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Shree Shew Sakti Oil Mills Ltd. and anr. Vs. Corporation of Calcutta - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 149 of 1951
Judge
Reported inAIR1953Cal384,57CWN120
ActsCalcutta Municipal Act, 1923 - Section 412
AppellantShree Shew Sakti Oil Mills Ltd. and anr.
RespondentCorporation of Calcutta
Appellant AdvocateN.K. Basu, ;S.S. Mukherji and ;Debendra Kumar Bhattacharjya, Advs.;S.M. Bose, Adv. General and ;J.M. Banerji, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateAnil Ch. Roy Choudhury and ;Ajay Kumar Basu, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
- .....argemone oil along with mustard oil causing the same to be unsound, unwholesome and unfit as human food. dr. ahmed, the health officer of the calcutta corporation testified that as argemone oil has a cumulative deleterious effect, its presence even in the smallest quantity is the cause of much human suffering. the symptoms produced by argemone oil according to him are eye-trouble, heart-trouble and the swelling of the legs. the only thing that was urged against him was that he derived his knowledge from books. mr. basu produced before me a published report by some scientist still experimenting in the matter, according to whom, if there is a mixture of one per cent, argemone oil then for 20 days it does not produce any evil effect. this does not make argemone oil anything but.....
Judgment:

K.C. Chunder, J.

1. This is an appeal against the conviction of the appellants under Section 488 read with Section 412, Calcutta Municipal Act. The appellants, it is said, had exposed for sale about 200 maunds of mustard oil on 30-6-1949. The Food Inspector, Dr. Saha, the District Health Officer District No. 1, and Dr. S.K. Dey, the Public Analyst of the Calcutta Corporation visited the mill premises at 153, Upper Circuler Road and took three samples in the presence of the officers of the Company. One sample according to the rules was left with the appellants and it is now said that the sample was lost. The other two samples were analysed by the Public Analyst and they had also been analysed by the Director of Public Health and both found that the reaction by ferric chloride test, which is a specific for argemone oil, was positive and both found that argemone oil was present in those samples of mustard oil. It appears that sometime after the case had been proceeding the accused persons suddenly applied to the learned Magistrate for taking a fresh sample from a sealed tank and the learned Magistrate only assuring himself that the seal had not been tampered with had samples taken which on examination are said by the Director of Public Health not to be samples of the same oil and which showed no presence of argemone oil and the ferric chloride test proved negative. The learned Magistrate very rightly refused to place any reliance upon this sample taken so long after when the tank had remained in the custody of the appellantseven though the seals had not been found tampered.

2. Mr. Basu appearing on behalf of the appellants contended that this was not proper. As there is nothing in the evidence to show that the samples examined by the Analyst and by the Director of Public Health were not the actual samples taken on 30-6-1949 from the Company, the samples taken by them and examined as such are entitled to be considered as proper samples and if the learned Magistrate preferred the analytical results from those samples, I am not in a position to say that the learned Magistrate erred in any way whatsoever.

3. Mr. Basu's next contention was as regards the saponification value etc. but in the present case the question does not appear to me to be very relevant because it is not for the deficiencies in saponification value or anything of that nature that the accused persons were being prosecuted. It is for mixing argemone oil along with mustard oil causing the same to be unsound, unwholesome and unfit as human food. Dr. Ahmed, the Health Officer of the Calcutta Corporation testified that as argemone oil has a cumulative deleterious effect, its presence even in the smallest quantity is the cause of much human suffering. The symptoms produced by argemone oil according to him are eye-trouble, heart-trouble and the swelling of the legs. The only thing that was urged against him was that he derived his knowledge from books. Mr. Basu produced before me a published report by some scientist still experimenting in the matter, according to whom, if there is a mixture of one per cent, argemone oil then for 20 days it does not produce any evil effect. This does not make argemone oil anything but unwholesome, unsound or unfit as human food even in that small quantity when its cumulative effect is of the kind described by Dr. Ahmed though no effect may be produced for 20 days. Arsenic administered for a period in very small doses is enough often to kill a man and no one would contend that although a very small quantity of arsenic may not at first have any palpable evil effect, arsenic is anything but unwholesome, unsound or unfit as human food. In the report relied upon by Mr. Basu it is not contended that argemone oil is not unsound, unwholesome or unfit as human food.

4. Under the circumstances, I see no reason not to accept Dr. Ahmed's opinion and to hold that the mustard oil with which there was an admixture of argemone oil was unsound, unwholesome and unfit for consumption as human food even if one per cent used. for 20 days does not produce palpable bad results. The elements required under Section 412, Calcutta Municipal Act were satisfied. The learned Magistrate, therefore, rightly convicted the appellants. Considering the evil effect of so much argemone mixed mustard oil viz., 200 maunds on hundreds of persons in this city, the sentence calls for no interference. The appeal is, therefore, dismissed. The fines may now be realised.


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