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The Food Inspector, Trichur Municipality, Trichur Vs. O.D. Paul and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal;Food Adulteration
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 349 of 1963
Judge
Reported inAIR1965Ker96; 1965CriLJ445
ActsPrevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 - Sections 2(1)
AppellantThe Food Inspector, Trichur Municipality, Trichur
RespondentO.D. Paul and anr.
Appellant Advocate V. Balakrishna Eradi, Adv.
Respondent Advocate S. Easwara Iyer and; L. Gopalakrishnan Potti, Advs.
Cases ReferredSukhnandan v. Suraj Ball
Excerpt:
- - - it is well settled that in construing the provisions of a statute courts should be slow to adopt a construction which tends fo make any part of the statute meaningless or ineffective; in such a situation the word 'and' may well be construed in a disjunctive sense and be read 39 'or'.9. applying these principles to the, case on hand it is absolutely clear that the word 'and' in section 2(1)(j) has to......since no limits could be prescribed or need be prescribed in regard to the addition of a non-permitted colouring matter when and in so far as rule 23 envisages a total prohibition of the same.8. the learned magistrate seems to have been unmindful of the recognised principles of interpretation of statutes when he came to the above conclusion. his argumants, to borrow the words of s. r. das, c. j. in state of bombay v. r. m. d. chamarbaugwala, (s) air 1957 sc 699 'hsng on the frail peg of unskilful draftsmanship.' the rules of interpretation of statutes have been considered elaborately by the supreme court in shamrao v. district magistrate, thana, air 1952 sc 324. while interpreting sec. 3 of the public safety measures act, justice bose who spoke for the court observed:-'it is the.....
Judgment:

Anna Chandy, J.

1. The appellant is the Food Inspector of the Trlchur Municipality. He had filed a complaint before the District Magistrate, Trichur against the respondent for having sold adulterated Jam Roll an offence punishable under Section 7(i) read with Section 16(1)(a) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act The prosecution case was that on 4-3-1963 P.W. 1 the Food Inspector purchased jam rolls kept for sale in the Star Bakery owned by the first accused and run by his son the second accused. The article of food purchased was duly sampled by P.W. 1 in the presence of two witnesses one of whom is the employee of the bakery itself. The sample was sent to the Put lie Analyst for analysis and the analyst in his certificate reported that the sample contains a non-permitted coal-tar dye and was therefore adulferated.

2. The Food Inspector who purchased the jam roll gave evidence in support of the case. His evidence remains practically unchallenged. When the accused were questioned about the evidence the first accused stated that he used only the permitted dyes and the second accused merely denied the charge.

3. Several untenable contentions were made regarding the validity of the sanction and the validity of the action taken by P. W, 1 under Section 10(7) all of which were rightly overruled by the learned District Magistrate and the correctness of the findings is not challenged before me.

4. The only objection which found favour with thelearned Magistrate and which led to the acquittal is thatthe report of the Analyst is vague and unacceptable in sofar as it did not show that the unpermitted coal-tardlye added to the article of food was beyond the prescribedlimits and as such the article of food could not be deemed to be adulterated within the remaining of Section 2(1)(j) ofthe Act.

5. It is the correctness of this finding that is challenged before me. Section 2(1)(j) reads that an article of food shall be deemed to be adulterated--

'if any colouring matter other than that prescribed in respect thereof and in amounts not within the prescrib-ed limits of variability is present in the article;'

Part V of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules deals with colouring matter. Rule 23 prohibits the addition of colouring matter to any article of food except as specifically permitted by the rules in that chapter and Rule 28 specifies the coal-tar dyes which may. be used. Rule 29 prohibits even the use of permitted coaltar dyes in or upon any food other than those enumerated and Rule 30 prescribes that the maximum limit of the permitted coal-tar colours which may be added to any food shall not exceed (0. 2 grams per kilogram) of the final food or beverage for consumption.

6. The report of the Public Analysi shows that two types of coaltar dyes were used in the preparation of the jam roll one of which was Tattrazine a yellow permitted coaltar dye and the other Rhodamlne 'B' a rose basic coaltar dye which is not of the permitted categories:

7. As a non-permitted variety of coaltsr dye was found used in the preparation of the jam roll no question of the exact amount which was used will arise. However the learned District Magistrate gave a literal interpretation to Section 2(1)(j) and held that the accused could be found guilty of the charge only if any colouring matter other than that prescribed in respect thereof and in amounts not within the prescribed limits of variability is present in the article. Going a step further the learned Magistrate held that Section 2V was inconsistent with Rule 23 and was meaningless since no limits could be prescribed or need be prescribed in regard to the addition of a non-permitted colouring matter when and in so far as Rule 23 envisages a total prohibition of the same.

