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Parchoon Dookandar Association Vs. Municipal Corporation - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal;Food Adulteration
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revision Appeal Nos. 391 and 396 of 1972
Judge
Reported in1973RLR186
ActsPrevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1951 - Sections 7
AppellantParchoon Dookandar Association;chaman Shah;darshan Lal
RespondentMunicipal Corporation;municipal Corporation;municipal Corporation
Advocates: Ghanshyam Das,; Y. Dayal,; N.K. Jain and;
Cases ReferredState of Bombay (Now Gujarat) v. Parshottam Kanaiya
Excerpt:
.....of food adulteration act, 1951 - issuance of process challenged on ground of lack of authority - municipal corporation by resolution delegated all authority under section 20 to complainant - mere omission of word 'institute' in resolution does not mean that complainant had no authority to institute and conduct cases - complaint instituted with proper authority - issuance of process valid. - - 994 of the standing committee dated 18-2-2970. resolved that it be recommended to the corporation that as proposed by the commissioner in his letter no. 1886/c&c dated 23-12-1969 and required by section 20 of the prevention of food adulteration act, 1954 (37 of 1954) and recommended by the standing committee vide its resolution no. that apart what is to be seen precisely in this case is the..........except by, or with the written consent of the central government or the state government or a local authority or a person authorised in this behalf, by general or special order, by the central government or the state government or a 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'.the petitioners relied upon the document ext. pw2/b, which deserves to be reproduced in extenso and contended that the municipal corporation of delhi had only delegated the power to conduct the cases, manohar lal gupta had hot been authorised to 'institute' any complaint, the document which is differently instituted in connected.....
Judgment:

P.S. Safeer, J.

(1) This judgment will dispose of six criminal revisions No. 391 to 396 of 1972, which have been placed before me in consequence of an order made by Shri R.K.. Sinha, Additional Sessions Judge, Delhi in exercise of the jurisdiction given by Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

(2) Mr. Manohar Lal Gupta, Assistant Municipal Prosecutor instituted six complaints under Sections 7/16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1951, hereafter called 'the Act' against the six petitioners who have filed these petitions,

(3) In the course of the proceedings injtiated by the complaints, applications were moved before Sh. B. L. Anand, Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class raising the grievance that the complaints had been incompetently and illegally instituted by an unauthorised person and deserve to be dismissed as such. It was contended on behalf of the petitioners that the complaints against them could have been instituted only within the strict scope of Section 20 (1) of the Act, which is :-

'S.20(1). No prosecution for an offence under this Act shall be instituted except by, or with the written consent of the Central Government or the State Government or a local authority or a person authorised in this behalf, by general or special order, by the Central Government or the State Government or a 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'.

The petitioners relied upon the document Ext. PW2/B, which deserves to be reproduced in extenso and contended that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi had only delegated the power to conduct the cases, Manohar Lal Gupta had hot been authorised to 'institute' any complaint, the document which is differently instituted in connected cases is :- 'Subject: Delegation of powers under Section 20 of the prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (No. 37 of 1954). (i) Commissioner's letter No. 1886/C&C;, dated 23-12-1969, Under Section 20 of the Prevention of the Food Adulteration Act, 1954, on prosecution for an offence under the said Act shall be instituted except by or with the written consent of the Central Government or the State Government or a Local Authority, by a general or special order by the Central Government or the State Government or the local body. Shri Manohar Lal Gupta who has been performing the current charge of the post of Assistant Municipal Prosecutor in his own grade is required to conduct, cases in the Courts on behalf of the civic body under the provisions of the aforesaid Act. In order that he could discharge the said functions properly, especially with reference to the provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, it is necessary that the local body may delegate the said powers in his favor, as required under Section 20 (ibid.) Approval of the Corporation to the above proposal is solicited.

(4) Treating it an item of Urgent Business, the matter may be routed through the Standing Committee. (ii) Resolution No. 994 of the Standing Committee dated 18-2-2970. Resolved that it be recommended to the Corporation that as proposed by the Commissioner in his letter No. 1886/C&C; dated 23-12-1969 and required by Section 20 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (37 of 1954) delegation of powers to Shri Manohar Lal Gupta. Asstt. Mpl. Prosecutor to conduct cases in the Court on behalf of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi under the provisions of the aforesaid Act be approved. Resolution No. 118 : 'Resolved that as proposed by the Commissioner in his letter No. 1886/C&C; dated 23-12-1969 and required by Section 20 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (37 of 1954) and recommended by the Standing Committee vide its resolution No. 994 dated 18-2-'70 delegation of powers to Shri Manohar Lal Gupta, Asstt. Mpl. Prosecutor to conduct cases in the Court on behalf of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi under the provision of the aforesaid Act be approved.' Mr. R.K. Sinha, who heard the petitions filed under section 435, Criminal Procedure Code' interpreting section 20 of the Act and the document reproduced above came to the conclusion that Mr, ML. Gupta, Assistant Municipal Prosecutor had been authorised only to conduct the cases on behalf of the Municipal Corporation and not to institute any complaints. The learned Additional Session Judge was pers-uaded to that view by the corroboration which he obtained from the fact that while delegating powers under section 20 of the Act to another Assistant Municipal Prosecutor Mr. Anand Krishan Sharma the Municipal Corporation had vide its resolution No. 100 dated the 23rd of April, 1268 authorised him to institute and conduct prosecutions under the Act. The learned Additional Sessions Judge formed the view that the Municipal Corporation was always aware of the scope of section 20 of the Act and wherever power to institute the complaint was to be delegated it was expressly delegated by the Corporation and was combined with the power to conduct the cases. In order to find the true intendment and applicability of section 20 of the Act, it would be approriate to notice the scheme in which it occurs.

