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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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