Skip to content


The Remembrancer of Legal Affairs Vs. Kedar Nath Maity and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1978CriLJ440
AppellantThe Remembrancer of Legal Affairs
RespondentKedar Nath Maity and anr.
Cases ReferredKesho Ram v. Delhi Administration
Excerpt:
- .....prosecution and (2) that the sanction must be accorded by a secretary duly authorised in this behalf. supreme court ruled out any scope for a general authorisation under section 198b(3) only because the supreme court held that the high dignitary in each case has to consider whether defamatory statement should or should not be taken notice of, whether he should vindicate himself or he should just ignore the same and this decision could be taken by no other authority. this decision is, therefore, clearly distinguishable.6. though cases on the construction of section 15 of the present act are not many, there are many decisions by different high courts on the construction of the parallel provision in section 20(1) of the prevention of food adulteration act. majority of the high courts.....
Judgment:

Anil K. Sen, J.

1. This is a revisional application preferred by the State. In this application the State challenges the validity of an order dated July 8,1975, passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Midnapore in Keshiary P, S. Case No. 3 dated 4th Jan. 1975, whereby the learned Magistrate discharged the accused persons who were being prosecuted Under Section 13 of the Rice Milling Industries (Regulation) Act, 1958. The learned Magistrate has discharged the accused persons solely on the ground that cognizance was not validly taken as it was so taken on a re port which was not lawfully lodged by the competent authority in due compliance with the requirement of Section 15 of the Act,

2. Section 15 provides :- 'No Court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act except on a report in writing of the facts constituting such offence made by the Licensing Officer or any person duly authorised by the Central Government or the Licensing Officer in this behalf'. Facts- are not in dispute in the present case. The report for the prosecution in this case was submitted by a Sub-Inspector of Police of Keshiary police station. He did so on an authorisation made in his favour by the State Government under a notification dated April, 12, 1969, which is set out hereunder:

In the exercise of the power conferred by Section 15 of the Rice Milling Industry (Regulation) Act, 1958 (2,1 of 1958), read with the Government of India, Ministry of Food and Agriculture Order No. GSR 512, dated the 22nd Apr., 1959, published at page 225, of Part II, Section 3, Sub-section (1) of the 'Gazette of India', Extraordinary', dated the 22nd Apr. 1959, the Governor is pleased hereby to authorise each of the officers of the Government of West Bengal mentioned in the schedule below to make, for the purposes of the said section 15, reports in writing of the facts constituting offences punishable under the said Act, committed within his jurisdiction :

The Schedule

(1) The Director of Food,

(2) Deputy Directors of Food,

(3) Assistant Directors of Food,

(4) Police-Officers not below the rank of a Sub-Inspector.

It should be noted that such authorisation Under Section 15 was made by the State Government by virtue of an earlier delegation in its favour made by the Central Government by a notification dated Apr, 22, 159 Under Section 19- of the Act.

3. Attention of the learned Magistrate was drawn to the aforesaid authorisation. But the learned Magistrate took the view that such an authorisation is not valid. He relied on a single Bench decision of the Orissa High Court in the case of the State of Orissa v. B. Patel : AIR1965Ori159 and held that in order to be a valid authorisation the same must be in respect of the particular offence. A general authority like the one under the notification referred to hereinbefore cannot be said to be an authorisation 'in this behalf contemplated by Section 15 and the Sub-Inspector of Police could not have lawfully submitted a report to enable the Court to take cognizance thereon. The decision as aforesaid relied on by the learned Magistrate no doubt fully supports the view taken by him. In this revisional application, however, the State is disputing correctness of that view.

4. We have set out Section 15 of the Act hereinbefore. The provision imposes a bar that no Court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under the Act except on a resport in writing of the facts constituting such an offence which is to be made either by the Licensing Officer himself or by any person duly authorised in this behalf by the Central Govern- ment or the Licensing Officer. In plain; reading the words 'in this behalf really mean that the authority given to the person must be an authority to lodge a report in writing of the facts constituting the offence or in other words the authorisation must vest in the delegate-the authority for lodging of the report as contemplated by Section 15. The notification which we have set out hereinbefore1 squarely constitutes an authorisation aa contemplated by the latter part of Section 15. The learned single Judge of the Orissa High Court has, however, taken the view that when a person is to be authorised 'in this behalf the words 'in this behalf must be read to mean with reference to the particular offence on the facts of each case and not a general authorisation. Such an import, in our opinion, does not necessarily follow from the language or the terms o the sections and with greatest respect to the learned Judge we are unable to share the view taken by him, Such a construction of the provision introduces a restriction which does not reasonably follow from the frame of the section or the terms thereof.

