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Municipal Corporation Vs. Sri Chand - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal;Food Adulteration
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 42 of 1972
Judge
Reported in1975RLR99
ActsPrevention of Food Adulteration Act - Sections 16(1)
AppellantMunicipal Corporation
RespondentSri Chand
Advocates: B.L. Anand,; K.B. Kalra and; Gulshan Rai, Advs
Excerpt:
- .....: 2.9%. the learned magistrate found that under rule 57 of the prevention of food adulteration rules, lead to the extent of 2.5 part per million weight was permissible in haldi. he also came to the conclusion that the addition of sodium chloride as a preservative is permitted under rule 53, and acquitted the respondent (3) mr. k.b. kaira, learned counsel for the appellant, submits that the standard for haldi given to item a. 05.01 (before its amendment by g.s.r. 1533 dated july 8, 1968) of appendix 'b' to the prevention of food adulteration rules, 1955, permitted 2.5 parts per million of lead in haldi but, after the amendment, the standard for haldi given in item .no. a. 05.20 and standard for haldl powder given in item no. a 05.21 are silent about the presence of lead. it is thus.....
Judgment:

V.D. Misra, J.

(1) This is an appeal against the order of Shri B.L. Anand. judicial Magistrate, acquitting the respondent of the offence under section 7/16, Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, of selling adulterated Haldi powder.

(2) The respondent is the proprietor of Ashok Masala Company. On December 29, 1970, Shri S.L. Mehra, Food Inspector, purchased 450 grams of Haldi powder packed in sealed plastic packets for analysis from the respondent. It was divided into three parts and put in three dry and clean bottles which were duly sealed. One of the sealed bottles was handed over to the respondent and one was sent to the Public Analyst. On analysis the Haldi- was found to be adulterated due to the presence of sodium chloride and artificial coal-tar dye. During the trial the sample was sent to the Director of Food Laboratory, Calcutta, at the request of the respondent. The result of analysis was :... ...... Lead : 1.8 p p.m. (on dry base). Salt (sodium chloride) : 2.9%. The learned magistrate found that under Rule 57 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, lead to the extent of 2.5 part per million weight was permissible in Haldi. He also came to the conclusion that the addition of sodium chloride as a preservative is permitted under Rule 53, and acquitted the respondent

(3) Mr. K.B. Kaira, learned counsel for the appellant, submits that the standard for Haldi given to item A. 05.01 (before its amendment by G.S.R. 1533 dated July 8, 1968) of Appendix 'B' to the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955, permitted 2.5 parts per million of lead in Haldi but, after the amendment, the standard for Haldi given in item .No. A. 05.20 and standard for Haldl powder given in item No. A 05.21 are silent about the presence of lead. It is thus contended that the presence of lead, which is a poison, is completely prohibited in Haldi and Haldi powder.

(4) Rule 57 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955, relates to poisonous metals. Sub-rule (I) permits the presence of poisonous metals in Chemicals, when used in foods, up to the limits specified in the appropriate monographs of the Indian Pharmacopoeia for the time being in force. However, sub-rule (2) has a table which specifies articles of food and the maximum permissible limit of the poisonous metals mentioned therein. It lays down that notwithstanding the provisions of sub-rule (1), no article of food specified in the table shall contain poisonous metals in excels of the permissible limits. Lead is the first poisonous metal mentioned in the first column of the table, whereas articles of food are mentioned in column 2 and the maximum permissible quantity in parts per million weight is specified in column 3. In column 2, item (i) specifies various 'beverages', item (i-A) relates to Baking-powder, item (ii) specifies 'Other Foods' and item (iii) relates to 'Foods not specified'. The maximum permissible limit of lead for foods not specified is 2.5 p.p m. It will be noticed that under Rule 57 Baking-powder is allowed to contain lead up to 10 parts per million weight, whereas its definition and standard of quality given in item No. A 02 of Appendix B to the Rules is silent about the presence of lead. Similarly, all types of sugars mentioned in Rule 57 can contain lead up to 5 parts per million weight, their definitions and standards of quality mentioned in items Nos. A.07.01 and A.07 01.01 are silent about the presence of lead. Similar is the case of ice-cream, tea and various other articles of food mentioned in Rule 57. Again, whereas 'curry-powder' is not among the articles of food specified in Rule 57 and thus can contain lead up to 2.5 parts per million weight under that rule. Standard of quality given in item A, of Appendix B to the Rules permits the presence of lead up to '10.0 p.p.m. on dry basis'. Similarly, Rule 57 permits presence of lead up to 2.5 parts per million weight and arsenic up to 1.1 parts per million weight in foods not specified therein but standard of quality for Amaranth given in item No. A.26.03 permits lead up to 10.0 parts per million but does not allow more than 1.0 parts per million of arsenic. This shows that unless a rule or standard of quality laid down in respect of' an article of food overrides Rule 57 by either absolutely prohibiting or varying the permissible quantity of a poisonous metal, an article of food is allowed to contain poisonous. metals up to the limits prescribed by Rule 57. The definition of Haldi contained in item A.05.01 (before its amendment) reads thus :

