1. In these cases the Local Government appeals against an order of acquittal in Calendar Case Nos. 15569 and 15570 of 1914 on the file of the Presidency Magistrate. In both cases the charge against the accused was that they had exposed for sale Aerated Waters unwholesome and unfit for human consumption contrary to bye-law Section 169 framed under Section 409(19) of the Madras City Municipal Act (III of 1904) an offence punishable under bye-law 177.
2. By Section 409, Clause 19 of the Act, the Corporation is authorised to make bye-laws to provide ' for the prevention of the sale or exposure for sale of unwholesome meat, fish or provisions ; and securing the efficient inspection and sanitary regulation of shops in which articles intended for human food, or drugs, are kept or sold.' The bye-law in question (No. 169) has evidently been framed with reference to the 1st part of clause 19 as the 2nd part of that clause relates to inspection and the sanitary regulation of shops.
3. The bye-law is as follows:-- 'No person shall expose for sale or keep for the purposes of sale any article intended for human food which is unwholesome or unfit for human consumption '. The decision of the cases before us turns on the question whether the word 'food' in the bye-law includes drink or not. The Magistrate has held that it does not. The learned crown prosecutor contends that the word 'food' does include drink and in support of his contention refers to the definition of 'food' given in the Standard Century Dictionaries, in the English Sale of Food and Drugs Acts and in Section 251 of the Bengal District Municipalities Act (III of 1884). Admittedly the word 'food' in ordinary parlance would not include ' drink' and there is nothing in the dictionaries referred to which would support a contrary view. It is argued however that in the law the word food does include every article used for drink by man other than' drugs or water. This, no doubt, is the definition of the term 'food' in the English Sale of Food and Drugs Act (see Halsbury Vol. XV, p. 5) but it is evident that that definition was made for the purposes of those Acts and it is so stated in the passage in Halsbury which is above referred to. Similarly with regard to Section 251 of Bengal District Municipalities Act. By that section 'food' is defined to include every article used by man for food or drink except drugs or water. But there again, the definition was introduced into the Act by an Amendment in 1886 and has special reference to the Act alone. The fact that it was found necessary to introduce the definition by a subsequent amendment of the Act is, of course a point against the contention of the learned Crown Prosecutor. It is also pointed out by the learned Vakil for the accused that the Madras City Municipal Act can hardly be construed by reference to a Mofussil Act of Bengal.
4. There is no definition of the term 'food' either in the Madras City Municipal Act, or, apparently in the corresponding Acts in Calcutta or Bombay. The point which militates most strongly against the meaning which the learned Crown Prosecutor seeks to apply to the term 'food' is the fact that in the body of the Madras Act itself in several places the words ' food and drink' occur, indicating that it was not intended that the latter term should be included in the former. See Sections 357 and 358. It is difficult in the face of these sections to hold that the term 'food' in the bye-law in question does include drink. It is immaterial for the purposes of these Cases that the Magistrate has held that Aerated water and lemonade are not 'provisions' within the meaning of Section 409 (19) as the word 'provisions' does not occur in the bye-law under which the , prosecutions were brought. It may be mentioned that in the Dictionaries referred to by the learned Crown Prosecutor the word ' provisions' is given as synonym of 'food.'
5. The Municipal Council has special powers with reference to the manufacture of Aerated water under S 328 of the Act. Possibly this may have been thought a sufficient safegaurd by the Legislature for securing the purity of aerated waters. However that may be, as there is nothing in the Act or bye-laws to support the view for which the Grown Prosecutor contends, namely that the term 'food' includes 'drinks' other than drugs or water, the conclusion at which the lower Court has arrived on the point must be upheld. The acquittals are right and these appeals are accordingly dismissed.