B.N. Maitra, J.
1. Shri S. N. Ghosh, Food Inspector, Corporation of Calcutta (Opposite Party No. 2) filed a petition of complaint in the court of the learned Metropolitan Magistrate, 2nd Court. Town Hall, Calcutta, against eight persons under Sections 7 and 16(1)(a)(i) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. The learned Magistrate perused the petition of complaint, took cognizance of the alleged offence and issued summons against the petitioners and other accused. Hence these two Revisional Applications Nos. 1001 and 1002 of 1979.
2. Mr. Balai Chandra Roy, learned Advocate appearing on behalf of the petitioners, has contended that the petition of complaint shows that on 22-4-1978 the Food Inspector inspected the accused's shop (godown) located at 67/45-B, Strand Road,-and found an article of food, namely, refined rape-seed oil (imported) stored/exposed for sale. He took samples of such oil after observing all the formalities, sent one part of the sample to the Public Analyst, who analysed the same and reported it to be adulterated. It has been stated in the petition of complaint that purchase was made from. Tarachand Agarwalla, who was the person in charge of the local affairs of the business of Messrs Golab Chand Tarachand of 67/45-B, Strand Road. Accused No. 2, Tarachand Agarwalla, proprietor of the aforesaid company, disclosed that the purchase had been made by him from Amritlal Pandey of the company, Ram Protap Brij Mohan. It has been contended that in view of the well-known decision of Mr. Justice Beg in the case of Bhagwandas v. Delhi Administration reported in : 1975CriLJ1091 , there cannot be a joint trial of the vendor and the seller at present. The learned Magistrate fell into an error in taking cognizance of the case. If necessary subsequently he can take necessary action according to the provision of Section 20-A of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954. It 'has thus been stated that the present proceeding against the accused Amritlal Pandey, Harekrishna Sarogi, Raj Kumar Saraf, Krishna Kumar Sarogi and Ram Pratap Brij Mohan must fail.
3. Mr. P. Ghosh, appearing on behalf of the Corporation of Calcutta has fairly conceded that there is substance in the arguments advanced by Mr. Roy.
4. Section 20A of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act reads as follows:
20-A, Where at any time during the trial of any offence under this Act alleged to have been committed by any person, not being the manufacturer, distributor or dealer of any article of food, the Court is satisfied on the evidence adduced before it, that such manufacturer, distributor or dealer is also concerned with that offence, then, the Court may, notwithstanding anything contained in Sub-section (3) of Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), or in Section 20 proceed against him as though a prosecution had been instituted against him under Section 20.
The Full Bench decision of the Delhi High Court was set aside by the Supreme Court in the aforesaid case of Bhagawandas v. Delhi Administration. It will appear from page 1311 of the report that in a suitable case a vendor, a distributor and a manufacturer could be tried together provided the allegations made before the Court show that there are connecting links between their activities so as to constitute the same transaction. The connecting links in a case such as the one in question, could be provided by, firstly, the fact that the sale at an anterior stage could be viewed as the cause of the subsequent sale; secondly, the allegation that each of the accused parted with the article of food when it was in an adulterated state; and thirdly, by the common object of the manufacturer, distributor and the vendor, that the article should reach the consumer to be used as food. The third and the last mentioned link seems decisive and must tilt the balance in favour of the legality of a joint trial of the parties concerned. But the Court cannot ignore the broader requirements of justice.
5. Let us now apply these principles to the facts of this case. There is no averment in the petition of complaint that the refined rape-seed oil in question was adulterated when the present petitioners passed it on the Messrs Gulabchand Tarachand, through its proprietor, Tarachandl Agarwalla, There are no materials to that effect on the record. There is also no averment that the said oil while it was in possession of the accused vendor, was sold to Tarachand Agarwalla in the same state as it had been stored in the godown of Ram Pratap Brij Mohan. There are no connecting links so as to constitute the same transaction or to indicate that the sale at the anterior stage can be viewed as the cause of the later sale. In the absence of such averment and the allegation that such refined rape-seed oil was sold by the alleged vendor (Amritalal Pandey), he and the partners (Hari Krishna Sarogi, Raj Kumar Saraf and Krishna Kumar Sarogi) cannot be jointly 'tried together with the other accused. So, there is no material to show that there was unity of purpose or common object or common intention on the part of the petitioners and the accused vendor to sell or distribute adulterated food. Since on the face of the petition of complaint such link is missing, we are of opinion that they cannot be jointly tried with the other accused. Hence the submissions made by Mr. Roy are accepted.
6. We make it clear that if during the trial further materials are brought on the record against the other accused, then the learned Magistrate will be at liberty to invoke the provision of Section 20-A of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.
7. The Rules are, therefore, made absolute and the proceedings against the present petitioners only are quashed.
P.C. Borooah, J.
8. I agree.