Report No. 47
7.31. Madras case under the same Act.-
In a Kerala case1 relating to section 16(1)(a)(i), Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, the Magistrate had, without assigning any reasons, imposed a sentence below the minimum. The High Court had to enhance the sentence in revision.
1. Subbayyan v. State, AIR 1968 Ker 330.
7.32. Orissa case under Essential Commodities Act.-
In an Orissa case1 under section 7(1)(a)(ii) of the Essential Commodities Act, the Magistrate had imposed a sentence of fine only, stating-"accused is Railway employee aged 55 years and is on verge of retirement and no previous conviction alleged against him, a sentence of fine will meet ends of justice."
The High Court held that this was not a sufficient justification for not awarding imprisonment. However, as there was no notice for enhancement, the High Court did not interfere with the sentence and impose a substantive sentence of imprisonment. (But the High Court reduced the fine from Rs. 500 to Rs. 200 in default, simple imprisonment for one month).
1. Gurumurthy v. State, 1968 Cr LJ 533L: AIR 1968 Ori 72.
7.33. Supreme Court case under Drug Act.-
In 1960, the Supreme Court in a case under the Drugs Act, 1940 observed that where large quantities of spurious drugs had been manufactured by the accused and passed off as goods manufactured by a firm of repute, he was guilty of an anti-social act of a very serious nature, and the punishment of rigorous imprisonment for 3 months with a fine of Rs. 500 was more lenient than severe.1
1. Chimanlal v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1963 SC 665.
7.34. Bombay case under Imports Act.-
Abhyankar, J. observed in a Bombay case1, under section 5, Imports and Exports Control Act:
"A serious view must therefore be taken of such offences which show a distressingly growing tendency. The argument that the accused comes from a respectable or high family rather emphasises the seriousness of the malady. If members belonging to high status in life should show scant regards for the laws of this country which are for public good, for protecting our foreign trade or exchange position of currency difficulties, the consequential punishment for the violation of such laws must be equally deterrent. The offences against Export and Import restrictions and customs are of the species of 'economic' crimes which must be curbed effectively."
1. State v. Drupadi, AIR 1965 Born 6, para. 11.
7.35. Trivial cases justifying no punishment.-
On the other hand, there could be cases where the case is so trivial as to justify no punishment.
7.36. Andhra case under Food Act.-
In an Andhra case1 of sale of adulterated food to the Food Inspector, the appeal against acquittal was accepted, and the respondent was held guilty under section 16(1) read with section 7 and sections 2(1)(a) and (1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. But the High Court passed a sentence only of fine of Rs. 200 (in default 3 months rigorous imprisonment), because the accused was a first offender and appeared to be a petty milk vendor.
1. Public Prosecutor v. K.N. Raju, 1970 Cr LJ 388 (393), para. 1 (AP) (Chinnappa Reddy, J.).
7.37. Madras case under Food Act.-
In a Madras case2, under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act relating to an aerated water (the complaint being that there was excess of saccharine), the excess was found to be negligible. The High Court said-
"The learned Chief Presidency Magistrate, in relation to the nature of the offence committed by the revision petitioner, has observed as follows:-
"The accused must therefore be found guilty in a purely technical sense. In my view this prosecution has served no purpose and is in fact wholly unnecessary. When the report of the Analyst disclosed nothing serious at all, the sanctioning authority at least could have exercised discretion properly and allowed the matter to be dropped instead of launching on a prosecution which is clearly pointless. I am afraid it is prosecutions such as this that create an impression of harassment and contribute to bringing the law into disrepute. It is wholly unnecessary to impose any other punishment, in the circumstances of this case, except to admonish the accused. Admonished accordingly."
With these observations, the learned Chief Presidency Magistrate must have applied section 95, Indian Penal Code, and acquitted the petitioner as, even though it may be an offence, it cannot be deemed to be an offence under law by virtue of section 95, Indian Penal Code. In the result, the conviction is set aside and the revision petitioner is acquitted."
1. B.K. Varma v. Corporation of Madras, (1970) 1 MI.,J 407 (409) (Krishnaswamy Reddy, J.).
7.38. Patna case under Food Act.-
In a Patna case,1 an appeal had been preferred with special leave under section 417(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure against the acquittal of the respondent, who was put on trial for an offence under section 16(1)(a) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. The shopkeeper had been acquitted by the Magistrate, but, on appeal the Patna High Court convicted him. However, taking into consideration that it was the respondent's first offence under the Act, and that more than 31/2 years had elapsed since the date of occurrence, the High Court imposed a fine of Rs. 250, in default three months' simple imprisonment.
1. Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee v. Durga Prasad, 1969 Cr 14 704 (Pat) (Case of first offence).
7.39. Another Patna case.-
In Patna case,1 under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, there was an appeal by special leave under section 417(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code by the Chairman, Jugsalai Notified Area Committee, against a judgment and order of a first class Magistrate acquitting the respondent of the charge under section 16(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. The accused was a tea vendor, and he had been charged with selling adulterated milk. The Patna High Court set aside the order of acquittal passed by the court below, and the respondent was convicted under section 16(1)(a)(i) of the Act. The court observed that since the offence was technical in nature a sentence of Rs. 5 would meet the ends of justice, and in default to undergo simple imprisonment for one week.
The court also observed that though the respondent had been found guilty of an offence and convicted and sentenced, it was not a case at all where the Food Inspector should have insisted on taking a sample of milk from the respondent, or the authorities of the Notified Area Committee should have sanctioned the prosecution. It has resulted in nothing but waste of court's time and public money in the hands of the Committee. The money in the hands of the Notified Area Committee being public money should not be wasted in such a manner.
1. Jugsalai Municipality v. Mukhram, AIR 1969 Pat 155 (160).
7.40. Madras case under Food Act.-
In a Madras case,1 the accused was running a grocery shop and was in possession of adulterated groundnut oil, which the Food Inspector purchased from him. The trial court acquitted him on the ground that the prosecution had not proved that the groundnut oil was kept as food intended for human consumption. On appeal, the Madras High Court held that on the facts it was intended to be sold for human consumption. So far as the punishment was concerned, the respondent was fined Rs. 250 in default to undergo simple imprisonment for six weeks. Time for payment was fixed at three weeks.
1. Public Prosecutor v. Mayakrishnan, (1970) 1 Mad LJ 275 (DB).