STATE OF GUJARAT Vs. NANUPRASAD KHEMCHAND SHARMA
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
STATE OF GUJARAT
Nanuprasad Khemchand Sharma
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A.M. Ahmadi, J. -
(1.) We shall proceed to deal with the grounds which appealed to the learned Extra Additional Sessions Judge, Baroda, in coming to the conclusion that there had been a breach of the provisions of the Act and the Rules framed thereunder which entitled the accused to an acquittal. Section 13(1) of the Act provides that the Public Analyst shall deliver, in such form as may be prescribed, a report to the Local (Health) Authority of the result of the analysis of any article of food submitted to him for analysis. "Prescribed" according to section 2 (xii) means'prescribed by rules made under the Act'. Rule 7(1) of the Rules, lays down that on receipt of a package containing a sample for analysis from a food inspector or any other person, the Public Analyst or an officer authorised by him shall compare the seals on the container and the outer cover with specimen impression received separately and shall note the condition of the seals thereon. Rule 7(3) next provides that after the analysis has been completed, he shall send to the person concerned two copies of the report of the result of such analysis in Form III within a period of forty five days of the receipt of the sample. On a combined reading of s. 13(1) and 7(3) it becomes obvious that the report to be delivered by the Public Analyst must be in Form 111 so as to conform with the requirements of the statute. In the instant case it is clear that the report ex. 27 is in Form III prescribed under rule 7 (3) of the Rules. Sub-section (5) of section 13 next provides that any document purporting to he a report signed by a public analyst, maybe used as evidence of the facts stated therein in any proceeding under the Act. On a plain reading of this sub-section there can be no doubt that a report signed by a Public Analyst can be tendered and admitted in evidence of the facts stated therein in any proceeding under the Act, provided that said report is in the prescribed form. The plain language of sub-section (5) of section 13 does not warrant an inference that the intention of the legislature was to limit the admissibility of the report to the result of the analysis as no such words of limitation are to be found in the said provision. Besides, rule 7(1) of the Rules in terms enjoins upon the Public Analyst or an officer authorised by him to compare the seals on the container and the outer cover with the specimen impression received separately and to note the condition of the seals thereon. This obligation cast on the Public Analyst would be rendered meaningless unless he is required to record the same. That is why Form III prescribed under rule 7(3) requires the Public Analyst to certify that the sample was properly sealed and fastened and that he found the seal intact and unbroken and further that the seal on the container tallied with the specimen impression of the seal separately sent to him. What is made admissible in evidence under sec. 13(5) are the facts stated in the report of the Public Analyst. If the certificate regarding the condition of the seals as is required to be given under Form III is exclude from evidence as held by the lower appellate court, in every proceeding under the Act the Public Analyst would be required to be examined as a witness thus defeating the very purpose for which the provision regarding admissibility of the report was made. In order that the entire report is admissible in evidence it must be in the prescribed form. There is no reason why we should limit the meaning of the expression "the facts stated therein" to only the result of the analysis so as to exclude the certificate regarding the condition of the seals which the Public Analyst is under an obligation to issue under rule 7(1) read with rule 7(3) of the Rules. We see no valid reason to place such a narrow construction on the language of sec. 13(5) of the Act. We are, therefore, of the opinion that the learned Extra Additional Sessions Judge was not right in taking the view that the expression "the facts stated therein" used in sub-section (5) of section 13 must be confined to the result of the analysis contained in the report and nothing more.
(2.) In Ram Dayal v. Municipal Corporation of Delhi and another, 1974 FAC 300, the Supreme Court made the following observations:
"Where certificates are not made final and conclusive evidence of the facts stated therein, it will be open to the party against whom certificates which are declared to be sufficient evidence, either to rebut the facts stated therein by his own or other evidence or to require the expert to be produced for cross-examination which prayer the court is bound to consider on merits in granting or rejecting it. There is no presumption that the contents are true or correct though such certificate is evidence without formal proof."
A Division Bench consisting of D.P. Desai and C.V. Rane, JJ. in Mangilal Chamnali v. State 1975 (1) FAC 92, had an occasion to deal with the scope of sub-section (5) of sec. 13 of the Act. It was observed that subsection (5) of sec. 11 dispenses with the formal proof of the contents of the report and the proof of the signature of the Public Analyst thereon. It was said that the prosecution was not debarred from proving the result of the examination of the report by the Public Analyst in any other manner. In view of this decision of the Division Bench, with which we are in respectful agreement, and having regard to the language of sub-sec. (5) of section 13 of the Act, we do not think that the view taken by the lower appellate court can be sustained.
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