'TURMERIC(Haldi) means the dried rhizome of bulbous root of the plants of genus Curcuma and species longa and includes turmeric in whatsoever form. It shall be free from. damage by insect pest, from lead chromate and other artificial coloring matter, and shall not contain more than 2.5 parts per million of lead'.

After amendment, the definition as contained in item A.05.20 reads thus :

'TURMERIC(Haldi) whole means the dried' rhizome or bulbous roots of the plant of Curcuma lorga L. it shall be free from lead. chromate and other artificial coloring. matter'.

The amendment of quality for Haldi by deleting the words 'shall not contain more than 2.5 parts per million of lead' does not mean that presence of lead came to be prohibited, but, on the other hand, it shows that it was a superfluous detail in view of Rule 57 which allowed the presence of lead up to 2.5 p.p.m. for 'foods not specified'.

(5) The only other contention raised by Mr. Kalra is that the addition of preservative should have been mentioned on the packet in terms of Rule 43. Mr. Gulshan Rai, learned; counsel for the respondent submits that Rule 43 is not applicable to cases where preservaties have been added to articles of food.

(6) Part X of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955, deals with preservatives. Rule 52 defines 'Preservative' as a substance which when added to food, is capable of inhibiting, retarding or arresting. the process of fermentation, acidification or other decomposition of food'. Rule 53 contains the 'Preservatives' which have been divided into Class I Preservatives and Class Ii Preservatives. Common salt falls under Class I Preservatives. This rule lays down. that 'addition of Class I Preservatives in any food is not restricted, unless otherwise pro- vided in the rules'. The use of common salt as a preservative in Haldi powder in terms of Rule 52 has not been questioned before us. Rule 56 lays down that the word 'Pure' shall not be used on the label of the container of any food which contains preservative. Rule 43 prohibits the use of any words, which might imply that the food is pure, in every advertisement and every price or trade list or label attached to the container of the food. The only exception to this rule is '(a) Salt in butter or margarine, (b) Vitamins in food'. This rule further provides that the fact of any addition, admixture or deficiency in an article of food shall be mentioned and the nature and quantity of such addition, admixture and deficiency specified in every advertisement and every price or trade list or label relating to that food. It also requires that every package containing food, which is not pure by reason of any addition, admixture or deficiency, shall be labelled with an adhesive label containing the declaration in the form given in this rule.

(7) The purpose of Rules 43 and 56 is to inform a customer that what he is buying is not a pure article of food but contains something extra which is foreign to its nature. So whereas Rule 56 prohibits the use of the word 'pure' on the label of the container of any food which contains preservative, Rule 43, which falls under Part Vii relating to packing and labelling of foods, requires every package containing food, to which something has been added, to be labelled with an adhesive label showing not only the name of substance which has been added but also the quantity of the same. Since Rule 43 refers to all additions made to an article of food, the addition of a preservative is also covered by it. The proviso to sub-rule (1) shows that though addition of salt to butter and margarine is an addition or admixture under is rule, this was specifically exempted from the operation of the rule. I have not been shown any reason why the addition of a preservative to an article of food should not meet the requirements of Rule 43.

(8) The respondent admittedly had not labelled his packets containing Haldi power to which salt had been added. He had thus contravened Rule 43 which makes him liable to be punished under Rule 15 (1) (a) (ii). Appeal allowed.


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