1. This is a petition by accused 2 to 4 in the case, under Section 482 Cr. P.C. to quash the proceedings in C.C., No. 9791 of 1984, on the file of the XV Metropolitan Magistrate, Madras, so far as they are concerned.
2. The Drug Inspector, Madras city, filed a complaint against the three petitioners herein and two others for alleged contravention of S. I8(a)(ii) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 read with Section 17(e) of the Act. The first accused is the company known as Messrs, Tablets (India) Ltd, and the fifth accused is the Assistant Production Manager of the Company. The petitioners herein are the Directors of the company. According to the petitioners, they are not in charge of nor are they in, the conduct of the business of the company and they are mere directors. The management is said to be with the fifth accused. Section 17(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act says that 'where an offence has been committed by a company, the person who is in charge of and was responsible to the company, for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against.' Section 34(1) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act reads that 'Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company, every person who at the time the offence was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against.' It is argued on behalf of the petitioners that the Fifth accused is in charge of the business and therefore these Directors, namely, accused 2 to 4, have no hand in the production of the article and that there is not even an allegation against these petitioners involving them in the alleged offence. A perusal of the complaint shows that the allegations so far as these petitioners are concerned, are vague and they are impleaded just because they are directors of the company. It is not even averred in the complaint as to the part played by these petitioners in the business. The company (first accused) and the Production Manager (fifth accused) are also prosecuted and the petitioners alone plead that they are not in charge of the conduct of the business as such, and, therefore, they are not liable to be proceeded against. Reliance is placed on a ruling of the Supreme Court reported in Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Purushotam Dass : 1983CriLJ172 ; which says that so far as the Directors are concerned, there must the some plea or reference to any act committed by the directors from which a reasonable inference can be drawn that they could also be vicariously liable.
3. In the case on hand, there are not even allegations regarding the part played by these petitioners in the business except that they are mere directors. None of them is Managing Director and the Managing Director, if any, has not been impleaded as an accused. In these circumstances, the prosecution against the petitioners who are mere Directors is not sustainable. Consequently, the proceedings against the petitioners herein namely accused 2 to 4, are quashed without prejudice to the prosecution case so far as accused 1 and 5 are concerned. The petition is allowed in these terms.