5. The learned Judge in deciding that case relied on an earlier single Bench decision of the same Court in the case of K.G.Anjaneyalu v. Chairman, Puri Municipality : AIR1963Ori158 where what came up for consider ration was the provision in Section 20(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, which is comparable to Section 15 now under consideration. In this case also it was held that a general authorisation in favour of the Chairman Under Section 20(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, to file and conduct cases under the Act on behalf of the municipality was not a valid authorisation on the basis whereof a prosecution could be instituted. Authority cited for such a construction of the material provision was the decision of thQ Supreme Court in the case of Gour Chandra v. Public Prosecutor, Cuttack : AIR1963SC1198 . That decision of the Supreme Court la based on construction of a provision which is materially distinct from Section 15 oi the Act now under consideration or Section 20(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and this aspect was unfortunately lost sight of. In Gour Chandra Routh's case the appellant was prosecuted for an offence Under Section 501 of the IPC for having defamed the Governor of Orissa in discharge of his public function. An objection was taken on behalf of the appellant that he was so prosecute ed without any proper sanction Under Section 198B(3)(a) of the old Code of Criminal Procedure. It was found by the Supreme Court as a fact that though sanction waa accorded by the Secretary to the Gov- ernment of Orissa in the Home Department there was no authorisation either specific or in general terms in his favour. Moreover, in view of the nature of offence referred to in Section 198B(1) and on the terms of Sub-section (3) read with Sub-section (1) thereof, the Supreme Court held that two restrictions were imposed by the provision, viz., (1) that the high dignitary himself must sanction prosecution and (2) that the sanction must be accorded by a Secretary duly authorised in this behalf. Supreme Court ruled out any scope for a general authorisation Under Section 198B(3) only because the Supreme Court held that the high dignitary in each case has to consider whether defamatory statement should or should not be taken notice of, whether he should vindicate himself or he should just ignore the same and this decision could be taken by no other authority. This decision is, therefore, clearly distinguishable.

6. Though cases on the construction of Section 15 of the present Act are not many, there are many decisions by different High Courts on the construction of the parallel provision in Section 20(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. Majority of the High Courts have interpreted this provision to mean that it contemplates that there can validly be a general authorisation of the nature as has been made in the present case under the said provision. We feel no necessity of referring to those cases in details because all of them are based on an earlier decision of the Supreme Court in the case of State of Bombay v. Purushottam Kanaiyalal : [1961]1SCR458 . In this case the Supreme Court had to deal with and interpret Section 20(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. The respondent before the Supreme Court was prosecuted for commission of an offence Under Section 16 read with Section 7 of the Act for selling adulterated food. Such prosecution was lodged on the written consent given by the Chief Officer of the Baroda Municipality who was authorised by the municipality in terms of a resolution dated May 7, 1956. Such authorisation, was undoubtedly a general authorisation. An objection was taken on behalf of the respondent at the trial that the prosecution was incompetent because of non-compliance with Section 20(1) of the Act. This objection was overruled by tha learned Magistrate in view of the consent given by the Chief Officer on the basis of the general authorisation by the Municipality. On an appeal against the conviction, the learned Sessions Judge, however, held that consent contemplated by Section 20(l) could only be given by the State Government and not by the local authority and in that view the objection was upheld and the conviction and sentence was set aside. The State Government preferred an appeal to the High Court of Bombay. The High Court overruled the view taken by the learned Sessions Judge. The High Court, however, took the view that in order to constitute a written consent the person who is to institute the complaint should be named and that not having been done the objection raised by the respondent was upheld by the High Court. There was a furthei appeal to the Supreme Court and th Supreme Court set aside the decision botb of the learned Sessions Judge and of the High Court and restored the decision ot the learned Magistrate. On these facts, therefore, it is explicit that the Supreme Court upheld the validity of a conviction under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act where the prosecution was lodged on the written consent neither of the State Government nor of the local authority but of a person who was authorised to give such consent by a general authorisation of the nature as we find in the present case. Necessarily, therefore, it must be held that the Supreme Court upheld the position that & 20(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, envisages and sanctions a general authorisation in favour of a person who is to give consent either on behalf of the State Government or on behalf of the local authority contemplated by Section 20(i). The Orissa High Court did not notice this decision of the Supreme Court in expressing a contrary view in the case of R. G. Amjaneyalu, 1963 (2) Cri LJ 305 (Ori) (supra). As we have said already Section 15 of the present Act now under consideration being a parallel provision the same should be given the same interpretation, In the case of Kesho Ram v. Delhi Administration : 1974CriLJ814 in construing Section 491 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, the Supreme Court expressed the same view that such a provision well sanctions a general delegation,

7. In this view we are unable to agree with the learned Magistrate that the authorisation in favour of the Sub-Inspector of Police in the [present case was not valid enough to entitle him to lodge a report Under Section 15 of the Act. The order of the learned Magistrate based on that view, therefore, must be set aside.

8. This application, therefore, succeeds and the Rule is made absolute. The impugned order is set aside and the case would now proceed in accordance with law.

A.P. Bhattacharya, J.

9. I agree.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //