GHASIRAM LACHMINARAYAN AND CO. AND OTHERS Vs. THE CORPORATION OF CALCUTTA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Ghasiram Lachminarayan And Co. And Others
The Corporation Of Calcutta
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Raghubar Dayal, J. -
(1.)This is an appeal by Messrs Ghasiram Lachmin-arayan and Co. and its five partners, by special leave, against the order of the Calcutta High Court maintaining their conviction by the Municipal Magistrate, Calcutta, of an offence under Sec. 462 read with Sec. 537 of the Calcutta Municipal Act, 1951 (West Bengal Act XXXIII of 1951), hereinafter called the Act.
(2.)Sri Khandelwal Oil Mills sent mustard oil in tank wagon No. 37250 on Dec. 12, 1954 from Delhi Sahadara to Calcutta. The wagon reached Calcutta on Dec. 22, 1954, and the partners of the firm appellant No. 1 took delivery of the tank wagon at about 1 p.m , that day. At 2.15 p.m. Dr. B.K. Das, Food Inspector, Calcutta Corporation, took sample of the oil. At the time, Damodar Khandelwal, an employee of the appellant firm, was present and in fact received the price of the oil taken for sample by the Food Inspector. This oil was found to be adulterated by the Public Analyst for the City of Calcutta. The appellants were, thereafter, prosecuted and convicted by the Municipal Magistrate, of the offence under Sec. 462 read with Sec. 537 of the Act. It is not disputed for the appellants that the mustard oil in this tank wagon was adulterated. It was not disputed before the Courts below that they were in possession of the tank wagon when the sample was taken by the Food Inspector. But it has been urged before us that the appellants, even though they had taken delivery of the tank wagon from the railway authorities, were not in possession of it as they had no control over the oil in the wagon. It was further contended for the appellants in the Courts below that they did not store the oil for sale because there was an arrangement between the Deputy Commissioner of the Enforcement Branch of Police and the U.P. Oil Millers' Association, Calcutta, of which the appellant firm was not a member, that after the arrival of a tank wagon containing mustard oil in Calcutta, the consignees would inform the Enforcement Branch, through the U.P. Oil Millers' Association, and that the Enforcement Branch would, in cooperation with the Calcutta Corporation, take samples of the oil and that till the report of the Analyst showed that the oil was pure mustard oil, it would not be offered for sale. It is contended that such an arrangement rebutted the presumption that arose under sub-s. (4) of Sec. 462 of the Act, on the basis of the appellants' being in possession of the oil and being in the habit of storing oil for sale, and that therefore the conviction of the appellants for storing adulterated mustard oil for sale, cannot be sustained.
(3.)The appellants were in possession of the tank wagon and the oil contained in it, after they had taken delivery of the tank wagon from the railway authorities. They had full control over its contents and it was by virtue of this control that they allowed the Food Inspector to take sample of the oil from the tank wagon. We therefore see no force in the contention that the appellants were not in possession of the oil in the tank wagon.
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