likely to take some time, the circular suggested other similar cases being tried in courts might be kept pending by obtaining adjournments from courts. The circular cited authority for the instructions being issued, the authority being orders from the Lt. Governor, Union Territory of Delhi, as contained in his D.O. No. 2864/LG/70 dated April 30, 1970, addressed to the Commissioner of Municipal Corporation of Delhi. The trial Court for reasons similar as in the other case acquitted the respondent.

(8) The Municipal Corporation of Delhi after obtaining the special leave filed appeals in this court which are now before us turn disposal.

(9) We have already observed that the amendment in Rule 29 was brought about subsequent to the pronouncement of the judgment of the trial Court. On the face of it, thereforee, the trial Court's judgments cannot be sustained because the trial Court could not take into consideration proposed legislation as there was nothing in existence which was required to he given a retrospective effect. The matter, however, does not end there because, admittedly, pending the appeal in this court, Rule 20 has been amended. The question is whether the benefit of the amendment could be given to respondent by reading the rule as having retrospective effect.

(10) The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act is a social legislation. It is one of the Directive Principles of State Policy contained in Part Iv of our Constitution that the State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties (Vide Article 47). In furtherance of the said Directive Principle of State Policy and in, order to curb the evil of food adulteration which was rampant in our country, and is undoubtedly a menace to public health which has to be rooted out, many States enacted laws to curb the evil. In 1954 the Parliament decided to enact the Act to bring about uniformity in the legislation meant to check this evil. That is how Act 37 of 1954 was enacted. Under this Act the Central Government is required to constitute a committee called the Central Committee for Food Standards to advise the Central Government and the State Governments on matters relevant to the administration of this Act and to carry out the other functions assigned to it under the Act. The Committee was to be comprised of expert nominees of the Government, representatives of the medical profession, representatives of the consumers' interests etc. The Central Government I was also required to establish a Central Food Laboratory. Section 7 of the Act provides that no person shall himself or by any person on his behalf manufacure for sale, or store, sell or distribute, inter alia, any adulterated food. Section 2(i) of the Act, as in force at the relevant time, defines the term 'adulterated'. It inter alias read : 'Adulterated' an article of food shall be deemed to be adulterated (J) if any coloring matter other than that prescribed in respect thereof and in amounts not within the prescribed limits of variability is present in the article ; (k) if the article contains any prohibited preservative or permitted preserative in excess of the prescribed limits; ' Section 23 gives the Central Government power to make rules while Section 24 gives power to the State Government to make rule. It is not in dispute the the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as the Rules) were made in exercise of valid power. We have already extracted Rule 29 earlier, and it is not disputed that the rule and its amendment were made in exercise of valid power.

(11) Before we proceed further we may notice that it is common ground that the amended rule 29 in terms is not retrospective in operation. The question is whether the theory of beneficial construction should be adopted and the present rule be read retrospectively to give benefit to the respondent who admittedly, when he was prosecuted, was proceeded against for selling articles of food which, strictly speaking, could be regarded as being adulterated within the meaning of the Act and the Rules.

(12) Learned counsel for the appellants first urged that in cases of economic offences or such anti-social activity which social legislation like the Act endeavors to curb the approach of the court should be to enforce the provisions of the Act strictly and not with the conventional attitude which is adopted in an ordinal criminal trial. The contention is that the primary purpose of the Parliament in enacting such a law was to curb the highly objectionable anti-social activity of adulterating foodstuff which was rampant in this country. Adulteration of an article of food is, no doubt, an extremely anti-social activity being highly deleterious to public health. It is the duty of courts, the submission runs, to assist the legislature in attaining the object of eradicating this evil and ensuring public health. If the courts were to take a lenient view or give liberal interpretation in favor of persons accused of such anti-social activity it would be nullifying the just and humane intentions of the legislature. There is force in this contention. At the same time there is also some force in the contention on behalf of the respondent that standards under the Act and the Rules are prescribed on the advice of a high-powered body and if those standards are revised or prescribed by way of amendment of the Rules one should take note of the fact that the amendments have been brought about as a result of further research, analysis and experience. thereforee, if it is merely a technical offence the rule of beneficial construction should be adopted in construing the amendments and those amendments should be given retrospective effect.

(13) As a general rule every statute is deemed to be prospective unless by express provision or necessary implication it is to have a retrospective effect. Whether a statute or any other piece of legislation is to have retrospective effect depends upon the interpretation of a particular legislation or statute having regard to well-settled rules of construction. To quote from Maxwell's Interpretation of Statutes, 'Upon the presumption that the legislature does not intend what is unjust rests the leaning against giving certain statutes a retrospective operation. Nova constitutio futuris forman imponere debet, non praeteritis. They are construed as operating only in cases or on facts which come into existence after the statutes were passed unless a retrospective effect be clearly intended. It is a fundamental rule of English law that no statute shall be construed to have a retrospective operation unless such a construction appears very clearly in the terms of the Act, or arises by necessary and distinct implication.

