Procedural Law

Evidentiary Weight when witness dies after examination in chief

Comment : This case is a preposition for “When a witness after his examination in chief dies – and hence could not be cross examined – his evidence does not ipso facto become inadmissible and washed off the record – it still can be considered though of little weight”
Kerala High Court
Food Inspector vs James N.T. And Anr. on 10 November, 1997
Equivalent citations: 1998 (1) ALT Cri 221, 1998 CriLJ 3494
Author: K M Shafi
Bench: K M Shafi

JUDGMENT

K.A. Mohamed Shafi, J.

1. The complainant-Food Inspector has preferred this appeal challenging the judgment of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thodupuzha dated 28-2-1994 in C.C. No. 57/ 1989 acquitting the accused.

2. Two accused persons, father and son were prosecuted for the offences punishable under Sections 2 (ia) (a), (f), (m) and 7 (i) read with Section 16 (1) (a) (i) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and Rule 5 appendix B, A. 18.06 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules alleging that at 10.40 a.m. on 13-2-1987 they being the licensee and salesman of the shop conducted in door No. 17/3 of Kumaramangalam Panchayath exhibited for sale insect infested peas dhal unfit for human consumption and as such they committed the offences alleged against them.

3. That complaint preferred by the Food Inspector, Thodupuzha Circle, Idukki district was taken on file by the Court as C.C. 57/89 and proceeded with the trial of the case as in a warrant case instituted otherwise than on a police report and after examining some of the witnesses framed charge against the accused who are the respondents herein. Admittedly the respondents are father and son and while the. father was the licensee of the shop the son was salesman, the lower Court after trial found that the prosecution has not succeeded in establishing that the respondents have committed the offences alleged against them and therefore they were acquitted and set at liberty by the impugned judgment.

4. Even though the then Food Inspector who purchased peas dhal from the respondents for the purpose of sampling, sent the sample for analysis and filed the above complaint after receipt of the analysis report to the effect that the sample was insect infested and unfit for human consumption, was examined as PW1 before the lower Court prior to the framing of the charge against the respondr ts, he was not cross-examined at that stage and his cross-examination was deferred by the counsel for the respondents. But after the framing of charge PW 1 expired and the respondents had no opportunity to cross-examine him. Though the prosecution contended that eveni though PW 1 was not cross-examined, his evidence has to be considered by the trial Court along with the other evidence adduced by the prosecution to establish the guilt of the respondents, the lower Court held that since PW1 was not available for cross-examination by the accused in this case, his evidence cannot be relied upon. After eschewing the evidence of PW 1 the lower Court; found that the other evidence on record is insufficient to prove that the respondents have committed the offences alleged against them.

5. The case of the prosecution is that on 13-2-1987 at about 10.40 a.m. PW1 along with PW2. the Peon in his office after informing his identity purchased 750 gms. of peas dhal exhibited for sale from the shop of the respondents for the purpose of analysis by paying the price and sampled the same in accordance with law and sent for chemical analysis and after analysis PW5 the Public Analyst sent his report Ext. P9 to the effect that the sample did not conform to the standard prescribed for peas dhal under the provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and it was insect infested and unfit for human consumption.

6. As already noted PW 1 the Food Inspector died after examination-in-chief and there was no opportunity to cross-examine him. PW2 who is the Peon in the office of PW1 has narrated in detail with regard to the purchase of peas dhal from the shop of the respondents for analysis, sampling etc. by PW1. PW3, the owner of the shop room in which the respondents were conducting the trade has also deposed about the purchase of the article for analysis, sampling etc. by PW 1. PW4 the successor-in-office of PW 1 has deposed in conformity with the evidence of PWs. 1 and 2 and the various documents produced in this case from his office are proved and marked through him. PW5 is the Public Analyst and PW6 is the District Food Inspector who is the local health authority in this case.

7. The Public Prosecutor vehemently argued that the evidence of PW1 along with the other evidence available on record in this case conclusively proved the offence alleged against the respondents and the lower Court is in manifest error in discarding the evidence of PW1 on the sole ground that there was no opportunity to the accused to cross-examine him. He argued that unlike in other cases generally in which the evidence of a witness who was not subjected for cross-examination, cannot be relied upon, in this case even though PW1 was available for cross-examination without subjecting him to cross-examination after his examination-in-chief, it was deferred by the respondents and unfortunately he expired before the respondents could get an opportunity to cross-examine him. Therefore, according to him since the failure of cross-examination of PW1 was due to his untimely demise prior to his cross-examination before the lower Court, his evidence is acceptable as the evidence of any other witnesses and the only question to be considered is regarding the veracity of his evidence.