(5) The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954 was enacted for a special purpose. The object was the prevention of adulteration of food. In section 2(i) the Legislature defined the word 'adulterated' and in order to fix its application to food defined 'food' in clause (v) of the said provision. Section 2 also defined local area and then proceeded to define local authority in clause (iii). The words 'local authority' occur in section 20 of the Act. In section 2(viii) the Act defined :- '(viii)' local authority' means in the case of- (1) a local area, which is - (a) A Municipality, the municipal board or Municipal Corporation.'

(6) In a given area the Munipal Corporation was to be the local authority for the purpose of section 20 of the Act.

(7) The prohibitions which were enumerated for the purpose of prevention of food adulteration were enumerated under the head 'General Provisions as to Food'. Section 7 is last provision occurring under that heading and contains such significance that it deserves to be noticed for the purpose of measuring the true scope of section 20 of the Act. Section 7 is .:-

'PROHIBITIONof Manufacture, Sale, etc. of certain Articles of Food.-No person shall himself or by any person on his behalf manufacture for sale, or store, sell or distribute.- (i) any adulterated food ; (ii) any misbranded food ; (iii) any article of food for the sale of which a license is prescribed, except in accordance with the conditions of the license; (iv) any article of food the sale of which is for the time being prohibited by Food (Health) Authority (In the interest of public health; or (v) any article of food in contravention of any other provision of this Act or of any rule made there under.'

After enacting section 7, the Legislature procceded to enact provisions concerned with the analysis of food and section 10 enumerated the powers given to Food Inspectors, Section 11 prescribed the procedure which was to be followed by the Food Inspectors, Section 16 was enacted for prescribing the penalties which could be imposed in case of a convition under the Act.

(8) How was the cognizance of an offence to be taken how was a prosecution for an offence committed under the Act to be launched; Who was to launch the prosecution. In order to meet those objects and in order to be precise about the authorities which could take action for launching the prosecution, the legisrature enacted section 20 in the Act. The provision has various aspects. It prohibits the launching of prosecution outside its scope. The opening words in the provision, which have been the subject of argument are :-

'NOprosecution for an offence under this Act shall be instituted except by, or with the written consent of......' It is postulated that there would be no launching of a prosecution except by the authorities enumerated in the provision. The provision confers distinct power on the authorities enumerated in the section to launch prosecution. Those authorities are :- 'The Central Government or the State Government or a local authority or a person authorised in this behalf by general or special order by the Central Government or State Government or a local authority.'

