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Sanwar Mal Vs. State of Rajasthan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFood Adulteration;Criminal
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Criminal Revision Petition No. 117/83
Judge
Reported in1984WLN183
AppellantSanwar Mal
RespondentState of Rajasthan and ors.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases Referred and Shri Amar Nath v. The State
Excerpt:
.....2(c)--dealer--no distinction between wholesale and retail dealer--petitioner himself a khandsari dealer--held, case cannot be proceeded against non-petitioners under section 20a.;section 20a of the act does not make a distinction between a whole-sale or a retail dealer.;the petitioner sanwar mal himself being a dealer of khandsari sugar the case could not have been proceeded against the non-petitioners under section 20 a of the act.;(b) prevention of food adulteration act, 1954 - section 20a--practice--plea regarding criminal liability of non-petitioners raised after one year--held, petitioner is disentitled to raise it by his conduct.;though the petitioner, sanwar mal, had appeared in the case on february 1, 1980, but the raised this, plea far the first time by moving an..........or licensed under the industries (development and regulation) act, 1951.section 3 provided that no dealer, firm, association of persons or a cooperative society shall carry on business as a dealer except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of licence issued in this behalf by the licensing authority. it remains undisputed in the present case *hat the petitioner sanwar mal obtained a licence as a dealer under the aforesaid licensing order and he was registered as a licensee dealer of gur and khandsari at no. 207. the above licensing order does not make any difference between whole-sale or a retail dealer but it only contemplated that a person, or a firm etc. engaged in the business of purchase, sale or storage for sale of khandsari or gur or both in quantities exceeding.....
Judgment:

N.M. Kasliwal, J.

1. The petition under Section 397/401 Cr.P.C. is directed against the judgment of learned Sessions Judge, Sikar, dated October 30, a 1982 reversing the order of the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sikar dated March 13, 1981.

2. Brief facts leading to this petition ate that the Food Inspector, Sitaram Sharma submitted a complaint under Section 7/16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (hereinafter referred, to as 'the Act') on January (sic)0, 1980 with the allegation that the purchased 600 gram of Khandsari sugar on October 25, 1979 from the shop of the petitioner situated at Sikar. The sugar was found to be adulterated as it did not conform to the prescribed standards of purity. The case was first tried by Munsiff Magistrate, Fatehpur who framed the charge against the petitioner on July, 31, 1980. In reply to the charge accused Sanwar Mal admitted that the sample of sugar was taken from him but it was not adulterated. The case was subsequently tried by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sikar. On February 12, 1981, the petitioner submitted an application before the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate that he had purchased 17 sealed bags of sugar from the firm M/s Laxmi Narain Ram Pratap Nayee Mandi, Mujjafarnagar (UP) on April 18, 1979. The Food Inspector had taken the sample from one of these bags which was also sealed and as such it was prayed that cognizance of the case should be taken against the Firm M/s Laxmi Narain Ram Pratap and its partners and owners. The statement of Sitaram, Food Inspector, was recorded oh February 17, 198 i and the accused Sanwar Mal also appeared as a witness and his statement was also recorded on the same day. Thereafter the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate passed an order on March 13, 1981 impleading the owner or partners of the Firm M/s Laxmi Narain Ram Pratap, Nayee Mandi, Mujjafarnagar (UP) and passed an order summoning, the above mentioned person by bailable warrant in the sum of Rs. 2,000/-. Aggrieved against the order of the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, dated March 13, 1961, Ram Pratap son of Laxmi Narain and the Firm Laxmi Narain Ram Pratap filed a revision. The learned Sessions Judge, Sikar by his order, dated October 30, 1982, allowed the revision and set aside the order of the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate, dated March 13, 1981 taking cognizance against the revision petitioners. The accused. Sap war Mai, in these circumstances has filed the present revision petition against the order of the learned Sessions Judge, dated October 30, 1982.

3. The short controversy raised in the present case is whether the petitioner being a vendor of 600 gram of Khandsari sugar to the Food Inspector, can be considered as a dealer under Section 20A of the Act. It is contended by Mr. Rastogi, learned Counsel for the petitioner, that the petitioner was merely a vendor and the Firm Laxmi Narain Ram Pratap being a dealer should have been impleaded as a party and cognizance should have been taken him for the offence as contemplated under Section 20A of the Act. Reliance in support of his 'contention is placed on Ratantal Rastogi v. Crop of Calcutta 1972 FAC 742, I. M. Nayak v. Kantilal Ambalal Shah 1973 FAC 148 and Ranganatha Agencies v. F.I. Badagare Municipality 1973 FAC 75.

