Decided on July 03,1974

Seetharam Rice And Oil Mills Respondents


S.K. Kader, J. - (1.) These criminal appeals, revision petitions and the criminal miscellaneous petition raise certain points of great importance relating to the scope of and procedure contemplated under Section 20-A of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, which will hereinafter be referred to, for brevity, the Act.
(2.) The points which fall for determination are: (i) What is the scope of Section 20-A, of the Act; and (ii) What is the procedure to be followed in the matter of trial of a case coming under this section. In other words, does this section envisage a joint trial of the vendor along with the manufacturer, distributor or the dealer of any article of food.
(3.) The relevant and material facts necessary for the disposal of these criminal appeals, revisions and miscellaneous petition can be stated in a short compass: Cri. Appeals Nos. 222,223 and 225 to 227 of 1973 are directed against the acquittals of the vendors in these cases; the appellant in all these cases being the Food Inspector attached to the Palghat Municipality. The Food Inspector, the complainant in these cases, purchased gingelly oil from the original accused in these cases, after complying with the due formalities prescribed under the Act. for the purpose of analysis. The sample purchased was found to be adulterated. The vendors were thereupon put on trial for offences punishable under Section 16(1)(a)(i) read with Section 7 of the Act. In the course of trial, when the vendors (the original accused) were examined in their respective cases under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, they pleaded that the article sold by them to the Food Inspector was covered by a written warranty and sought protection under Section 19(2) of the Act. On entering upon their defence, they adduced evidence in support of their plea. Invoices and the written warranties said to be issued were marked on their side. The respective manufacturers, distributors or the dealers, who sold these articles of food and issued the warranties to the vendors were also examined as defence witnesses. Thereafter, on applications filed in each of these cases by the Food Inspector, the learned Magistrate on being satisfied on the evidence on record that the manufacturers, distributors or the dealers of the articles of food who sold these articles and issued the respective warranties, were concerned with the offence, impleaded them in the respective cases as additional accused and acquitted the vendors, the original accused. Respondents 3 to 6 (accused 3 to 6) in Cri. Appeals Nos. 222, 223 and 225 of 1973 and respondents 3 to 5 (accused 3 to 5) in Cri. Appeals Nos. 226 and 227 of 1973 are respectively the newly added accused, by invoking Section 20A of the Act. The complainant, the Food Inspector, in these cases has come up in appeal, being aggrieved by the orders of acquittal. Crl. R.P. Nos. 356, 398, 396, 394 and 395 of 1973 are those filed by the abovementioned respondents in these appeals' challenging the orders of impleadment in these respective cases.;

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