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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Quashing of complaint made under Food Adulteration Act - Samples taken at Jail - found Rice and Haldi took samples and send it for test - found substandard - Magistrate took cognizance - High court declined to involve - Apex court held that storing in Jail is not for sale and is only consumption and as such food adulteration Act not applies and quashed the complaint = RUPAK KUMAR …APPELLANT VERSUS STATE OF BIHAR & ANR. …RESPONDENTS =2014 (March . Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41285

Quashing of complaint made under Food Adulteration Act - Samples taken at Jail - found Rice and Haldi took samples and send it for test - found substandard - Magistrate took cognizance - High court declined to involve - Apex court held that storing in Jail is not for sale and is only consumption and as such food adulteration Act not applies and quashed the complaint =

The petitioner is aggrieved  by  the  order  whereby  his  prayer  for
quashing  the  order  taking  cognizance  under  Section  16(1)(a)  of   the
Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and issuing process has been declined.
 the Food Inspector visited the  jail  premises  and  collected
samples of various materials including Haldi and Rice.  Those articles  were
stored for consumption of the prisoners.   The  samples  so  collected  were
sent for examination and analysis  and,  according  to  the  report  of  the
Public Analyst, Haldi and  Rice  were  not  found  in  conformity  with  the
prescribed standard and, therefore, held to  be  adulterated.   Accordingly,
two separate prosecution reports were submitted alleging  commission  of  an
offence under Section 16 of the Prevention of Food  Adulteration  Act,  1954
(hereinafter  referred  to  as  ‘the  Act’).   The  learned  Chief  Judicial
Magistrate took cognizance of the offence under  Section  16(1)(a)  of   the
Act and  by  order dated 18th  of  March,  2006  directed  for  issuance  of
process in both the cases.  =

In the present case, according to the prosecution,  the  appellant,  a
Superintendent of Jail, had stored Rice and Haldi and,  therefore,  his  act
comes within the mischief of Section 7 and 16 of the Act.  In  view  of  the
aforesaid, what needs to be decided is as to whether the expression  ‘store’
as used in  Section  7  and  Section  16  of  the  Act  would  mean  storage
simplicitor or storage for sale.  We have  referred  to  the  provisions  of
Section 7, Section 10 and Section 16 of the  Act  and  from  their  conjoint
reading, it will appear that the Act is intended to  prohibit  and  penalise
the sale of any adulterated article of  food.   In  our  opinion,  the  term
‘store’ shall take colour from the context and the collocation in  which  it
occurs in Section 7 and 16 of the Act.  Applying  the  aforesaid  principle,
we are of the opinion, that ‘storage’ of  an  adulterated  article  of  food
other than for sale does not come within the mischief of Section 16  of  the
Act.  In view of the authoritative pronouncement of this Court in  the  case
of Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Laxmi Narain Tandon, (1976) 1 SCC  546,
this submission does not need further elaboration.  In the said case it  has
been held as follows:


            “14. From a conjoint reading of the above referred  provisions,
            it will be clear that  the  broad  scheme  of  the  Act  is  to
            prohibit and penalise the sale, or import, manufacture, storage
            or distribution for sale of any adulterated  article  of  food.
            The terms “store” and “distribute” take their colour  from  the
            context and the collocation of words in  which  they  occur  in
            Sections  7  and  16.  “Storage”  or   “distribution”   of   an
            adulterated article of food for a purpose other than  for  sale
            does not fall within the mischief of this section…………………”




      In the case in hand, it is not the allegation that the  appellant  had
stored Haldi and Rice for sale.  Therefore, in our opinion, the  allegations
made do not constitute any  offence  and,  hence,  the  prosecution  of  the
appellant for an offence under Section 16(1)(a)  of  the  Act  shall  be  an
abuse of the process of the Court.








      In the result we allow these appeals, set aside  the  impugned  orders
and quash the appellant’s prosecution in both the cases.

2014 (March . Part) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41285
CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD, PINAKI CHANDRA GHOSE
                                                                  REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                    CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 541-542 OF 2014
        (@ SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRIMINAL) NOS. 4797-4798 OF 2011)


RUPAK KUMAR                               …APPELLANT

                                   VERSUS

STATE OF BIHAR & ANR.                    …RESPONDENTS



                                  JUDGMENT


CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD,J.


      The petitioner is aggrieved  by  the  order  whereby  his  prayer  for
quashing  the  order  taking  cognizance  under  Section  16(1)(a)  of   the
Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and issuing process has been declined.