(14) Perhaps no rule of construction is more firmly established than this, that a retrospective operation is not to be given to a statute so as to impair an existing right or obligation, otherwise than as regards matter of procedure, unless that effect cannot be avoided without doing violence to the language of the enactment. If the enactment is expressed in language which is fairly capable of either interpretation, it ought to be construed as prospective only.' But if the language is plainly retrospective it must be so interpreted. At the same time, it is laid down that regard must be paid to the dominant intention,.....'.

(15) Although a statute or legislation may not either expressly or by necessary implication show an intendment of retrospecivity yet it is another cardinal principle of interpretation that a statute or a legislation should be so interpreted as to advance the purpose for which it was brought into existence. The principle behind this canon of construction is that it is the duty of the courts to give such construction to a statute as will suppress the mischief and advance the remedy. Even where the usual meaning of the language falls short of the whole object of the legislature, a more extended meaning may be attributed to the words, once again, according to Maxwell. In other words, the legislative intent has to be deduced from the wording's of the legislation and a little stretching is permissible if the purpose for which a legislation is brought into existence can be advanced by doing so or the mischief that it intends to curb can be curbed by it. There must not, however, be unnecessary straining of the language or the wards for words must be given their natural and plain meaning. It is by keeping in view these settled principles regarding construction of statutes that we have to examine the rival contentions.

(16) According to the appellant, on August 8, 1969, when the samples were lifted, the commission of the offence was complete. That today use of permitted coal tar dye in 'papar' or 'phoolwari' is no longer an offence would not be relevant for the purposes of finding out whether on August 8, 1969 an offence was or was not committed. Reliance was placed on Shri Ram Labhaya v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi and another, 1974 F. A. C. 102. In this case the appellant was prosecuted and convicted. On appeal the High Court acquitted him. The article in question was a sample of 'Haldi' taken from his shop which on analysis was found to contain foreign starches to the extent of 25 per cent. Rule 44 of the Rules provides that no person shall sell turmeric containing any foreign substance. Section 7(v) of the Act provides that no person shall sell any article of food in contravention of any provisions of the Act or any rule made there under. The trial court, thereforee, held that the sale of Haldi containing foreign starches was in contravention of Rule 44 (h) read with Section 7(v) of the Act. During the pendency of the appeal in the High Court Rule A.05.20.01 came into force on July 8, 1968 under which it was provided that Haldi powder may contain not more than 60 per cent starch by weight. The High Court gave the benefit of the amendment and acquitted the appellant. On further appeal by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi the Supreme Court observed that such an amendment which came into force after the date of the offence in question was a circumstance not without relevance on the question of sentence. It upheld the conviction.

(17) As against the above decision of the Supreme Court, the respondent placed reliance on Rattan Lal v. The State of Punjab, : 1965CriLJ360 . In that case the question which arose for determination was whether the High Court could give the benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 to the appellant for an offence committed prior to the extension of the said Act to Gurgaon District but on its being so extended while the appeal was still pending in the High Court against the conviction and sentence imposed by the trial Court. Subba Rao, J. (as he then was) speaking for the majority observed :

'EVERYlaw that takes away or impairs a vested right is retrospective. Every ex post facto law is necessarily retrospective. Under Art. 20 of the Constitution, no person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in force at the time of the commission of that act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence. But an ex post facto law which only mollifies the rigour of a criminal law does not fall within the said prohibition.'

(18) Our brother, V. D. Misra, J, speaking for the bench in Sunder Lal v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi, 1974 F.A.C. 21, noticed the above observation in Rattan Lal's case and applying the rule of beneficial construction gave effect to standards of compounded 'Hing' as amended and held that those standards would have retrospective effect and the sample of 'Hing' for the sale of which Sunder Lal was prosecuted could not be said to be adulterated. The respondent relies on this decision. The other bench decision of this court in which retrospective effect was given to the change of standards merely follows the bench decision of this court in Sunder Lal's case.

