1. The petitioner in this case has been convicted under Section 6 (1) read with Section 21, Bengal Food Adulteration Act (Bengal Act 6 of 1919). It appears that, on 17th October 1938, the petitioner took delivery of some tins of mustard oil at the Bolpur railway station. On the same day, a sample was taken from these tins by the Sanitary Inspector and it was found that the mustard oil contained therein was adulterated. The petitioner and certain other persons were subsequently prosecuted and the petitioner was convicted. It is said that the prosecution did not discharge the onus which lay on the Crown to show that the adulterated goods had actually been stored for sale within the meaning of Section 6 (1) of the Act and it is also contended that any presumption which may have arisen under Section 6 (4) of the Act was rebutted by reason of the fact that the goods were actually on the railway premises at the time when the sample was taken by the Sanitary Inspector. The finding contained in the judgment of the lower appellate Court is that there can be no doubt that the petitioner had taken delivery of this consignment of oil for the purpose of selling it. This being the case, it would follow that although the goods had not actually left the railway premises, they were nevertheless being stored for sale by the petitioner within the meaning of .S.6 (1) of the Act. It followed that the requisite initial onus has been discharged by the prosecution. In this connexion it may be mentioned that in Sachi Nandan Piri v. Chairman, Midnapore District Board : AIR1940Cal213 , I pointed out that:
In my view, in a case in which a person is prosecuted for storing adulterated food for sale, it must ordinarily be proved affirmatively that such food is actually being stored, and in my opinion, such storage cannot be taken to include transit to a place of storage unless the adulterated food in question is actually in the physical possession of a person to whom Sub-section (4) of Section 6 expressly applies.
2. That case related to the prosecution of a certain person in respect of a consignment which was found in the possession of his carter. On the facts of that case, if the petitioner himself had been in physical possession of the consignment, the position would have been different. In the case with which we are now dealing the petitioner came into physical possession of the consignment as soon as he took delivery thereof at the railway station and from the moment that he took such delivery until the goods were actually exposed for sale in his shop there can be no doubt that he was actually storing them with a view to their ultimate disposal by sale. It is argued that it would be unreasonable to convict the petitioner in this case in view of the fact that he could have had no opportunity to examine the nature of the goods between the time when he took delivery of them and the time when a sample was taken. This argument is, however, answered by Sub-section (3) of Section 6 of the Act which is in the following terms:
In any prosecution under this section it shall be no defence to allege that the vendor, manufacturer or storer was ignorant of the nature, substance or quality of the article sold, exposed for sale, or manufactured or stored for sale by him.
3. In cases of this nature, it is obviously necessary that all dealers and consignees of goods such as those which are mentioned in Section 6 of the Act should exercise greatest caution as to the persons with whom they deal. In my view, the petitioner has been properly convicted, but if he considers that he has a grievance against the person who supplied him with these goods, it will be for him, if so advised, to consider the propriety of instituting a suit for damages against that person. This rule must accordingly be discharged and the decision of the learned Magistrate is affirmed.