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Ram Singh Vs. the State and Municipal Corporation of Delhi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal;Food Adulteration
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revision Appeal No. 267 of 1977
Judge
Reported in17(1980)DLT209
ActsPrevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 - Sections 20AA; Probation of offenders Act, 1958 - Sections 46(6)
AppellantRam Singh
RespondentThe State and Municipal Corporation of Delhi
Cases ReferredSis Ram v. State and M.C.D.
Excerpt:
.....commission also in its forty seventh report recommended the exclusion of applicability of the probationary process in case of social and economic offences, and presuroably in response to this recommendation, the legislature has recently amended the prevention of food adulteration act, 1954 by introducing section 20aa providing 'that nothing contained in the probation of offenders act,1958 or section 360 of the code of criminal procedure, 1973 shall apply to a person convcted of an offence under the act unless that person is under eighteen years of age. ft a case like the present one. 2,000.00 with one surety in the like amount to keep peace and of good behavior for a period of 2 year and further to, receive the sentence whenever called upon to do so curing the said period......commenced in 1975, prior to the introduction of section 20aa, the 'benefit of section 4 of the probation of offenders act, 1958, should be given to the petitioner as 'he was only a boy of 20 years and four months of age at the time of commission of the offence. this is the only point which arises for consideration in this petition. (3) the trial court had observed that the petitioner 'had not proved bids age to be below 21 years at the time of the incident. the learned sessions judge, however, disagreed with that finding and held the accused to be less than 21 years of age at the time of commission of offence. the benefit under the probation of offenders act was, however, not given as the learned sessions judge was of the view that the offence committed by the petitioner viz. selling.....
Judgment:

Charanjit Talwar, J.

(1) The petitioner was convicted for an offence under Section 7 read with Section 16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and sentenced to undergo R.I. fora period of six months and to pay a fine of Rs. 1000.00 by the learned Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi. In appeal the said conviction and sentence having been upheld, the petitioner filed the present revision petition. During the pendency of the petition, the petitioner was released on bail.

(2) Bawa Gurcharan Singh, learned Counsel has not challenged the conviction of the petitioner on facts. He has, however, urged that as the prosecution commenced in 1975, prior to the introduction Of Section 20AA, the 'benefit of Section 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, should be given to the petitioner as 'he was only a boy of 20 years and four months Of age at the time of commission of the offence. This is the only point which arises for consideration in this petition.

(3) The Trial Court had observed that the petitioner 'had not proved bids age to be below 21 years at the time of the incident. The learned Sessions Judge, however, disagreed with that finding and held the accused to be less than 21 years of age at the time of commission of offence. The benefit under the Probation of Offenders Act was, however, not given as the learned Sessions Judge was of the view that the offence committed by the petitioner viz. selling of boondi ladoos containing unpermitted coal tar dye, was a great health hazard. It was accordingly held that clemency in the matter of sentence should not be shown to the appellant. In support of this conclusion the learned Session Judge relied upon the decisions of the Supreme Court in Ishar Dass v. The State of Punjab, 1972. Fac 150 and Prem Bdllab and another v. The State (Delhi Admn.), 1976 2 Fac 53.

(4) The learned Couasel for the petitioner has urged that the lower appellate Court had not correctly appreciated the observations of the Supreme Court. It was submitted that in Ishar Glass's, case it had been settled that as regards persons who were 21 years of age at the time of the incident (prior to the amendment of the Act) the policy of the law was that they should not bedeprived of the advantage of the. Probation of Offenders Act. In Prem Ballab's case, however, Bhagwati, J' in his speech has held as follows :

'THEimperatives of special defense must discourage the applicability of the probation principle.' No chancees can 'be taken by society with a man whose anti-social activities, in the guise of a respectable trade, jeopardise the health and well being of numerous innocent consumers The adulterator is a social risk.,It might be dangerous to leave him free to carry Oh his.nefarious activities by applying the probation principle to him. Moreover, it must be remembered that adulteration is an economic offence prompted by profit motive and it is not,, likely to lend itself easily to the rapeutic treatment by the probationary measure. It may be pointed out that the law Commission also in its Forty Seventh Report recommended the exclusion of applicability of the probationary process in case of social and economic offences, and presuroably in response to this recommendation, the Legislature has recently amended the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 by introducing Section 20AA providing 'that nothing contained in the Probation of Offenders Act,1958 or Section 360 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 shall apply to a person convcted of an offence under the Act unless that person is under eighteen years of age. This amendment of course would not apply in the persent case but it shows the,legislative trend which it would not be right for the Court to ignore.'

The above observations, it is urged by the respondent lay down that it is not permissible for the Court to apply .the provisions of the Prbbation of Offenders Act,, 1958 in a case where the accused is 20 years of age. I do not- agree. ft a case like the present one. where the offence was committed before the insedrtion of Section 20AA, the Court has to hold that it is undesirable to deal with the convict below 21 years under .Section 4 of the Probation of offenders Act. , incorporation,,of that section the proviision is to be made applicable to a person who is under 18 years of age. It is, thereforee, legally permissible to apply the said provisions in a suitable case,

(5) This Court in various decisions has held so. la Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Sri Tek Ram, 1976 (1) Fac 140, Rajinder Sachar, J., after observing that adulteration of food,was a menace to public health, held that persons below 21 years, age should not be deprived of advantage of 1958 Act. In another case Sis Ram v. State and M.C.D. 1977(11) Fac 293,.Kapur J.' after notioing the observations of the Supreme Court in Prem Ballab's case, (supra) directed the release of the convict under Section 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act. In the said case the accused had been convicted for the offence of selling ladoos prepared with vanaspati' which was found on analysis to contain, unpermitted coal tar dye. In the present case also the offence is similar.

(6) The petitioner in the present case has be,en on bail throughout. He was less than 21 years of age at the time of the incident and. is stated not to have been involved in any other complaint under the Act. He is also not a previous convict. Taking all these circumstances into account I do not consider it a fit case where the petitioner should be sent. to jail after lapse of four years. Instead of sentencing him at once to the punishment awarded, I direct that he be released on probation on his entering into a bond in the sum of Rs. 2,000.00 with one surety in the like amount to keep peace and of good behavior for a period of 2 year and further to, receive the sentence whenever called upon to do so curing the said period. The requisite bond and 'Security would Be furnished to the satisfaction of the Trial Court within a period.

(7) The petition indisposed of accordingly.


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