(19) We may here mention the conflicting bench decision of this court in Municipal Corporation of Delhi and another v. Ail Dass, I.L.R. 1975 2 Del 346. In this case the respondent had been prosecuted for selling butter which on analysis was found to be adulterated due to 4.3 per cent excess in moisture and 1.5 per cent deficiency in fat. Respondent was acquitted as the trial Magistrate was of the view that a Bharat Sweets Bhandar from where the sample was lifted butter as such was not sold and the butter kept in the shop was to be used in preparation of samosas. On appeal by special leave it was held that it was not material that the respondent was not a dealer in butter. On the other question of the beneficial construction, it was held that though on the date when the sample of the butter was taken the standards prescribed by the rules were amended subsequently yet in determining whether or not the sample of butter was adulterated the standard of quality laid down for the item as in force on the date when the sample was lifted had to be considered and not the substituted standards. This decision follows Ram Lubhaya v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi and another, 1974 F.A.C. 102.

(20) In our opinion, and we say this with respect, the decision of a bench of this court in Sunder Lal v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi, followed by another bench decision of this court in Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Mai Ram appear to have been given by reading certain observations of Subba Rao, J. in Rattan Lal's case short from the context. The observations of Subba Rao, J. quoted in Sunder Lal's

(21) Case follow the submissions of the counsel which have been noticed. In para 6 of he judgment what the learned Judge had observed was that the first question which arose for consideration was whether the High Court, acting under Section 11 of the Probation of Offenders Act, could exercise the powers conferred on a court under Section 6 of that Act. It was submitted, and it is so noticed, that the jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 11(3) of that Act was confined only to a. case that had been brought to its file by appeal or revision and, thereforee, it could only exercise such jurisdiction as the trial court had, and in that case the trial Court could not have made any order under Section 6 of the Act, as at the time it made the order the Act had been extended to Gurgaon District.

(22) On this assumption, the argument proceeds, the Act should not be given retrospective operation, as, if so given, it would effect the criminal liability of a person for an act committed by him before the Act came into operation. Then the learned Judge notices that a number of decisions were cited bearing on the question of retroactivity of a statute in the context of vested rights. Immediately thereafter follows the passage quoted in Sunder Lal's case. After that passage what Subba Rao, J. observed was as follows :

'IFa particular law makes a provision to that effect, though retrospective in operation, it will be valid. The question whether such a law is retrospective and, if so. to what extent depends upon the interpretation of a particular statute, having regard to the well-settled rules of construction.'

(23) Having noticed the canone of interpretation and the submissions this is what is ultimately observed by Subba Rao, J. in Rattan Lal's case: 'Let us now proceed to consider the question raised in the present case. This is not a case where an act, which was not an offence before the Act is made an offence under the Act ; nor this is a case where under the Act a punishment higher than that obtaining for an offence before the Act is imposed . This is an instance where neither the ingredients of the offence nor the limits of the sentence are disturbed, but a provision is made to help the reformation of an accused through the agency of the court. Even so the statute affects an offence committed before it was extended to the area in question. It is, thereforee, a post facto law and has retrospective operation. In considering the scope of such a provision we must adopt the rule of beneficial construction as enunciated by the modern trend of judicial opinion without doing violence to the provisions of the relevant section. Section 11(3) of the Act, on the basis of which the learned counsel for the State advances most of his arguments, has no relevance to the present appeal: the said sub-section applies only to a case where no appeal lies or is preferred against the order of a court declining to deal with an accused under S. 3 or S. 4 of the Act, and in the instant case an appeal lay to the Sessions Judge and indeed an appeal was preferred from the order of the Magistrate. The provision that directly applies to the present case is S. 11(1) of the Act, whereunder an order under the Act may be made by any Court empowered to try and sentence the offender to imprison- ment and also by the High Court or any other court when the case comes before it on appeal or in revision. The sub-section ex facie does not circumscribe the jurisdiction of an appellate court to make an order under the Act only in a case where the trial court could have made that order. The phraseology used therein is wide enough to enable the appellate court or the High Court when the case comes before it, to make such an order. It was purposely made comprehensive, as the Act was made to implement a social reform. As the Act does not change the quantum of the sentence, but only introduces a provision to reform the offender, there is no reason why the Legislature should have prohibited the exercise of such a power, even if the case was pending against the accused at (me stage or other in the hierarchy of tribunals. . . .'

(24) In our view it is in the context of the above observations that one has to read the judgment of the Supreme Court in Rattan Lal's case. On the question of sentence a beneficial construction may be given and indeed in the present cases we feel should be given but the rule of beneficial construction cannot be extended to render an act which was an offence as one which is not an offence. We cannot accept the argument that Ram Labhaya's case was really concerned with construing the provisions of Section 10(7) of the Act and the observations of Y. V. Chandrachud, J. (as he then was) in paragraph 6 should not be held to have laid down any rule of law. As we have observed earlier what was once an offence cannot be pleaded as not having been an offence unless the law in unmistakeable terms says so. The observations of Chandrachud, J. cannot be regarded as pari curia or even obiter. While upholding the conviction it was only on the question of sentence that the amendment was held to be relevant.

