SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: CALCUTTA)
HENRY AH HOE
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A. P. Sen, J. -
(1.) This appeal by special leave from a judgment of the Calcutta High Court dated June 5, 1978 raises a question of some complexity. The question is as to the applicability of Section 16-A of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 ("Act" for short) as inserted by the Prevention of Food Adulteration (Amendment) Act, 1976 (for short "the Central Amendment Act") with respect to prosecutions launched under Section 10 (1) (a) read with Section 7 of the Act in the State of West Bengal between the period from April 29, 1974 to April 1, 1976. Such offenses according to the law then in force the Act as amended by the Prevention of Adulteration of Food, Drugs and Cosmetics (West Bengal Amendment) Act, 1973 (for short "the West Bengal Amendment Act") were punishable with imprisonment for life and therefore triable by the Court of Session.
(2.) It is common ground that the offence with which the respondents are charged is alleged to have been committed under Section 16 (1) (a) at a time when the Act stood amended in its application to the State of West Bengal by the provisions of the West Bengal Amendment Act. If the law continued to stand as it stood on the date of the offence which was so committed, there would have been no difficulty because the maximum penalty would be imprisonment for life and fine and as such the offences would be exclusively triable by the Court of Session. But a change was brought about when Parliament enacted the Central Amendment Act which came into force on April 1, 1976 by which the scheme of Section 16 of the Act providing, for various punishments was materially altered; so also the procedure for the trial of such offences. The effect of the Central Amendment Act was that the West Bengal Amendment Act stood impliedly repealed with effect from April 1, 1976 and the question is whether the previous operation of the repealed West Bengal Amendment Act in respect of any liability incurred there under is preserved by Section 8 of the Bengal General Clauses Act, 1899 which is parimateria with Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 both as to procedure for trial of such offences and the nature of punishment liable to be imposed.
(3.) First as to facts. On Aug. 16, 1975 the appellant, a Food Inspector of the Corporation of Calcutta, visited the Chungwa Restaurant run by the respondent at Chittaranian Avenue, Calcutta and purchased a quantity of Hyacinth's ground white pepper (compound) with fried rice powder and sent the same to a Public Analyst for analysis. On such analysis, the sample was found to be adulterated as it contained no rice powder but wheat powder. On Sept. 24, 1975 the appellant lodged a complaint against the respondents for having committed an offence punishable under Section 16 (1) (a) read with Section 7 of the Act in the Court of Senior Municipal Magistrate, Calcutta. The giavamen of the charge was that the respondents had stored and/or exposed for sale and/or used Hyacinth's ground white pepper (compound) with fried rice powder for the purpose of manufacturing and preparing different articles of food which was adulterated and misbranded.;
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