Lal Vs. State of Rajasthan  Insc 529 (1 November 2000)
Thomas, & R.P. Sethi. THOMAS, J.
Appellant claimed that since the milk he sold was that of a she-camel he cannot
be prosecuted and convicted under the provisions of the Prevention of Food
Adulteration Act, 1954, (for short the Act). The trial court accepted his claim
and acquitted him on the premise that no standard has been fixed under the Act
for such milk. But the High Court, after holding that camels milk could not be
sold for human consumption, further held that the milk sold was not shown to be
camels milk at all. Nonetheless, learned single judge of the High Court, on the
appeal preferred by the State, convicted the appellant under Section 16(1) of
the Act and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for 6 months and to pay a
fine of Rs.1,000/-.
Singh, learned counsel for the appellant seemed to be more concerned with that
part of the judgment by which the High Court declared that camels milk cannot
be sold for human consumption. Learned counsel expressed the apprehension that
the above view of the High Court would affect the people of the State of Rajasthan by and large as many of them
habitually consume camels milk.
is a 22-year old story as the Food Inspector had purchased milk from the
appellant on 9.10.1978. He took sample therewith on the spot. One part of the
sample was sent to the Public Analyst for examination. The report of the Public
Analyst showed that the sample was examined and found to contain 25% of added
water and that the milk fat was 4.1% and the milk solid non-fat was 6.74%.
After the prosecution evidence was completed in the trial court appellant
offered himself to be examined as a witness. In his evidence he did not dispute
the fact that Food Inspector purchased milk from him nor the stand of the Food
Inspector that sampling was done in his presence. However, appellant took the
stand that it was milk of camel which was edible and that he did not add water
to it. His defence was that no standard was fixed for camels milk and hence he
is not liable to be convicted on the strength of the report of the Public
an unnecessary exercise to discuss whether the milk sold by the appellant was camels
milk or any other class of milk. In this case the prosecution did not suggest
what class of milk had been sold to the Food Inspector.
we have to proceed on the assumption that the milk sold by the appellant was camels
milk. Appellant opted to give defence evidence on the impression that the
charge which he was called upon to face was that he sold milk which was not
usable for human consumption.
III of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules (for short the Rules) contains
Definitions and Standards of Quality of various
articles of food. Rule 5 which falls@@ JJ within the said Part says that the
standards of quality of various articles of food specified in Appendix B to these
Rules are as defined in that appendix. Milk is defined in Item A.11.01.01 of
Appendix B as the normal mammary secretion derived from complete milking of
healthy milch animal without either addition thereto or extraction therefrom.
But it shall be free from colostrum. The above definition does not
differentiate between milk of different animals. Hence it is clear that camels
milk also would fall within the amplitude of the said definition. The question
whether the camel milk can be consumed by human beings as a food article need
not vex us much, for, the Food Inspector in this case took the sample on the
assumption that it was a food article. If it was not a food article the Food
Inspector had no power to take sample therefrom.
10 of the Act confers power on the Food Inspector to take sample of any article
of food. Food is defined in Section 2(v) as any article used as food or drink
for human consumption, other than drugs and water and includes .
the items included thereby are not very relevant for the purpose of this case
the remaining part of the definition is omitted). We may observe that an
article which is food does not lose its character as food by the fact that it
was also used or sold for other purposes.
observing that camels milk could not have been sold for human consumption
learned single judge of the High Court proceeded to consider the evidence in
the case to ascertain whether the sample was really that of camels milk. The
evidence tendered by the accused to the effect that the milk sold by him was camels
milk was simply sidelined by the learned single judge, but he did not reach any
specific finding as to what class of milk had been sold to the Food Inspector.
In our view, there is no room for dissenting from the defence version that it
was camels milk that was sold to the Food Inspector. We would therefore proceed
on that premise.
Americana (volume 5, page 263) it is mentioned that the milk of camel is
nutritious. In the World Book Encyclopedia it is said that millions of people
who live in Africa and Asia depend on camels to supply most of their needs For people who live deep
in the deserts, camels are almost the only source of transportation, food,
clothing, and shelter They drink camels milk and also make cheese from it. The
milk is so rich and thick that it forms hard lumps in tea or coffee.
book authored by Mr. G.S.Rathore, Former Director Animal Husbandary Department,
Government of Rajasthan, which was published by Indian Council of Agricultural
Research (ICAR is its acronym) under the title Camels and their Management the
following passage appears in Chapter 17:
of Milk Milk does not occupy the same position in commerce as that of cows and baffaloes
chiefly because of its limited availability. Besides, camels are not bred and
reared as mulch animals. However, camels milk is sold in some parts of the
world and forms an important article of food for camel-rearers. She-camels are
generally milked twice a day. They yield 2.5 to 5 kg a day, and some 15 kg a
day. The location yield is reported to vary from 1300 to 3600 kg, depending on
the extent of feeding and care. But a low yield is the rule.
the milk from other milch animals, she- camels milk is likely to vary in its
gross composition with breed, individual animals, plan of nutrition, season and
atmospheric temperature, age, stage of lactation, and the analytical techniques
used. Most camel- rearers find the milk of camel sharp and saline in taste and
hard to curdle or to prepare ghee from it by the usual methods. Much of the
she-camels milk is consumed as liquid milk though some of it is used in
study made with camels milk by various countries reveals that it contains fatty
acid and the total protein is of the same order as in cows milk. In the same
publication it is mentioned that Russian workers have made extensive studies on
the vitamin contents of camels milk.