8. In support of the contention that the evidence of a witness who died before cross-examination is admissible, the learned Public Prosecutor relied upon the decision in Ahmad Ali v. Joti Prasad AIR (31) 1944 All 188 (2): (1944 All LJ 182) wherein a Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court has observed as follows (at page 190 of AIR):

The plaintiffs had a commission issued to one Raj Bahadur Mathur, who went to the place and counted and measured every stump which he could find. They also produced a witness called Wazir Singh who was employed by them and who gave evidence about the number of trees which had been cut down by the defendants. Unfortunately this witness died before he could be cross-examined and it is urged on behalf of the defendants-appellants that his evidence is not admissible. There is certainly no provision in the Evidence Act that the evidence of a witness who has been examined in open Court upon oath shall be excluded because it has not been possible for the other party to cross-examine him the difference between rejecting evidence on the ground that it is legally inadmissible and ignoring it upon the ground that it should not be believed may often be of very little importance in practice but the distinction is important in principle because if the evidence is inadmissible the Court is not entitled to consider it at all whereas if it is admissible the Court must decide on the circumstances of each ease whether any weight should be attached to it. All relevant authority and also the provisions of the Evidence Act would support the proposition that the evidence of a witness in these circumstances is admissible and the Judge who is dealing with it must decide for himself whether he believes the facts stated or does not believe them. I hold therefore that the learned Judge was entitled in this case to take the evidence of Wazir Singh into consideration and that we are not entitled to ignore it although we may, if we choose, think that it is of little value.

9. He also relied upon another decision in Srikishun Jhunjhunwalla v. Emperor AIR (33) 1946 Patna 384 : (47 Cri LJ 614) wherein the Patna High Court has followed the above decision of the Allahabad High Court and held that where a witness dies after examination-in-chief and before cross-examination, his evidence is admissible but the degree of weight to be attached to it depends on the circumstances of the case.

10. The counsel for the respondents submitted that since PW 1 was not available and he could not be subjected to cross-examination, his evidence cannot be looked into for any purpose in this case. The proposition that unless a witness is subjected to cross-examination his evidence cannot be relied upon is well established. In the decision in Shaikh Shurfuraz Mollah v. Shaikh Dhunoo, (1871) 16 Weekly Reporter 257 it was observed as follows :

If a party wishes to give evidence in his own favour, of course it is in his power to come forward like any other witness and subject himself to examination andcross-examination in open Court; but until he has subjected himself to cross-examination, no statement which he may volunteer can be used as any evidence in support of his own case, unless the right, so to use it, has accrued from the deliberate act of his adversary. A party cannot himself determine that his own statement shall be used as evidence in his favour.

11. In the decision in Bhola Ram v. PeariDevi AIR 1962 Patna 168 a Division Bench of the Patna High Court has held that written statement filed by one of the defendants in a suit supporting the plaintiff is of no help to the plaintiff in the absence of his statement on oath on examination in Court.

12. In decision in Passang Lama v. State of Sikkim 1975 Cri LJ 1350 a single Judge of the Sikkim High Court has observed as follows at page 1354 :

Though the accused had wanted to cross-examine PWs.2 and 3 but they were not made available forcross-examination, as summons could not be served on them. Thus a valuable right of the accused as given in Section 256 has been denied to them. The fact that the accused had cross-examined PWs. 2 and 3 before the charge had been framed is no reason to deny the right of cross-examination of the said witnesses after fram-ing the charge. The accused was thus denied the right to cross-examine PW2 and PW3 and their evidence was no legal evidence and could not be relied upon.

13. The general proposition that the evidence of a witness who is not subjected to cross-examination cannot be looked into, cannot be disputed. But the question to be considered in this case is whether the evidence of PW1 who was examined in chief and was not available forcross-examination due to his death in the meanwhile, is admissible in evidence or not. The principles laid down in the decisions relied upon by the counsel for the appellant referred to above clearly establish that the evidence of a witness who could not be subjected to cross-examination due to his death before he could be cross-examined, is admissible in evidence, though the evidentiary value will depend upon the facts and circumstances of the case. Therefore, the lower Court is not at all justified in discarding the evidence of PW1 on the ground that he was not available for cross-examination and therefore, great prejudice will be caused to the respondents if his evidence is accepted.