The prosecution under the Act could be launched with the written conse it of a local authority or by a person authorised in that behalf by such a local authority. I am confining this observation to 'a local authority' because the controversy is as to whether the Municipal Corporation of Delhi being the local authority in this case had validly authorised Mr. Manohar Lal Gupta, Assistant Municipal prosecutor to launch the prosecution by instituting the complaints or not. The emphasis by the learned counsel appearing for the. petitioners is that the Corporation could be said to have given valid authority only if it had in its resolution expressed that the Assistant Municipal Prosecutor named therein was being authorised to institute prosecution. It is one of the cardinal principles of statutory interpretation that a legislative enactment is to be so interpreted as to give effect to it. That apart what is to be seen precisely in this case is the scope of the authority given to Mr. Manohar Lal Gupta by the Municipal Corporporation. The Corporation did not by itself have an item on its agenda to take up their matter for giving the authority to Mr. Manohar Lal Gupta. The Commissioner wrote letter No. 1886/C&C; dated the 23rd December, 1969, the relevant portion where of appears in the document Ex. PW2/B reproduced in.an earlier part of this Judgment. In his communication, he stated that under section 20 of the Act, no prosecution for an offence could be instituted except with he written consent of the Central Government or the State Government or a local authority and he then proceeded to recommend that Mr. Manobar Lal Gupta who had been performing the duty of the post of the Assistant Municipal Prosecutor and who according to him was required to conduct cases in the Courts be given the necessary authority so that he can properly discharge the functions, especially with reference to the provisions contained in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. The Commissioner in his communication used the words : - 'It is necessary that the local body may delegate the said powers in his favor as required under section 20 ibid,' Whosoever was to read the communication he was to become aware immediately that the recommendation was to delegate powers contained in section 20 of the Act to Mr. Manohar Lal Gupta. The letter firstly came before Standing Committee who passed its resolution No. 994 dated 15.2.1970 and stated therein that as proposed by the Commissioner in his letter No. 1886/C&C; dated 23.12.1969 and as required by section 20 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 delegation of powers to Mr. Manohar Lal Gupta to conduct cases in the Courts on behalf of the Municipal Corporation may be approved. The Corporation then passed resolution No. 118 which although contained in the document Ex. PW2/B already reproduced, may be quoted herewith advantage :- 'Resolution No. 118 'Resolved that as proposed by the Commissioner in his letter No. 18861C&C; dated 23.12 1969 and required by section 20 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (37 or 1954) and recommended by the Standing Committee vide its resolution No. 994 dated 18.2.69 delegation of powers to Shri Manobar Lal Gupta, Asstt. Mpl. prosecutor to conduct cases in the Court on behalf of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi under the provision of the aforesaid Act be approved. ' The resolution falls in three parts. It was a resolution according approval after considering the proposal contained in the Commissioner's letter No. 1886/C&C; dated 23.12.1969. It must be concluded that the Corporation had taken into consideration the contents of the letter where in the Commissioner had used the words that the prosecution under the Act could be instituted only with the written consent of the local body and that its approval be given by way of delegating the authority contained in section 20 of the Act to Mr. Manohar Lal Gupta. The second part of the resolution contained the words 'and required by section 20 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954' and in third part the resolution stated that the recommendation of the standing Committee in resolution No. 994 dated 18.2.70 for delegation of powers to Shri Manhoar Lal Gupta was approved. While passing resolution No. 118 quoted above the Corporation, thereforee was approving of the proposal of the Commissioner and the recommendation made by the Standing Committee. The Commissioner had made it clear that the authority was to be delegated for the purpose of institution of prosecutions. The terms 'delegation of powers to Mr. Manohar Lal Gupta, Assistant Municipal Prosecutor to conduct the cases in the Court on behalf of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi under the provisions of the aforesaid Act .be approved,' indicate that the entire authority possessed by the 'local body' under section 20 of the Act; was delegated. In the context. of the resolution the authority given to conduct cases could never have been exercised without instituting the complaints. It is no body's case that the Corporation kept out of its mind the provisions contained in section 20 of the Act whiel dealing with the precise recommendations contained in the communication issued by the Commissioner and the resolution passed by the Standing Committee.

(9) The counsel appearing for the petitioner has cited State of Bombay (Now Gujarat) v. Parshottam Kanaiya lal, : [1961]1SCR458 . In that judgment in paragraph 13 the Supreme Court held that complaint within the scope of section 20 (1) could be filed either by a named or specified authority or with the written consent of such authority. The learned counsel has also cited 1972 Prevention of Food Adulteration Cases (Part 6 & 7) page 419 as well as 1972 Prevention of Food Adulteration Cases (Part 5) page 346. In none of those cases was the scope of the word 'conduct' settled so as to exclude from its purview the institution of the prosecution.

(10) The delegation of power may be looked at from another angle. If it is kept in view that the learned Add). Sessions Judge was impressed by the resolution passed by the Corporation whereby Mr. Anand Krishan Sharma was authorised to institute and conduct prosecutions then it becomes obvious that the Corporation never exercised the authority given by section 20 of the Act so as to appoint one person to institute the complaints while restricting their conduct to some one else. The entire authority contained in section 20 was delegated to Anand Krishan Sharma. The mere omission in Resolution No. 118 of the word 'institute' would not mean that the Corporation had found the authority in section 20 of the Act 10 categorise the persons into those who could only institute and the others who could institute as well as conduct prosecutions.

(11) It must be borne in mind as to what the institution of a complaint really is if section 190 of the Criminal Procedure Code is kept in view then the cognizance of an offence can be taken in three ways. Presently I am concerned with clause (a) in section 190 of the Criminal Procedure Code. That clause, is :- 'S. 190(l)(a) upon receiving a complaint of facts which constitute such offence.'. Was the Corporation to ceremoniously delegate limited authority under section 20 of the Act to a person for going to a Court of law and presenting a complaint and thereafter appearing no more before the Court 7 Section 20 authorised the local body to delegate the authority given to it. The provision was mentioned in the communication which the Commissioner addressed.

(12) It was again mentioned in the resolution passed by Standing Committee and in the resolution by the Corporation. I conclude that whatever authority the Corporation had under section 20(1) of the Act was delegated to Mr. Manohar Lal Gupta by its Resolution No. 118 reproduced earlier.

(13) Declining the recommendation made by the Additional Sessions Judge, it is directed that the accused may appear before the trial court on the 1st of February, 1973, which court will proceed in accordance with law. [Sh. Digamber Pd. Jain, Adv.]


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