STATE OF KERALA Vs. RAMESH PRABHU
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
STATE OF KERALA
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(1.) These references have been made by the Sessions Judge of Tellichery against the order of discharge entered by the District Magistrate, Tellicherry in C. C. Nos. 160, 161 and 163 of 1966 respectively on the file of that court. In two of these cases the first accused is the same and in the third one it is another trading Corporation at Bombay; but the second accused in all these cases are different persons. They are stated to have purchased from the first accused at Bombay some lack dhall intended for sale at Cannanore. In all, 85 bags were despatched from Bombay in the vessel 'Mubarak' and the entire 85 bags arrived at Cannanore. The Food Inspector, Cannanore getting information that adulterated lac dhall had been brought in the vessel, went to the Port and seized the bags with the help of the Customs Collector. Out of the 85 bags, ten bags were intended for the second accused in C. C. 160/66; 25 bags for the second accused in C. C. 161/66 and the remaining 50 bags, for the 2nd accused in C. C. 163/66. Before the articles could fall actually in the hands of the respective purchasers they were seized by the Food Inspector and the case was charged against these accused and the sellers at Bombay who are the first accused.
(2.) The contention raised by the first accused was that the bags were despatched by mistake. The order placed by the respective purchasers was for toor dhall but by mistake lac dhall was despatched. The first accused, also stated that the sale having been completed at Bombay, the Tellicherry court has no jurisdiction to try the case. The 2nd accused in all these cases stated that what was ordered by them was toor dhall and not lac dhall. The learned District Magistrate discharged the accused holding that since the sale had taken place at Bombay he has no jurisdiction so far as the first accused are concerned, and in respect of the 2nd accused the learned Magistrate held that since there is no evidence to show that the article was stored by them for sale no offence has been committed by them.
(3.) The learned Sessions Judge in making the preference has pointed out that the District Magistrate has gone wrong on both the points; firstly, in respect of the jurisdiction and secondly in respect of his finding regarding the second accused. The learned Sessions Judge himself could have passed an effective order and sent back the case for further enquiry if he was satisfied that the order of discharge passed by the District Magistrate is wrong. But relying on certain passages of Sohoni's commentaries on the Criminal Procedure Code, he has made the reference thinking that a question of jurisdiction is involved in the matter. Whatever that be, I do not see any point in the reference. The accused have rightly been discharged by the learned District Magistrate. The fact that the sale was held at Bombay is not disputed. So, no action can be taken against the first accused by the Food Inspector at Cannanore. In the matter of the 2nd accused, for the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act to come into, play it is mandatory that the article in question should be manufactured, stored or distributed for sale. No question of any manufacture could come in the present case. There cannot be any case of storage or distribution also. Storage or distribution if at all, must be for sale. Storage simpliciter is not an offence and it has been held so in a series of decisions some of which are 1958 KLT 983 , AIR 1960 AP 366, AIR 1962 Allahabad 82, AIR 1954 All. 199 and AIR 1967 Punjab 132. The article in question, before it passed on to the custody of the 2nd accused was taken possession of by the Food Inspector. There was, therefore, no occasion for storing for any purpose by the second accused much less for sale. In this view of the matter, the order of discharge entered by the District Magistrate is correct and no interference is called for. These references are hence rejected.;
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