      Short facts giving rise to the present  special  leave  petitions  are
that when the petitioner was posted as the Superintendent of District  Jail,
Bihar Sharif, the Food Inspector visited the  jail  premises  and  collected
samples of various materials including Haldi and Rice.  Those articles  were
stored for consumption of the prisoners.   The  samples  so  collected  were
sent for examination and analysis  and,  according  to  the  report  of  the
Public Analyst, Haldi and  Rice  were  not  found  in  conformity  with  the
prescribed standard and, therefore, held to  be  adulterated.   Accordingly,
two separate prosecution reports were submitted alleging  commission  of  an
offence under Section 16 of the Prevention of Food  Adulteration  Act,  1954
(hereinafter  referred  to  as  ‘the  Act’).   The  learned  Chief  Judicial
Magistrate took cognizance of the offence under  Section  16(1)(a)  of   the
Act and  by  order dated 18th  of  March,  2006  directed  for  issuance  of
process in both the cases.  The  petitioner  assailed  both  the  orders  in
separate revision applications filed before the  Sessions  Judge;  but  both
were  dismissed.   Thereafter,  the  petitioner   preferred   two   separate
applications, being Criminal Miscellaneous No. 15527 of  2010  and  Criminal
Miscellaneous No. 15471 of 2010 under Section 482 of the  Code  of  Criminal
Procedure before the High Court.  The High Court, by the orders impugned  in
the present  special  leave  petitions,  has  dismissed  both  the  criminal
miscellaneous applications.  It is in  these  circumstances  the  petitioner
has filed the present special leave petitions.

      Leave granted.




      Mr.  Nagendra  Rai,  senior  counsel  appearing  on  behalf  of    the
appellant  raises  a  very  short point.  He submits that the  appellant  at
the relevant time was the Superintendent of Jail and food items  which  have
been found to be adulterated were not stored for sale  but  were  meant  for
consumption of the inmates.  He submits that according  to  the  prosecution
report, these food items were  not  stored  for  sale  and,  therefore,  the
allegations made do not come within the mischief of Section 16(1)(a) of  the
Act.


      We have bestowed our consideration to the submission advanced  and  we
find substance in the same.  Section 7 of the  Act,  inter  alia,  prohibits
manufacture and sale  of  certain  articles  of  food,  the  same  reads  as
follows:



      1 “Section 7. Prohibitions  of  manufacture,  sale,  etc.  of  certain
            articles of food. – No person shall himself or by any person on
            his behalf manufacture for sale, or store, sell or distribute-

            (i)  any adulterated food;
            (ii) any misbranded food;
            (iii)any article of food for the   sale of which a  licence  is
                   prescribed, except in accordance with the  conditions  of
                   the licence;
            (iv) any article of food the sale of  which  is  for  the  time
                   being prohibited by the Food (Health)  Authority  in  the
                   interest of public health;
            (v) any article of food in contravention of any other provision
                   of this Act or of any rule made thereunder; or
            (vi) any adulterant.
            Explanation-For the purposes of this section, a person shall be
            deemed to store any adulterated food or misbranded food or  any
            article of food referred to in clause (iii) or clause  (iv)  or
            clause (v) if he stores such food for the manufacture therefrom
            of any article of food for sale.”


      From a plain reading of the aforesaid provision, it  is  evident  that
Section 7 prohibits a person to ‘manufacture for sale’ or ‘store’ or  ‘sell’
or  ‘distribute’,  inter  alia,  any  adulterated  food.   Contravention  of
Section 7 by any person is punishable under Section 16 of the Act.   Section
10 of the Act talks about  the  power  of  Food  Inspector  and  under  this
Section, he is empowered to take sample of any  article  of  food  from  any
person selling such article.  It is  apt  to  reproduce  Section  10(1)  and
10(2), which read as follows:
            “Section 10. Powers of food inspectors. - (1) A Food  Inspector
            shall have power-
                 (a) to take samples of any article of food from-
                       (i) any person selling such article;
                       (ii) any person who is in the  course  of  conveying,
                       delivering or preparing to deliver such article to  a
                       purchaser or consignee;
                       (iii) a consignee after delivery of any such  article
                       to him; and
                 (b) to send such sample for analysis to the public  analyst
                 for the local area within which such sample has been taken;
                 (c) with  the  previous  approval  of  the  Local  (Health)
                 Authority having jurisdiction in the local area  concerned,
                 or  with  the  previous  approval  of  the  Food   (Health)
                 Authority, to prohibit the sale of any article of  food  in
                 the interest of public health.
            Explanation-For the purposes of sub-clause (iii) of clause (a),
            “consignee” does not include a person who purchases or receives
            any article of food for his own consumption.
            (2) Any food inspector may enter and inspect  any  place  where
            any article of food is manufactured, or  stored  for  sale,  or
            stored for the manufacture of any other  article  of  food  for
            sale, or exposed or exhibited for sale or where any  adulterant
            is manufactured or kept, and take samples of  such  article  of
            food or adulterant for analysis:
            Provided that no sample of any article of food,  being  primary
            food, shall be taken  under  this  sub-section  if  it  is  not
            intended for sale as such food.”


