PFA- Delhi District Court – Substandard Mustard Oil – Vijaypal Nagpal Vs State – Nov 18-2016

                                         

          IN THE COURT OF SH. RAKESH PANDIT,
ASJ-01, NEW DELHI DISTRICT, PATIALA HOUSE COURTS, NEW
                         DELHI

CA No. 8407/16


Vijay Pal Nagpal
Proprietor of M/s Vijay Store
Shop No. 4 Main Road,
Shalimar Village,
Delhi-110052                                                             ....Appellant

                                                  Vs.

The State (Govt of NCT of Delhi)
Through Director of PFA Deptt.
Now Commissioner Food Safety
A-20, Lawrence Road, Industrial Area,
Delhi.                                                               .... Respondent


     Date of receiving of Appeal                      :        03.02.2014
     Date of arguments                                :        18.11.2016
     Date of judgment                                 :        18.11.2016


                                  JUDGEMENT

1 By this judgment I will dispose of appeal u/sec.374 Cr.PC. filed on behalf of Vijay Pal Nagpal against the judgment dated 20.09.2013 and order on sentence dated 09.01.2014 passed by Sh. Balwant Rai Bansal, the then Ld. ACMM-II, Patiala House Court, New Delhi.   

The brief facts of the case as per record and from trial court record are that accused is running an establishment namely M/s Vijay Store, at shop no. 4, Main Road, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi-52. On 28.01.1999 at about 7.00 p.m. Food Inspector Sh. B. P. Saroha visited the said place and purchased 3 sealed bottles of half liter each of “Mustard Oil” (ready for sale) from accused. FI was accompanied with SDM/LHA Sh. Ajay Gupta. The said Mustard Oil was purchased for the purposes of analysis under PFA Act. The same sample was divided into three parts, packed as per Rules of PFA. Panchanama was prepared. One sample was sent for analysis to Public Analyst. As per the report of Analyst, sample did not confirm to the standard because “The sample does not conform to standard laid down under item no. A17.06 of appendix B of PFA Rules, 1955 because Iodine value is more than the maximum prescribed limit of 112 saponification value is more than maximum prescribed limit of 177 and BTT is less ten the minimum prescribed limit of 23C.”

3 As the sample was failed, prosecution was launched by Food Inspector by filing complaint dated 07.03.2000 with the court. Accused was summoned. He has exercised his right u/sec.13(2) PFA Act and get the sample analyzed by CFL. CFL reported that “The sample conforms to the standard.”

However, during investigation, it was found that there is a label declaration on the said bottles giving misleading information as   the manufacturer, was not found at the address mentioned on the label and thus the label was found to be fake and fictitious. Accused Vijay had also taken plea that he purchased these bottles from M/s V. K. Trading Company with proprietor Sh. Vijender Kumar Gupta. So, both were made accused in the complaint. However, vide statement dated 08.08.3013, counsel for accused Vijay Pal Nagpal had forgone his defence u/sec.19(2) PFA Act.

4 Notice was framed against accused u/sec.2(ix) (b) (e) &

(h) read with sec.7 of PFA Act, 1954 punishable u/sec.16(1a) of PFA Act.

5 After trial, vide judgment dated 20.09.2013 accused Vijay Pal Nagpal was convicted for offence u/sec.16(1a) of PFA Act and vide order on sentence dated 09.01.2014 was directed to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of 6 months and fine of Rs.1,000/- and in default of payment of fine SI of 10 days.

Accused Vijender Kumar Gupta was acquitted.

6 In this appeal, the accused has assailed the judgment on the following grounds:-

(i) Accused is not the manufacturer of the bottle or the mustard oil, so he cannot know about the address of the manufacturer.

(ii) The oil was found to be as per standard.

(iii) After coming into Food Safety & Standards Act, the punishment is to be granted under the said Act.

7 No reply was filed by respondent/state and the matter was argued orally.

8 I have gone through the record, Trial Court record and have heard the submissions of Ld. counsel for appellant and Ld. SPP for State.

9 It is argued by counsel for appellant that accused is not the manufacturer of the bottle or the mustard oil, so he cannot know about the address of the manufacturer. It is further argued that the alleged firm i.e. M/s Mohit Oil Mill might have started the business at the said address and then closed the same and due to that reason, it was not found at the time of visit of FI. As far as this argument is concerned, the same argument was raised before the Ld. Trial Court. The same was dealt by the trial court from para 18, 22 to 27 of the judgment. As far as opinion/finding of the trial court regarding this argument is concerned, I do not find any infirmity in those findings and the same are upheld and the arguments regarding this fact does not find any force and thus rejected.

So, in these circumstances, I do not find any ground for change/modification of Trial Court’s judgment, on merits. So, the finding of the trial court with respect to the conviction of accused u/sec2(ix) (e) & (h) of PFA Act 1954 read with Sec.16(1a) of PFA Act, is upheld.

10 It is submitted by Ld. counsel for appellant that on the date of judgment/order on sentence, the PFA Act, 1954 was  repealed. It is further stated that the court should have passed the order on sentence as per the quantum/punishment mentioned in Food and Safety Standards Act, 2006 (hereinafter called FSSA). For this purpose, Ld. counsel for appellant had relied on Judgment i.e. Nemi Chand Vs. State of Rajasthan (Crl. Appeals No. 214 and 215 of 2016, vide order dated 10.03.2016, as corrected vide order dated 17.03.2016, as reported in 2016 (1) FAC 203) of Hon. Supreme Court and earlier judgment T Barai Vs. Henry, 1983 (1) SCC 177.