French Scientific Organisation called CIRAD has been specialising in
agricultural research for the tropics and subtropics of the
world. Recently the said organisation came out with a paper which is available
in internet (Website:
passage in it under the caption The camels milk commodity systems, how to lay a
bet on modernity, and traditional techniques, can profitably be used for our
countries have already taken up the challenge of giving camels full productive
animal status, an important factor in animal production economics. In most
cases, the move was initiated by farsighted individuals who were ahead of their
time and deserve recognition. The dairies set up here and there are an
excellent, albeit isolated example, and the Laitiere de Mauuritanie is a case
in point. The private initiatives launched by farmers to sell milk in
production zones or urban consumption areas is another striding example of the
economic dynamism of these operations who have far too often been overlooked.
This is currently the case in many animal production zones such as southern Morocco, more historically in Somalia, and on the ranches of northern
areas where camels have been introduced alongside bovines and zebus, to quote
just a few examples.
other areas, the move reflected a strong political commitment on the part of
those in charge of the agricultural economy and their operational structures.
This was the case in central Asia, where the
camels milk commodity channels have entirely fulfilled the role assigned to
them: feeding specific target populations in certain cities(for dietetic or
therapeutic dietetic or therapeutic diets in hospitals), but also healthy
populations for whom camels milk products have a high symbolic value rather
than being seen as mere foods. This is still the case in Africa, particularly Mauritania, where the authorities appreciate
the manifold and productive role the species can play in providing milk to
if the people outside camel raring regions did not think of using milk of that
mammal for human consumption, that is no reason to derecognise the practice of
the people in those regions consuming milk of camel in the same manner as other
classes of edible milk are consumed by people elsewhere.
all the above reasons we are unable to agree with the finding of the High Court
that camel milk is not fit for human consumption. We do recognise the fact that
in some States in India, particularly in Rajasthan, camel
milk is extensively used as edible article.
no standard has been specifically fixed for camels milk in the Rules. However,
different standards have been fixed for different classes and designations of
milk. In the table provided below the Rules, under Item A.11.01.11 of Appendix-B,
only three classes of milk are mentioned i.e. buffalo milk, cow milk and goat
or sheep milk. But clause (i) of the Note added to the table states thus:
milk is offered for sale without any distinction of class, the standards
prescribed for buffalo milk shall apply.
buffalo milk different standards are fixed as for different States. For the
State of Rajasthan the minimum milk fat fixed for
buffalo milk is 5% and the milk-solids-non-fat should be 9%. In the present
case the Public Analyst found (as pointed out earlier) that the sample of milk
contains only 4.1% of milk fat and 6.74% of milk-solids-non-fat. In spite of
the Note added to the table provided under the aforesaid items we have
difficulty to treat the two constituents of camels milk on a par with buffalo
milk for more than one reason. In the Encyclopedia Americana (International Edn.)
a table is given for Average Composition of milk from different mammals. For
buffalo milk the fat percentage is 7.73, and non-solids-fat percentage is 9.93
whereas for camel milk the average percentage of fat is 4.15 and solids-non-fat
is only 8.
in the publication made by the ICAR composition of camels milk is shown as fat
7.8 per cent and solids-non-fat 9.59 per cent.
above is the study report of even the ICAR it is for the prosecution to show
how the minimum requirements fixed for buffalo milk would become scientifically
relevant as for the camels milk. This is an area where the attention of the
Central Government must be focussed for considering whether there should be
re-fixation of the components as for the standard in respect of camels milk.
that as it may, the offence committed by the appellant is not merely that he
sold sub-standard camels milk but he sold the milk by adding water thereto.
Rule 44 of the Rules prohibits the sale of milk which contains any added water.
The Public Analyst who tested the sample in the laboratory has reported that it
contained 25% of added water. Hence the offence to be found against appellant
is Section 16(1)(a)(I) of the Act.
therefore, uphold the conviction of the appellant though for different reasons
which we have adverted to above. Now we have to decide the question of
was made before us to reduce the sentence to the minimum permitted under the
first proviso to Section 16(1) of the Act. It is not disputed that if there are
adequate and special reasons the sentence could be brought down to imprisonment
for a term of 3 months and a fine of Rs.500/-, as this case falls within the
ambit of clause (i) of the Proviso to Section 16(1).
was only 19 years old when he sold the milk to the Food Inspector. We have no
doubt that it can be regarded as a special reason. Yet another reason is that
appellant was put to notice by the prosecution in the High Court that the
offence committed was that he sold an article which was not edible. We also
take into account the fact that the appellant was not given any opportunity to
say anything regarding the sentence. Of course, there was no need for the trial
court to do so since appellant was acquitted by that court. But when the High
Court had chosen to reverse the acquittal and convicted him he should have been
heard on the sentence. Now it is too late in the day for us to send the case
back to the High Court for that purpose alone. Any further delay in disposing
of this matter would cause irreparable damage to him.
all the above reasons we reduce the sentence to imprisonment for 3 months and a
fine of Rs.500/-, default in payment of which the appellant will undergo
imprisonment for a further period of 15 days.
appeal is disposed of accordingly.