      A conjoint reading of the aforesaid provisions makes it clear that the
Food Inspector has the power to take sample of any article of food from  any
person selling such article under sub-section (1)  whereas  sub-section  (2)
confers on him the power to enter and inspect any place  where  any  article
of food is manufactured, stored or exposed for  sale  and  take  samples  of
such articles of food for analysis.   Section  16  provides  for  penalties.
Section 16(1)(a)(i) and 16(1)(a)(ii), which are  relevant  for  the  purpose
read as follows:
            “Section 16. Penalties. -(1) Subject to the provisions of  sub-
            section (IA) if any person-
            (a) whether by himself or by any other person  on  his  behalf,
            imports into India or manufactures for sale or stores, sells or
            distributes any article of food—
            (i) which is adulterated within the meaning of  sub-clause  (m)
                   of clause (ia) of section  2  or  misbranded  within  the
                   meaning of clause (ix) of that section  or  the  sale  of
                   which is prohibited under any provision of  this  Act  or
                   any rule made thereunder or  by  an  order  of  the  Food
                   (Health) Authority;
            (ii) other than an article of food referred  to  in  sub-clause
                   (i), in contravention of any of the  provisions  of  this
                   Act or of any rule made thereunder ; or
                 xxx              xxx              xxx”


      According to this section any person, who by himself or by  any  other
person on  his  behalf,  manufactures  for  sale  or  stores  or  sells  any
adulterated article is liable to be punished.


      In the present case, according to the prosecution,  the  appellant,  a
Superintendent of Jail, had stored Rice and Haldi and,  therefore,  his  act
comes within the mischief of Section 7 and 16 of the Act.  In  view  of  the
aforesaid, what needs to be decided is as to whether the expression  ‘store’
as used in  Section  7  and  Section  16  of  the  Act  would  mean  storage
simplicitor or storage for sale.  We have  referred  to  the  provisions  of
Section 7, Section 10 and Section 16 of the  Act  and  from  their  conjoint
reading, it will appear that the Act is intended to  prohibit  and  penalise
the sale of any adulterated article of  food.   In  our  opinion,  the  term
‘store’ shall take colour from the context and the collocation in  which  it
occurs in Section 7 and 16 of the Act.  Applying  the  aforesaid  principle,
we are of the opinion, that ‘storage’ of  an  adulterated  article  of  food
other than for sale does not come within the mischief of Section 16  of  the
Act.  In view of the authoritative pronouncement of this Court in  the  case
of Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Laxmi Narain Tandon, (1976) 1 SCC  546,
this submission does not need further elaboration.  In the said case it  has
been held as follows:


            “14. From a conjoint reading of the above referred  provisions,
            it will be clear that  the  broad  scheme  of  the  Act  is  to
            prohibit and penalise the sale, or import, manufacture, storage
            or distribution for sale of any adulterated  article  of  food.
            The terms “store” and “distribute” take their colour  from  the
            context and the collocation of words in  which  they  occur  in
            Sections  7  and  16.  “Storage”  or   “distribution”   of   an
            adulterated article of food for a purpose other than  for  sale
            does not fall within the mischief of this section…………………”




      In the case in hand, it is not the allegation that the  appellant  had
stored Haldi and Rice for sale.  Therefore, in our opinion, the  allegations
made do not constitute any  offence  and,  hence,  the  prosecution  of  the
appellant for an offence under Section 16(1)(a)  of  the  Act  shall  be  an
abuse of the process of the Court.








      In the result we allow these appeals, set aside  the  impugned  orders
and quash the appellant’s prosecution in both the cases.




                                                   ………………………………………………………………J
                                                   (CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD)




                                                   ………………………………………………………………J
                                        (PINAKI CHANDRA GHOSE)



NEW DELHI,
MARCH 04, 2014.





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