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Public Prosecutor Vs. Subban Chettiar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFood Adultration
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1970)1MLJ402
AppellantPublic Prosecutor
RespondentSubban Chettiar
Excerpt:
- .....act 1954 as amended by act (xlix of 1964). the accused is a small vendor owning a retail ghee shop at 19/2, meenakshi nilayam in tirupattur. on 30th june, 1966 at about 9-15 a.m. he had in his possession a tin containing ghee kept exposed for sale in his retail shop and he sold on demand to p.w. 1 500 grams of ghee from the tin in the presence of witnesses. for rs. 5 and on analysis it is found that the sample contained 30 per cent. of fat not derived from milk or cream as calculated from reichert value, the sample having contained reichert value of 16.6 only as against the prescribed minimum of 24.2. p.w. 1 states in his evidence that exhibits p-1, p-2 and p-3 were attested by p.w. 2 abdul sathar. exhibit p-1 is the notice. exhibit p-2 is the receipt for payment of rs. 5......
Judgment:

K.N. Mudaliyar, J.

1. This is an appeal against the acquittal of Subban Chettiar for an offence under Sections 7 (1) and 16 (1) read with Section 2 (1) (a) and (b) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954 as amended by Act (XLIX of 1964). The accused is a small vendor owning a retail ghee shop at 19/2, Meenakshi Nilayam in Tirupattur. On 30th June, 1966 at about 9-15 a.m. he had in his possession a tin containing ghee kept exposed for sale in his retail shop and he sold on demand to P.W. 1 500 grams of ghee from the tin in the presence of witnesses. for Rs. 5 and on analysis it is found that the sample contained 30 per cent. of fat not derived from milk or cream as calculated from Reichert value, the sample having contained Reichert value of 16.6 only as against the prescribed minimum of 24.

2. P.W. 1 states in his evidence that Exhibits P-1, P-2 and P-3 were attested by P.W. 2 Abdul Sathar. Exhibit P-1 is the notice. Exhibit P-2 is the receipt for payment of Rs. 5. Exhibit P-3 is the receipt in acknowledgment given by the accused. Exhibit P-4 is the report of the public Analyst.

3. The learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate acquitted the accused on two grounds : : that P.W. 2 did not support the prosecution case and that P.W. 2's address has not been mentioned in Exhibit P-1. Section 134 of the Evidence Act is extracted here below:

No particular number of witnesses shall in any case be required for the proof of any fact.

In terms of Section 10 (1) (a) and Sub-section (7) of Act (XXXVII of 1954) (Prevention of Food Adulteration Act), the Food Inspector (P.W. 1) shall call one or more persons to be present at the time when such action is taken hand take his or their signature. This is precisely what P.W. 1 has done when he got the signature of P.W.2. So far as the failure on the part of P.W. 1 to record the address of P.W. 2 is concerned, it has really no material bearing on the appreciation of the evidence of P.W. I. P.W. 2 admits that he has a soda shop at Meenakshi Nilayam. When he admits he is a neighbour running a soda shop, here is P.W. 2 with an address of his own as proved by the evidence of P.W. 2 himself. The learned Magistrate erred in permitting the absence of the address of P.W. 2 being recorded to influence his appreciation of the evidence of P.W. 1. The learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate ought to have seen that no motive is suggested against P.W. 1 by the accused and in the absence of any motive or enmity alleged against P.W. 1, the facts proved by P.W. 1 are acceptable. Section 134 of the Evidence Act makes it clear that any fact could be proved even by a single witness. There is a recent trend in cases of this type and similar cases that the attesting witnesses always turn hostile and by reason of the attesting witnesses turning hostile there is a tendency on the part of the Courts below to disbelieve the evidence of P.W. 1 or the Food Inspector. This trend is really deplorable and the Courts below would do well to keep Section 134 of the Evidence Act in view and then appreciate the evidence of the Food Inspector by that standard laid in Section 134 of the Evidence Act. I believe the evidence of P.W. 1 regarding the facts spoken to by him about his purchase of ghee and his giving a sum of Rs. 5 for the purchase of the ghee and also his obtaining the acknowledgment from the accused arid his sending the sample to the Public Analyst. The contents of Exhibit P-4 have not been challenged in cross-examination. In this Court the Counsel for the respondent had not even argued before me as to how there has been any delay in analysis and how this alleged or supposed delay contributed to incriminating excess. It is surprising how the learned Sub-Divisional Magistrate used this ground where there is absolutely no material on record even in the cross-examination of P.W. 1 for basing his order of acquittal. The second ground on which the order of acquittal is based is totally untenable. Such an inference is not warranted on the material elicted on behalf of the accused in the cross-examination of P.W. 1.

4. In the result, the appeal is allowed. The respondent is convicted under Section 7 (1) and Section 16 (1) read with Section 2 (1) (a) and (b) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 as amended by Act (XLIX of 1964), is sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 100; in default, to two months' rigorous imprisonment. Time for payment of fine is one month.


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