V K ABDUL AZEEZE Vs. STATE OF KERALA
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
STATE OF KERALA
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(1.)This is a reference by the learned Sessions Judge, Tellicherry recommending that the conviction and sentence entered against the accused for offences under the Food Adulteration Act be quashed as the main item of evidence against them, namely the certificate of the Public Analyst that the item of food sold by the petitioners was adulterated is not of a conclusive nature.
(2.)The facts are not in dispute. The respondents are the proprietor and the salesman of a grocery shop in Cannannore. On 21st December 1960 the Food Inspector of the Cannanore Municipality bought some Thuvara dhall from the shop for purposes of analysis. The sample was analysed by the Public Analyst and certified to be adulterated. The petitioners were tried before the District Magistrate, Tellicherry who convicted them under S.16(1) read with S.7 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and sentenced them each to pay a fine of Rs. 50 or in default to undergo simple imprisonment for 14 days. The matter was taken in revision before the Sessions Judge, Tellicherry. The learned Judge felt that the certificate of the Public Analyst was not valid as it was too vague and did not contain enough data. He has therefore recommended that the conviction and sentence entered by the Trial Court be set aside.
(3.)We must say that we cannot find our way to accept the learned Judge's recommendation. It seems to us that there should be no difficulty in accepting the certificate as proof that the sample analysed was adulterated. The certificate reads thus:
"I further certify that I have analysed the aforementioned sample, and declare the result of my analysis to be as follows:
Metanil Yellow (Coal tar dye) .. Present
And am of the opinion that the said sample contains Metanil Yellow, a coal tar dye, the addition of which in food is not permitted by rules and is therefore adulterated."
The learned Judge argues that the certificate is not valid as it does not show what was the sort of examination that the Analyst conducted:
"whether it was microscopic or macroscopic or what was the percentage of the coal tar dye that was present, so that as has been put, the court may, though not an expert form its own judgment on the materials".
A decision of this Court reported in City Corporation of Trivandrum v. T. R. Reddiar 1962 KLT 199 was cited by the learned Judge to support his view. That decision to which one of us was a party cannot be made to apply to this case where the facts are entirely different. There the Public Analyst's certificate was merely to the effect that the sample of dhall analysed was adulterated as it showed characteristics of lac dhall known as Kesari dhall (Lathyrus Sativus) and it was held by this Court that a conviction cannot be sustained on that certificate as it is not possible to ascertain what the characteristics noticed by the Analyst were. It was further observed therein:
"It is not possible to lay down any hard and fast rule as to what particulars should he shown in the Analyst's report as the same may vary in each case. Thus, while it may be necessary to give the data regarding the proportion of the component parts in commodities like milk, ghee, etc., the position may be different where the article sold may be misbranded or entirely different from what it purported to be."
We do not feel that the views quoted above can be considered as an authority for the position that a certificate to the effect that certain prohibited dye was present in the foodstuff is too vague to be acted upon.
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