11 On the other hand, it is argued by Ld. SPP for State that the sentencing cannot be done in new Act since the definition of many offences are changed in the new Act including this particular offence of which accused is charged. Definition of major offences like “adulteration” and “misbranding” have been changed. Now FSSA have definition “substandard food”, “food containing extraneous matter”, “unsafe food” and “misbranded food”. Due to this reason, the ingredients have changed and thus there is no way in which the old offences could be related to new offences.

12 As far as the objection of Ld. SPP for State is concerned, in the present case, the offence was that the article/food i.e. Mustard Oil was found having misleading label declaration on its bottle. This was termed as misbranding in view of Sec.2(ix) of PFA Act and thus consequently punishable u/sec.16(1a) of PFA Act. The charge/notice was framed with these facts.

 13 Now in the FSSA, such adulteration is termed as “misbranding food” in terms of Sec.3(zf) of FSSA Act punishable u/sec.52 of FSSA.

So, if we go through both these provisions of law, a particular offence with a particular fact is mentioned with some other name but with same ingredients in the new FSSA Act.

14 Hence, it is held that it is the ingredients which constitute an offence, determines that whether it is the same offence but with new name or an altogether different offence. Here the offence i.e. Mustard Oil having misleading label declaration on its bottle which was punishable u/sec.16(1a) PFA Act is similar to the offence u/sec.52 of FSSA Act.

15 As far as the application of Nemi Chand judgment (supra) is concerned, the same is based on the old judgment i.e. T. Barai (supra) of Hon. Supreme Court. The relevant portion of the T. Barai judgment is as follows:-

(Para 25) – It is settled both on authority and principle that when a later statute again describes an offence created by an earlier statute and imposes a different punishment, or varies the procedure, the earlier statute is repealed by implication. In Michell v. Brown [(1958) 120 ER 909, 912: 32 LTOS 146 : 7 WR 80] Lord Campbell put the matter thus:

“It is well settled rule of construction that, if a later statute again describes an offence created by a former statute and affixes a different punishment, varying the procedure, the earlier statute is repealed by the later statute; see also Smith v. Benabo [(1937) 1 All  ER 523: (1937) 1 KB 518: 156 LT 194] .

In Regina v. Youle [(1861) 158 ER 311, 315-16: 4 LT 299: 9 WR 637] , Martin, B. said in the oft-quoted passage:

“If a statute deals with a particular class of offences, and a subsequent Act is passed which deals with precisely the same offences, and a different punishment is imposed by the later Act, I think that, in effect, the legislature has declared that the new Act shall be substituted for the earlier Act.”

The rule is however subject to the limitation contained in Article 20(1) against ex post facto law providing for a greater punishment and has also no application where the offence described in the later Act is not the same as in the earlier Act i.e. when the essential ingredients of the two offences are different.

Moreover this particular aspect is stated as a illustration in the same judgment in para 23 which is as follows:-

To illustrate, if Parliament were to reenact Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and provide that the punishment for an offence of murder shall be sentence for imprisonment for life instead of the present sentence of death or imprisonment for life, then it cannot be that the courts would still award a sentence of death even in pending cases.

So, in these circumstances, it can be safely said that while considering on the point of sentence, the quantum of sentence in new Act i.e. FSSA is to be considered.

16 Now according to my aforesaid reasoning the offence i.e. Mustard Oil having misleading label declaration on its bottle, earlier  punishable u/sec.16(1a) of PFA Act is to be considered as an offence u/sec.52 of FSSA Act for the purposes of awarding punishment. The maximum punishment u/sec.52 FSSA Act is penalty which may extend to Rs. 3 lakhs.

17 It is submitted by Ld. counsel for appellant that appellant is a small time shopkeeper. He has suffered the long pendency of trial and a respectable person of society and has family. So, lenient view be taken.

18 Opposed by Ld. SPP for State on the ground that the long duration of trial cannot be a ground for leniency.

19 I have gone through the rival contentions on this aspect.

20 After going through the entire arguments in this regard, it is directed that accused/appellant Vijay Pal Nagpal is directed to pay fine of Rs.5,000/- (Rupees Five Thousand only) with the Trial Court. In default of payment of fine, he is directed to undergo SI of 15 days.

21 Fine be deposited within 30 working days.

22 Fine already deposited with the trial court be adjusted.

23 Bail Bond u/sec.437A Cr.P.C. be furnished within 7 working days.

24          TCR be sent back with copy of the order.


25       Copy of order be given dasti.

26       File of appeal be consigned to Record Room.



ANNOUNCED In the open Court                        (RAKESH PANDIT)
today i.e. 18.11.2016                         ASJ-01/New Delhi District
                                           Patiala House Courts/New Delhi

18.11.2016


Present:     Sh. R. K. Sharma counsel with appellant.
             Sh. A. K. Mishra Ld. SPP for State.

             Arguments on appeal heard.

             Put up for order today itself.

                                                  (Rakesh Pandit)
                                            ASJ-01/PHC/New Delhi District
                                                    18.11.2016
At 3.00 p.m.
Present:     Sh. R. K. Sharma counsel with appellant.
             Sh. A. K. Mishra Ld. SPP for State.

Vide separate judgment the appeal filed by the appellant is disposed off. Accused/appellant Vijay Pal Nagpal is directed to pay fine of Rs.5,000/- (Rupees Five Thousand only) with the Trial Court. In default of payment of fine, he is directed to undergo SI of 15 days.

Fine be deposited within 30 working days.

Fine already deposited with the trial court be adjusted.

Compliance report be sent by trial court to this court.

Bail Bond u/sec.437A Cr.P.C. be furnished within 7 working days.

TCR be sent back with copy of the order.

Copy of order be given dasti.

File of appeal be consigned to Record Room.

(Rakesh Pandit) ASJ-01/PHC/New Delhi District 18.11.2016  

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