1. The six petitioners before the Court were convicted by the Municipal Magistrate of Calcutta under Section 488 (2)/386 (1) (a), Calcutta Municipal Act for continuing to store dal without a license. The ground on which this rule has been granted is that the facts alleged and proved do not disclose an offence under Section 386 (1) (a), Calcutta Municipal Act. It has been contended first of all, that dal is not grain and, secondly, that the petitioners are not the persons who are using or permitting the premises to be used for the purpose of storing dal. They are the owners and not the actual occupiers and it is contended that they cannot be held liable under the section. It is the actual occupiers, the tenants, who are using the premises, who are responsible for storing dal.
2. The first point to be decided is whether dal. is 'grain.' Schedule 19, Calcutta Municipal Act, Clause (8) sets forth a list of articles for which premises may not be used without a license and among these articles 'grain' is mentioned. It is contended on behalf of the Corporation that dal is grain. I presume the word ''grain' is used in the schedule in its popular sense. If that is so, I am prepared to say that pulse is not included within the expression ''grain.' 'Grain' as I understand it, is confined to the seeds of cereal plants such as barley, [oats, etc. The Oxford Dictionary defines 'grain' as seed of cereal plants and later extends collectively to the fruit or seed of wheat and the allied food plants or grasses and rarely of beans, etc. As far as I am aware the expression 'grain' is confined popularly to seed or cereal plants. That being so, dal cannot be held to be included in the expression i 'grain.' Dal is a pulse and belongs to the leguminous family of plants. It; is therefore clearly not necessary for the petitioners to have taken out a license for storing dal. That being so, they obviously committed no offence in neglecting to take out a license.
3. In this view of the case, it is not necessary for me to determine the other point taken in the case.
4. The convictions of and sentences passed upon the petitioners are set aside and they are acquitted. The fines, if paid, must be refunded.