4. On the other hand, Mr. Jain, learned Counsel appearing for the non-petitioners, submitted that the petitioner Sanwarmal was a licence holder of Khandsari sugar under the Rajasthan Khandsari & Gur Dealers Licensing Order, 1972 and was a dealer within the definition given under Section 2(c) of the Licensing Order It was submitted that it was an admitted fact that the 'petitioner, Sanwar Mal was a licence dealer of Khandsari sugar as is borne out from Ex. P 3 which bears his licence No. 207 for Gur and Khandsari sugar. It is contended that Section 20A of the Act does not apply in as much as the petitioner Sanwar Mal was himself a dealer of Khandsari sugar apart from being a vendor of the sugar. Reliance is placed on Ravindra and Anr. v. State of Rajasthan 1979 (2) FAC 362, P.L. Lamba etc. v. State etc, 19(sic)5 (1) FAC 37 and Shri Amar Nath v. The State 1978 (U FAC 72. It was also submitted by Mr. Jain that even according to the petitioner, Sanwar Mai, himself he had purchased the bags of sugar on April 18, J 979 from the Firm M/s Laxmi Narain Ram Pratap, while the sample was taken on October 25, 1979 and at the time of sale no bill was given to the Food Inspector showing that 600 gms. of sugar was taken out of the bags supplied by the Firm Laxmi Narain Ram Pratap. It is thus, contended that it cannot be said that the sugar in question purchased by the Food Inspector was the same which was supplied by the Firm M/s Laxmi Narain Ram Pratap. It was also submitted by Mr. Jain that though Sanwar Mal had appeared in the case on February 1, 1980 and in his statement given on July 31, 1980 he no where stated that the sugar purchased by the Food Inspector was out of the sugar supplied by the Firm M/s Laxmi Narain Ram Pratap. It was submitted that it was only on Feb. 12 1981 that such plea was taken for the first time and there is no explanation for such long delay and as such the plea now raised by the petitioner cannot be believed.

5. In order to appreciate the controversy raised in the present case, it would be proper to reproduce Section 20A of the Act:

Section 20A:--Power of Court to implead manufacturer, etc. where at any time during the trial of any offence under this Act alleged to have been committed by any person, not being the manufacturer, distributor, or dealer of any article of food, the court is satisfied, on the evidence adduced before it, that such manufacturer, distributor or dealer is also concerned with that offence, then, the court may, notwithstanding anything contained in Sub-section (3) of Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), or in Section 20 proceed against him as though a prosecution had been instituted against him under Section 20.

So far as the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act is concerned there is no definition of 'dealer' given in this Act. There can be no manner of doubt that a dealer is something more than a vendor. It would depend upon the facts and circumstances of such case whether a person or a Firm from whom an article is purchased by the Food Inspector is to be considered a vendor alone or a dealer as well. Mr. Rastogi, placing reliance on the authorities cited by him, vehemently contended that Sanwar Mal in the present case is merely a vendor and he cannot be considered as a dealer. I see no force in the contention of Mr. Rastogi. The State Government issued the Rajasthan Khandsari and Gur Dealers Licensing Order, 1972 for the maintenance of supplies of Khandsari and Gur and for their availability at fair prices in the State of Rajasthan, in exercise of powers conferred by Section 3 of the Essential. Commodities Act, 1955. Section 2(c) of the above order defines dealer as under:

Section 2(c):--'Dealer' means a person, a firm, an association of persons or a Co operative Society engaged in the business of purchase, sale or storage for sale Of Khandsari or Gur or both in quantities exceeding 25 quintals at any one time but does not include an industrial undertaking which is engaged in the manufacture of production of sugar and which is registered or licensed under the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951.

Section 3 provided that no dealer, firm, association of persons or a cooperative society shall carry on business as a dealer except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of licence issued in this behalf by the licensing authority. It remains undisputed in the present case *hat the petitioner Sanwar Mal obtained a licence as a dealer under the aforesaid Licensing Order and he was registered as a licensee dealer of Gur and Khandsari at No. 207. The above licensing order does not make any difference between whole-sale or a retail dealer but it only contemplated that a person, or a firm etc. engaged in the business of purchase, sale or storage for sale of Khandsari or Gur or both in quantities exceeding 25 quintals at any one time was a dealer and was required to obtain a licence under the aforesaid Order. This unmistakably goes to show that the petitioner, Sanwar Mai, was engaged in such business exceeding 25 quintals of Khandsari or Gur and as such he had obtained the licence under the aforesaid Order. Section 20A of the Act does not make a distinction between a whole-sale or a retail dealer. Thus, the distinction pointed out by Mr. Rastogi that the petitioner was not a wholesale dealer and as such he should not be considered as a dealer under Section 20A of the Act is of no consequence, In my view, if the petitioner had obtained a licence of Khandsari sugar as a dealer under the Licensing order he would be treated as a dealer under Section 20A of the Act also. M.C. Jain, J. in 1979(2) EAC 362(supra) has taken the same view.

6. Under Section 20A of the Act the Court can only proceed against a manufacturer, distributor or dealer when the trial is being proceeded of any offence alleged to have been committed by any person who is not a manufacturer, distributor or dealer of any article of food. In the present case the petitioner Sanwar Mal himself being a dealer of Khandsari sugar the case could not have been proceeded against the non-petitioners under Section 20A of the Act. The learned Sessions Judge, in these circumstances, was right in quashing the proceedings taken against the non-petitioners under Section 20A of the Act.

7. Apart from the above legal position, I also find force in the contention of Mr. Jain that when no bill was given by the petitioner at the time of sale of the sample to the Food Inspector on October 15, 1979, it cannot be said that the sugar sold to the Food Inspector was the same which was purchased by the petitioner from the firm of the non-petitioners on April 18, 1979. Though the petitioner, Sanwar Mai, had appeared in the case on February 1, 1980, but he raised this plea for the first time by moving an application on February 12, 1981. This conduct of the petitioner, Sanwar Mai, also disentitles him to take such plea after a period of one year and to rope the non-petitioners for liability in a criminal case.

8. Thus, taking in view the entire facts and circumstances of this case, I do not find any error committed by the learned Sessions Judge and the present revision petition is dismissed as having no force. The record of the trial court may be sent back immediately.


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