1. These are a number of connected appeals filed by Government against the acquittal of various persons who are alleged to have committed offences under Section 5 of the Madras Prevention of Adulteration Act within the Municipality of Bezwada. The complaints in all the cases were filed during the period May to July, 1934 in the Court of the Second Class Bench of Bezwada. They were subsequently transferred to the Court of the First Class Bench by the joint Magistrate. When they came to be tried by the First Class Bench reference was made on behalf of the defence to Section 19 of the Act which runs as follows:
No prosecution under this Act shall be commenced after the expiry of three months after the commission of the offence.
2. The First Class Bench held that, as the order transferring the cases to their Court was made more than three months after the commission of the offences, and as the Second Class Bench had no jurisdiction to entertain the complaints there was no valid prosecution under the Act.
3. It is argued in appeal on behalf of the Government that this view of the law is incorrect. There has been some argument before me upon the question whether the complaints which were originally filed in the Court of the Second Class Bench could properly be entertained by that Bench. It is not, in my opinion, necessary to embark upon an investigation of this somewhat intricate point and to examine the various notifications and to consider whether under those notifications power to take cognizance of this particular offence was given. In my opinion, without considering the powers of the Second Class Bench to take cognizance under Section 190 these appeals could have been allowed on a simple interpretation of Section 19 of the Act, but for a further argument to be discussed later. It seems to me that Section 19 requires nothing more than this, that the prosecuting authority shall not file any complaint or charge-sheet at a date which is more than three months after the commission of the offence. Here there is no doubt that when the complaints were filed that period of three months had not expired. It is not, in my opinion, a duty cast upon the complaining authority by Section 19 to satisfy itself that it is applying to the right Court. All it has to do is to file a complaint in time and I think that the accused in these cases were wrongly acquitted on this particular ground. If this ground alone had been the subject-matter of the argument before me I would have allowed these appeals.
4. There is, however, a second point now taken on behalf of the accused and that is that under Section 18 of the Act the prosecution is invalid. That Section runs:
No prosecution under this Act shall be instituted except on the complaint of the purchaser or -with the consent in writing of the local executive officer.
5. In this case there is no complaint from purchaser and the person who has given the consent in writing is a special officer who was appointed by Government to administer the Municipality for a period of two years from April 1933 in supersession of the powers of the Municipal Council and Chairman. It has been held by Burn, J., in a case reported in The Public Prosecutor v. Abboyee Chettiar (1935) M.W.N. 591 that such a special officer is not a local executive officer within the meaning of Section 2 of the Madras Prevention of Adulteration Act. With respect I agree with Burn, J., in this view. Therefore, the prosecutions in the present case, as they have not been instituted with the consent in writing of a person who under the Act is the local executive officer, must be deemed to be invalid. On this ground then, the appeals must be dismissed.