Decided on August 28,1963



V.B.RAJU - (1.) This is an appeal by the State against the acquittal of the respondent who was prosecuted under secs. 16(1)(a) and 7(v) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. The respondent runs a restaurant in Nadiad called Manmohan Restaurant . He sold 1 1/2 seers of adultered Dahi (curd) to the complainant the Food Inspector of Nadiad Borough Municipality in the presence of Panchas and on analysis it was found to contain 502 fat deficiency. It was proved by the prosecution and admitted by the accused that the complainant Food Inspector had come with the Panchas to his restaurant and that he had asked for a sample of Dahi. He also admitted that the Food Inspector had given Ex. 15 to him and that after giving Ex. 15 the complainant had purchased 1 1/2 seers of Dahi from him and divided it into three parts. The respondent also admitted that the Food Inspector gave one of the parts of the sample of Dahi to him. The accused further admitted that he was given the price of Dahi and the receipt is Ex. 16. In the face of these admissions the learned Magistrate acquitted the respondent on the ground that the respondent had not stored Dahi for sale but for preparing Lachhi. The learned Magistrate relied on Narandas v. The State A. I. R. 1962 Allahabad 82and referred to the observations of that High Court that if the storage is not for sale a mother who keeps milk diluted with water for feeding her infant child or giving it to an ailing child would commit an offence of storing adulterated food. For these reasons the learned Magistrate acquitted the respondent. Hence this appeal by the State.
(2.) The word adulterated is defined in sec. 2 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act which will hereinafter be referred to as the Act. Section 10 of the Act gives powers to the Food Inspector to take samples of any article of food from any person selling such articles or from any person who is in the course of conveying delivering or preparing to deliver such article to a purchaser or consignee or from a consignee after delivery of any such article to him. The Food Inspector has no power of taking samples of any article of food unless it discovered by these three clauses to the respondent was not selling Dahi but was merely selling Lachhi the Food Inspector had no power to take the sample of Dahi which according to the respondent was stored by him for the purpose of converting it into Lachhi. If really the Dahi of which 1 1/2 seers was sold by the respondent to the Food Inspector was not intended for sale the Food Inspector had no power of taking a sample of that article and the respondent should have refused to give him the sample. In fact the respondent says that he had sold 1 1/2 seers of Dahi after receiving the notice Ex. 15from the Food Inspector. By Ex. 15 the Food Inspector clearly told the respondent that he was taking a sample of Dahi for the purpose of analysing under the Act. After having received Ex. 15 the respondent sold 1 1/2 seers of Dahi to the Food Inspector.
(3.) Section 7 of the Act reads as follows:-- "No person shall himself or by any person on his behalf manufacture for sale. Or store sell or distribute- (i) any adulterated food; (ii) any misbranded food; (iii) any article of food for the sale of which a licence is prescribed except in accordance with the conditions of the licence (iv) any article of food the sale of which is for the time being prohibited by the Food (Health) Authority with a view to preventing the outbreak or spread of infectious diseases; or (iv) any article of food in contravention of any other provision of this Act or of any rule made threreunder. It is contended by the learned counsel for the respondent that the respondent had stored Dahi for conversion to Lachhi and not for sale and it is contended that storage (in sec. 7 of the Act) must mean only storage of articles intended for sale and he has relied upon The Public Prosecutor v. Kandasamy A I.R. 1959 Madras 333 and A.I.R. 1962 Allahabad82 (supra). But sec. 7 of the Act uses the words manufacture for sale or store sell or distribute. The word storeis not qualified by the words store for sale . Although the words for sale are used after word manufacture they are not used after the word store in the same clause. The Legislature did not use the expression manufacture or store for sale sell or distribute.In the Allahabad case the following observations are made:-- "Mixtures commonly made of different articles of food for domestic use would come within the definition of the term adulterated. Milk diluted with water for purposes of feeding infants and patients would also come within the definition of adulterated. The verb store is a word of general import. It means to keep or lay up for future use. If a mother keeps milk diluted with water for feeding her infant child or to administer it to an ailing child it will amount to storing of adulterated milk. To treat such an act on the part of the mother as an offence will certainly lead to an absurdity It is a well recognised rule of interpretation that endeavour should be made to avoid any absurdity in the interpretation of a section. Under section 7 manufacture of adulterated food is not prohibited. What is prohibited is its manufacture for sale. There appears no reason why manufacture of adulterated food should be treated differently from its storage. The expression or store is preceded by the words manufacture for sale and is followed by sell. Therefore the context in which stores is used indicates that it means storing for sale. It must be read as taking colour from the expression manufacture for sale and sell with which it is associated in the section.;

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