M A THOMAS Vs. P J ABRAHAM
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
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(1.) THE petitioner, the owner of a tea factory, has been convicted under Sections 7 (1) and 16 (1) (a) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 9 months and a fine of Rs. 1,000/- by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate; and the conviction and sentence have been confirmed in appeal by the Sessions Judge. The charge against the petitioner was that he sold tea adulterated by adding prohibited coal-tar dye.
(2.) THE Food Inspector visited the tea factory on 28th January, 1967 and purchased 375 grams of tea dust from a stock stored and exposed for sale. The sample was divided into three parts and packed and sealed in three clean dry bottles; one bottle was handed over to the petitioner, another was sent to the Public Analyst the same day and the third was retained with the food Inspector. The report of the public Analyst (Ex. P6) appears to have been signed on 7th May, 1967; and the prosecution was started on 4th July, 1967. The prosecution witnesses were examined on 15th July; and thereafter, the petitioner applied for having his sample tested by the Central Food Laboratory. On 18th July, the sample was sent to the Central Food Laboratory; and Ex. Cl dated 10th August, 1967, is the certificate issued by the Director of the Central Food Laboratory. Several contentions have been raised and have also been considered by the Lower Courts, before me the main question argued relates to the validity, effect, etc. , of the certificate of the Director of the Central Food Laboratory,
(3.) THE standard that tea has to satisfy Is prescribed by A. 14 in Appendix B of the prevention of Food Adulteration Rules. A. 14 is as follows: "tea means tea derived exclusively from the leaves, buds and tender stems oil plants of the Camellia genus and tea species. It shall conform to the following specifications: (a) Total ash determined on tea dried to 5. 0 to 8. 0 per cent constant weight at 10000. (b) Total ash soluble in boiling distilled water. Not less than 40. 0 per cent of total ash. (c) Ash insoluble In HCL. Not more per cent. than 1. 0 extract obtained by boiling dry tea (dried at not less than 85 per (d) constant weight at 10000.) with l00 parts cent. of distilled water for one hour under reflux. (e)Alkalinity of soluble ash. Not less than 1. 8 pet cent. and not more than 2per cent, expressed as K2o. Not more than 10 per (f) Crude fibre. cent. It shall not contain any added colouring matter. " ex. P6, the report of the Food Analyst, discloses: "microscopic examination; The sample consists of tea only. Total ash determined On tea dried to the constant weight at 8. 0 per cent 1000c. Alkalinity of soluble ash. 2. 0 per cent as K20 water soluble ash. 61. 6 per cent of the total ash. Ash insoluble in HCL. 0. 2 per cent. Crude fibre. 11. 2 per cent. Aqueous extract ob. tained by boiling dry Sample (dried to constant weight at 1000c) With 85. 5 per cent. hundred parts of distilled water for one hour under reflux. A non-permitted orange coat-tar present. dye. and (I) am of the opinion that the said sampl" doea not conform to the standards prescribed for tea under the Prevention of Food Adul. teration Rules, 1955, and is therefore adulterated. I am further of opinion that the sample contains coal-tar dye. The addition of coal-tar dye to tea is prohibited as per clause A. 14 Appendix B of prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955. " the relevant portion of the certificate issued by the Director of the central Food Laboratory (Ex. C1) shows: ''total ash (on dry Weight basis ). 8. 7 per cent. Ash soluble in boiling distilled water. 82. 9 pec cent, of total ash. Ash insoluble in HCL. 1-7 per cent. Alkalinity of soluble ash. 1. 15 per cent, as K2o. Hot water extract (on dry weight 81. 8 per cent basis ). Crude fibre. 18. 4 pee cent. Added colouring matter. Absent. Microscopic examination. Structures other than tea are absent. Opinion : The sample of tea is adulterated. " i have quoted the above extracts in extenso as I feel that, for a proper appreciation of the discussion hereinafter, the extracts are essential.;
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