K.K. Narendran, J.
1. The 1st accused in S. T. Case No. 46 of 1978 of the Judicial Magistrate of the First Class I, Tellicherry is the petitioner. The petitioner was found guilty Under Section 16(1)(a)(i) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (as amended by Act 34 of 1976, for short the Act, read with Section 7 of the Act and was convicted. The accused was awarded a sentence of simple imprisonment for six months and a fine of Rs. 1000/-. An appeal filed by the petitioner was dismissed by the Court of Session, Tellicheny. It was thereupon that the accused filed this Criminal Revision.
2. Sri O. V. Radhakrishnan, the learned Counsel for the revision petitioner raised a number of contentions. I think I need consider only one of those contentions to decide this revision. In this case, the prosecution was instituted before the Magistrate on 4-3-1977 but the Local (Health) Authority forwarded a copy of the report of the Public Analyst to the petitioner only on 6-4-1977. The learned Counsel contended that the mandatory provisions in Section 13(2) of the Act and in Rule 9A of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955, were violated and hence the conviction and sentence of the accused cannot be sustained,
3. Section 13(2) of the Act insists that if, as per the report of the analyst, the article of food is adulterated, the Local (Health) Authority shall, after the institution of the proceedings, forward, in such manner as may be prescribed, a copy of the report to the accused persons, Rule 9A of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955, for short the Rules, insists that the Local (Health) Authority shall immediately after the institution of the prosecution forward a copy of the report of the public analyst by registered post or by hand to the person from whom the sample was taken (the accused). As is clear from Section 13(2) the forwarding of the copy of the report to the accused is with a purpose and the purpose is to enable the accused to make an application to the Court to get the sample kept by the Local (Health) Authority analysed by the Central Food Laboratory, So, it cannot be said that Section 13(2) and Rule 9A are not mandatory,
4. Then the only question is whether the Local (Health) Authority can delay the despatch of the copy of the report of the public analyst to the accused. What Rule 9A says is that the copy should be sent immediately after the institution of the prosecution. The word 'immediately' means without delay, at once or forthwith. So, in the normal course, the copy of the report will have to be despatched on the same day on which the prosecution is instituted. But if due to reasons which are beyond the control of the Local (Health) Authority the report could not be despatched on the same day it will not be a violation of Section 13(2) of the Act and Rule 9A of the Rules. The copy of the report has to be despatched after the institution of the prosecution and not before that. If by the time the prosecution was instituted the time for receipt of registered articles in the local post office was over, then it goes without saying that the copy can be despatched only by post on the next working day for the post office. In such cases, despatch on the same day may not be practicable or possible. In such a case, the delay caused cannot be considered as a violation of the relevant provisions. If, on the other hand, the Local (Health) Authority causes the delay, even one day's delay will be hit by Rule 9A because what the rule insists is 'immediately1. In this case, the prosecution was instituted on 4-3-1977 and the copy of the report was sent only on 6-4-1977. It is not brought out in the case that the delay was one not caused by the Local (Health) Authority, So it goes without saying that Rule 9A of the Rules was violated.
5. In Perlumal v. Kumbakonam Municipality (1981 Cri LJ 1366)(Mad) it has been held:
The sum and substance of the word 'immediately' occurring in Rule 9-A is to the effect that the report of the Public Analyst has to be sent to the accused without any delay, i.e., forthwith. Thus, where the notice of the complaint and the copy of the report of the public analyst were served on accused after 2 months and 14 days from the date of filing of complaint, there was non-compliance with provisions of Section 13(2) and Rule 9-A. The delay in serving the notice of complaint and report was fatal to prosecution, as the very purpose of mentioning the word 'immediately' in Rule 9-A was defeated, therefore conviction of accused could not be sustained.' (Paras 7 & 9).
6. As mandatory provisions of the Act and the Rules were violated in this case, the conviction entered and the sentence passed have to go on that ground. Hence I set aside the conviction and sentence and acquit the accused-petitioner. The Criminal Revision is allowed.