G.R. Luthra, J.
(1) The preset petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal procedure and Article 227 of the Constitution of India is directed against an order dated July 18, 1980 of Shri K.C. Lohia Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi framing a charge against the present petitioner in respect of commission of offence punishable under section 7 read with Section 16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act).
(2) On August 16, 1975 at about 11 A.M. Shri M. K. Bhan Food Inspector (Public Witness . 3) accompanied by some other members of Central Food Squad and police went to the godown of M/s Amar and Co., petitioner No. 2, who is partnership firm and whose one of the partners is Ram Chander Amar respondent No.1, situated at 1891. Gali Behram Beg, Lal Kuan, Delhi and took sample of Dhania Whole (Coriander) weighing 450 grams. He offered the price of the said Dhania. which was refused by Ram Chander Amar on the ground that the said Dhania was not meant for sale. The said sample was sent for analysis and a report of Public Analyst was received on 10th September, 1975 to the effect that the said sample was adulterated due to 1.6 excess in extraneous matter (inorganic) per cent by weight.
(3) On December 17, 1976 complaint was lodged against the present petitioner as well as other partners of M/s Amar and Co. Vide impugned order charge was framed against the petitioner i.e. Ram Chander Amar and petitioner firm but other partners namely Satish Chander, Vijay Prakash and Shri Godavari Devi were discharged on the ground that they were neither in charge nor responsible for the conduct of the business.
(4) According to the petitioner no contravention of the provisions of Food Adulteration Act is made out and that no offence has been committed by the petitioners.
(5) The charge against the petitioner is in respect of commission of an offence punishable under Section 7 read with Section 16 of the said Act. Relevant portion Of Section 7 reads as under :
'NO person shall himself or by any person on his behalf manufacture for sale, or store, or distribute: (i) any adulterated food; (ii) any misbranded food; Section 16 prescribes punishment if a person whether by himself or by any other person on his behalf imports into India or manufactures for sale, or stores, sells or distributes any article of food which is adulterated.. It was held by Supreme Court in Municipal Corporation of Delhi V. Laxmi Narain Tandon etc. : 1976CriLJ547 that expression 'store' occurring in Section 7 means storing for sale and consequently storing of an adulterated article of food for purposes other than sale would not constitute an offence under Section 16 of the Act.
(6) In the present case, according to the allegations of respondent the petitioners had stored Dhania (Coriander) in the godown. In the light of the interpretation of the word 'store' by the Supreme Court, it is to be seen if that storing was for sale. The word 'sale' has been defined in Section 2(xiii) as under '.'
'SALE'with its grammatical Variations cognate expressions, means the sale of any article of food, whether for cash or on credit or by way of exchange and whether by wholesale or retail, for human consumption or use, or for analysis, and includes an agreement for sale, an offer for sale, the exposing for sale or having in possession for sale of any such articles, and includes also an attempt to sell any such article.'
(7) In the present case, the relevant words in the definition are 'an offer for sale', or 'the exposing for sale' because the only thing which can be said is that the petitioners were storing Coriander whole in the godown for exposing the same for sale or as an offer for sale. But the facts as they emerge from the prosecution evidence indicate that the goods mentioned therein were neither offered nor exposed for sale. Shri M. K. Bhan Public Witness . 3, the Food Inspector who obtained sample, did not state that any sale was going on or Coriander was offered or exposed for sale. On the other hand, he admitted that Ram Chander Amar refused to accept the price of Coriander whole and made an endorsement on the receipt Ex. Public Witness . 3 to that effect. That endorsement reads as under :
'PAYMENT not accepted because samples are taken from my godown where I kept them for cleaning before, sale. I have displayed a board, goods inside godown not for direct sale before cleaning ' The above circumstance indicates that the storing of Coriander in the godown was not for sale, as such.
(8) Statement of Shri M. K. Bhan Public Witness . 3 on crossexamination indicates that the petitioners have their office and shop at 330 Katra Hussain Buksh, Khari Baoli, Delhi. That shop and office are at a place other than the godown which is located in Gali Behram Beg, Lal Kuan. That shop could be meant for storing articles for sale.
(9) The learned counsel for the Union of India, however, contended that ultimately, the goods lying in the godown were meant for sale because admittedly they had to be sold after cleaning and that thereforee it should be held that they had been 'stored for sale'. But obviously, that argument has no force because process of cleaning had to intervene before the said article was meant, offered or exposed for sale.
(10) 'THE learned counsel for Union of India also pointed out that according to the statement of Food Inspector (PW. 3) there was no board affixed on the godown indicating that the articles lying in the godown were not meant for sale without cleaning, and one was affixed when he reached the spot, that the statement of Food Inspector should be accepted at this stage of framing of charges and that thereforee the charge framed by the learned magistrate was justified.
(11) It is true that at the time of the framing of charge prima facie case is to be seen. At this stage, thereforee, let us accept the statement of the Food Inspector us it is. But that does not in any way, improve the matters (or the prosecution. The fact remains that the articles were merely stored in the godown and those were not for sale without cleaning. That is why Ram Chander refused to accept price from the Food Inspector and thereby refused to sell the article. Under these circumstances, it is not prima facie shown that the articles were meant for sale.
(12) Under the above circumstances, I find that the charge framed against the petitioners is groundless. Hence the impugned order framing the charge is set aside, the proceedings started against the petitioners are quashed and the petitioners are discharged.