1. This rule has been issued on two grounds (1) that the elements necessary to constitute an offence under Section 6(1), Bengal Food Adulteration Act 6 of 1919 have not been proved and (2) that as the mustard oil, the subject matter of the case was, sold to the Sanitary Inspector not as mustard oil but as mixed mill oil and as the signboards in the shop indicate that mixed mill oil for lighting purposes is only sold the conviction under Section 6(1) of the Act is not sustainable. Both the grounds may be considered together.
2. The facts are that the Sanitary Inspector on the authority from the Chairman of the Municipality went to the shop of the accused and purchased a quantity of mustard oil which he says was for human consumption. After his purchase he divided the oil according to the Act into three parts one of which was kept with the shop-keeper. It was found on analysis that the oil sold was adulterated mustard oil and the owner of the shop was prosecuted and fined Rs. 200. It has been found by the trial Court that the oil was sold as mustard oil for human consumption and that the oil sold was adulterated. Reading Section 5 and Sections 6 and 7 of the Act together it would appear that the articles enumerated in Section 6 are presumed to be articles of food therefore it has been made penal to sell any such article in an adulterated condition, the presumption being that it was sold for human consumption. This is clear as in Section 5 of the expression 'articles of food' is used whereas in Section 6 there is no express provision that the articles mentioned in that section must be sold as articles of food. But the Act itself is for making provision for the prevention of adulteration of food and therefore the articles mentioned in Section 6 axe considered to be articles of food1 and the sale thereof in an adulterated condition is made punishable. Now in this case the facts sufficiently proved and found by the lower Court are that the oil was sold by the petitioner to the complainant and that the oil was found to be adulterated. The petitioner says that he had put up a sign board on his shop that he was selling adulterated mustard oil. With regard to this sign board I am inclined to believe the Sanitary Inspector when he says that it was not there on the day of the occurrence but it has been subsequently put up. But in my judgment even if this sign board was on the shop it will be no defence to say that he had notified to the public that he was selling adulterated food.
3. The Food Adulteration Act makes it penal to sell adulterated articles. It does not excuse the offence on the ground that the purchaser knew that what he was purchasing was not pure food stuff. The Act was intended to protect the public from using adulterated articles and therefore it has made it penal to sell these adulterated articles to persons irrespective of the fact that the purchaser knew the article to be adulterated or otherwise. With regard to the articles mentioned in Section 6 they are ordinarily articles of food and it is no defence to say that these articles can be adulterated and sold in the market with the publication of the fact that they are adulterated. Section 7 of the Act makes the storing of adulterated things penal. In this case it is admitted that, the accused sells in his shop ghee, flour, atta etc which are sold for human consumption. He also sells mustard oil and there is no evidence and no allegation for what purpose the mustard oil which is said to be adulterated was sold in the shop except what is stated on the signboard. On the other hand there is evidence that mustard oil is purchased from his shop by people or consumption as an article of food. His own witness 2 says that no better stuff is available, that he always purchases mustard oil for human consumption from the shop though it was advertised as mixed oil. As I have said it is no defence to say that because it was advertised as mixed oil the seller though he sells the article for human consumption is entitled to plead that he had told the purchaser that it was not pure in defence in a prosecution under the act. As the Act is intended for the safety of the people, in my judgment it should be construed liberally. It is no defence to the accused that the adulterated oil is stored in his shop for some purpose other than for consumption as an article of human food. I cannot say that even if he had taken that defence it would have been a good answer. But it is clear that the adulterated mustard oil is kept in his shop for being sold to persons form consumption as an article of food. In the sign board which he says he put up in his shop it is said that mustard oil is sold for lighting purposes. But there is no evidence that any one purchases it for that purpose. As I understand the signboard has come into prominence since this case. There is also evidence as found by the Magistrate that the accused's shop supplies to the locality the oil at a wholesale rate to small shop keepers who sell it by retail to the inhabitants of the locality for consumption as an article of food. The mischief therefore which is done by his selling adulterated oil in his shop is very great.
4. I am accordingly of opinion that on the evidence in the case the learned Magistrate has come to a right decision and the conviction must be sustained. This rule is discharged.