8. The learned Magistrate seems to have been unmindful of the recognised principles of interpretation of statutes when he came to the above conclusion. His argumants, to borrow the words of S. R. Das, C. J. in State of Bombay v. R. M. D. Chamarbaugwala, (S) AIR 1957 SC 699 'hsng on the frail peg of unskilful draftsmanship.' The rules of interpretation of statutes have been considered elaborately by the Supreme Court in Shamrao v. District Magistrate, Thana, AIR 1952 SC 324. While interpreting Sec. 3 of the Public Safety Measures Act, justice Bose who spoke for the court observed:-

'It is the duty of Courts to give effect to the meaning of an Act when the meaning can be fairly gathered from the words u'sed, that is to say, if one construction will lead to an absurdity while another will give effect to what commonsense will show was obviously intended, the construction which would defeat the ends of the Act must be rejected even if the same words used in the same section, and even the same sentence, have to be construed differently. Indeed, the law goes so far as to require the Courts sometimes even to modify the grammatical and ordinary sense of the words if by doing so absurdity and inconsistency can be avoided.'

To the same effect are the observations made by the Supreme/ Court in Siraj-ul-Haq v. S. C. Board of Waqf, U. P., AIR 1959 SC 198 where his Lordship Justice P. B. Gajendra-gadkar as he then was held that:-

'It is well settled that in construing the provisions of a statute courts should be slow to adopt a construction which tends fo make any part of the statute meaningless or ineffective; an attempt must always be made so to reconcile the relevant provisions as to advance the remedy intended by the statute. In such a case, it is legitimate and even necessary to adopt the rule of liberal construction so as to give meaning to all parts of the provision and to make fhe whole of it effective and operative.' (S) AIR 1957 SC 699 is a case where, in order to give effect to the obvious intention of the legislature the word 'or' in the amended Section 2(1) (d) of the Bombay Lotteries and Prize Competitions Act was construed as 'and'. In Bishan Singh v. State of Rajastnan, AIR 1953 Raj 46 his Lordship Wanchoo C. J. while interpreting the word 'And' in Section 7(1)(b)(ii) of the Marwar Court of Wards Act stated 'It is possible for the courts to construe the word 'and' as meaning 'or' in suitable' cases'. His Lordship in that connection quoted with approval the observations made in Sukhnandan v. Suraj Ball, AIR 1951 All 119 (FBJ. In the Allahabad case a question arose whether the word 'and' used in Sec. 13 of the Oudh Laws Act could be reiad as 'or' and a bench of three judges decided that: 'The fundamental principle of construction is that the words used in a Statute must be understood In their ordinary grammatical sense. It is clear that, in that sense, the word 'and' is used as a conjunction. This will, however, not prevent the Court from departing from the ordinary grammatical meaning of a word if it appears, from the context or a consideration of fhe other provisions of the Statute that it was the intention of the Legislators to give it another meaning. Similarly, if the ordinary grammatical meaning of a word results in creating an afcsurdity or an anomaly or of rendering the legislation of no effect, a narrower or a broader meaning may be given to the word or it may be construed in such a way as to obviate the absurdity or anomaly on the principle that it could not have been the intention of the Legislature to create absurdities or anomalies or to render its enactments of no effect. In such a situation the word 'and' may well be construed in a disjunctive sense and be read 39 'or'.

9. Applying these principles to the, case on hand it is absolutely clear that the word 'and' in Section 2(1)(j) has to. be read as 'or'. A literal interpretation of the word will lead to an absurdity, viz., totally prohibited dyes may be used within prescribed limits. The prohibition, in Section 2(1)(j) of the Act will be attracted If the article of food contains a colouring matter other than the one prescribed under the rules in respect of the article; or where the colouring matter is permitted in respect of that article, if it is not within the prescribed limits' of variability.

10. The outer of acquittal must be set aside, it is set aside and the accused is convicttd under Section 7(i) read with Section 16(1)(a) and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 50/- In default of payment of which to undergo simple imprisonment for one month. The fine will be paid within a month from this date.


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