(25) It was then contended on behalf of the respondents that as is evident from the circular, Exhibit DW.2/A in Criminal Appeal No. 182 of 1971 issued within six months of the lifting of the sample, the provisions of old Rule 29 (3) cannot be read to be exhaustive. Indeed, it was urged, the social problem reflected in Exhibit DW.2/A has to be kept in view and beneficial construction should be given to the amendment to subserve the social purpose as otherwise it will be enforcing law which would create a social mischief. The contention is that savouries like 'papar' and 'phoolwari' have traditionally been sold coloured with permitted coal tar dye and to hold otherwise would he to be blind to realities. To advance the purpose of the Act or to supress the mischief intended to be curbed by the Act, it was submitted, it was necessary to take note of the realities of the situation that 'papar' and 'phoolwari' are savouries which even the Administration later on recognised could be sold after being coloured by permitted coal tar dye. It was further submitted that the amendment in the rule really supplied an omission or explained an earlier provision which had really been copied from the English Act and the Rules without application of mind of Indian conditions. It was even suggested that the term used in the original schedule were generic terms and adding of the words 'papar' and 'phoolwari' is only explanatory or clarificatory. Reliance was placed on a number of decisions.

(26) Reading Rules 28 and 29 as in force at that time it is clear that the coal tar dyes which could be used were those which were specified in Rule 28. Rule 29 lays down that use of permitted coal tar dye in or upon any food other than those enumerated is prohibited. Clause (e) of Rule 29 mentioned Biscuits, Pastry, Confectionery and Sweets. This rule has since been amended, as noticed earlier, by adding 'savouries' such as 'papar', 'phoolwari' etc. The rule, in our opinion, is quite specific. The terms 'biscuits', 'pastry', 'confectionery' and 'sweets' cannot be called generic terms or descriptive words. Everyone reading these words understands what they imply. In any case, 'papar' and 'phoolwari' did not fall under any of the heads, namely, 'biscuits', 'pastry', 'confectionery' or 'sweets'. It cannot be said that 'papar' or 'phoolwari' made out of sago would be confectionery because the term confectionery is well-understood.

(27) The cases relied upon may now be noticed. In Seksaria Cotton Mills Ltd. and others v. The State of Bombay, : [1953]4SCR825 , what was laid down was that in a penal statute it is the duty of the Courts to interpret words of ambiguous meaning in a broad and liberal sense so that they will not become traps for honest, unlearned (in the law) and unwary men. In our opinion, this case has no relevance to the facts of this case. The so-called traditional sale of coloured 'papar' despite the old Rule 29(3) does not mean there was an ambiguity in the rule.

(28) In Keshavlal Jethial Shah v. Mohanlal Bhagwandas and another : [1968]3SCR623 , the contention that Section 29(2) of the Bombay Rente Hotel and Lodging House Rates Control Act should be construed to be retrospective in operation was not accepted, on a plain reading of the section.

(29) In Thiru Manickam and Co. v. The State of Tamil Nadu, : [1977]1SCR950 , it was held that an amendment which is by way of clarification of an earlier ambiguous provision can be useful aid in construing the earlier provision even though such an amendment is not give retrospective effect. In our opinion the principle has no application to the facts of the present cases as we have held that the words contained in Rule 29(3) were not ambiguous in their connotation.

(30) In M. V. Joshi v. M. U. Shimpi and another, : [1961]3SCR986 , the contention that a penal statute should be construed in favor of the accused was negatived and the established canon of interpretation that it is the paramount duty of the judicial interpreter to put upon the language of the Legislature, honestly and faithfully, its plain and rational meaning and to promote its object was reiterated. How this decision helps the respondent is beyond us.

(31) The result is that we hold that the amendment of Rule 29(e) on April 22, 1972 does not vitiate the prosecution or trial of the respondent. The facts are not in dispute and so, the respondent must be held guilty of the offence under Section 7 read with Section 16 of the Act for having sold, in one case 'papars' and in the other 'phoolwari' in contravention of Rule 29 (e) as in force at that time. On the question of conviction, thereforee, the correct law has been enunciated by the bench of this court in the case of Municipal Corporation of Delhi and another v. Ail Dass. On the question of sentence the correct approach is, as has been laid down by the Supreme Court in Ram Lubhaya v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

(32) We, thereforee, accept these appeals and convict the respondent of the offence with which he was charged in each of the two cases. In the circumstances of the case, we sentence the respondent till the rising of the court.


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