14. As already noted, apart from PW1, PW2 the Peon in the office of PW1 who accompanied PW 1 at the time of purchase of the article for the purpose of analysis by PW 1 from the respondents, has given evidence corroborating the testimony of PW 1 with regard to the purchase of the article, sampling etc. PW3, who is the owner of the shop room in which the respondents had been conducting trade has also deposed about the purchase of peas dhal by PW1 from the respondents, sampling of the same etc. and the presence of himself and PW2 at that time. PW4, the succes-sor-in-office of PW1 and conversant with the signature of PW1 has given evidence with reference to the documents kept in his office and the documents are proved and marked through him in this case. The lower Court on the basis of the discrepancies in the evidence of PWs.2 and 3 to the effect that while PW2 deposed that himself and PW1 went to the shop of the respondents travelling in a bus, PW3 has deposed that they went there in a jeep; while PW2 deposed that the sampling in this case was done by PW 1, PW3 has deposed that the sampling was done by PW2 and while PWs. 1 and 3 deposed that even though PW 1 asked the persons gathered there to attest the mahazar etc. they did not oblige. PW3 has deposed that they did not ask anybody to do the same. It is pertinent to note that the purchase of the article by PW1 for the purpose of analysis from the shop of the respondents is not disputed by them. PW3 himself has deposed that he has seen PW1 purchasing the article from the shop of the respondents for the purpose of analysis, sampling etc. Therefore, the above discrepancies weighed with the lower Court in the evidence of PWs. 1 and 2 and that of PW3, are of no significance at all in this case and the rejection of the prosecution case on the ground of the above discrepancies in the evidence of PWs. 1 and 2 and that of PW3 cannot be justified.

15. In point No. 1 the lower Court has held that PW1 has purchased 750 gms. of peas dhal from the respondents for chemical examination on 13-2-1987 at 10.40 a.m. In point No. 2 the lower Court has held that on the basis of the evidence of PW5, the Public Analyst and his analysis report Ext.P9 that the peas dhal exhibited for sale in the shop of the respondents was unfit for human consumption due to insect infection. I find those findings arrived at by the lower Court are on proper appreciation of the evidence on record and the challenge against those findings made by the respondents are not at all sustainable.

16. The other ground on which the lower Court found that the prosecution case is not sustainable is want of a proper notice under Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. Section 13(2) of the Act reads as follows :

13(2) On receipt of the report of the result of the analysis under Sub-section (1) to the effect that the article of food is adulterated, the Local (Health) Authority shall, after the institution of prosecution against the person from whom the sample of the article of food was taken and the person, if any, whose name, address and other particulars have been disclosed under Section 14-A, forward, in such manner as may be prescribed, a copy of the report of the result of the analysis to such person or persons, as the case may be, informing such person or persons that if it is so desired, either or both of them may make an application to the Court within a period of ten days from the date of receipt of the copy of the report to get the sample of the article of food kept by the Local (Health) Authority analysed by the Central Food Laboratory.

It is well settled that notice under Section 13(2) of the Act is mandatory and it is a statutory safeguard provided for the accused so that he will get an opportunity to get the second sample of the article kept with the Local (Health) Authority analysed by the Central Food Laboratory in order to disprove the prosecution case. In this case the prosecution has contended that PW6, the Local (Health) Authority has sent the statutory notice under Section 13 (2) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act along with the copy of the analysis report to the respondents and those notices were not accepted by the respondents and under those circumstances the postal authorities returned those notices to PW6 as unclaimed. Exts. PI3 and P14 are the covers with the notices sent by PW6 to the respondents which were returned by the postal authorities with the endorsement ‘unclaimed and returned to sender’.

17. The respondents have contended that they have sold their properties and shifted their residence to Cherupuzha in Kannur district on 12-9-1986 and they had no business and that they were not residing at Thaimattom, Kalloorkad in Kumaramangalam Panchayath during the relevant period as alleged by the prosecution. But as I have already noted, the evidence of PWs. 1, 2 and 3 establishes that the respondents have been conducting business at that time and PW 1 has purchased peas dhal from the shop of the respondents for analysis on 13-2-1987. Apart from the evidence of PW 3 that the respondents have been conducting trade in the shop room belonging to him during the relevant period, the prosecution has produced Exts. PI8 to P20 and examined PW 8 the Executive Officer of Kumaramangalam Panchayath to establish this fact. PW 8 has deposed that the shop room bearing No. IV/3 of Kumaramangalam Panchayath is owned by PW 3 and Exts. P18 and P19 are the two extracts of the registers maintained by the Panchayat evidencing issue of licence under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act to the 2nd respondent for the period 1986-87 to 1987-88. He has also deposed that Ext. P20 is the letter sent by him to the Food Inspector noting the details of the licence to conduct the trade in building bearing door No. IV/3 of Kumaramangalam Panchayat. Therefore, the fact that the respondents had been conducting trade in that building is established with clinching evidence beyond any shadow of doubt.

18. It is also pertinent to note that the summons issued by the lower Court in the above case as well as the notices issued by this Court in this appeal to the respondents on the very same address given in Exts. P13 and P14 notices are personally served upon the respondents. Apart from the contentions raised by the respondents in this case, there is absolutely nothing on record to show that the respondents were not residing in the address mentioned in Exts. P13 and P14 during the relevant time when those notices were sent by PW 6 to the respondents nor to show that they had been residing at Cherupuzha in Kannur district during the relevant period. Therefore, the case of the prosecution that the respondents were residing at the place to which Exts. P13 and P14 were addressed by PW 6 to the respondents, has to be accepted and the contention of the respondents that they were not residing in that address and they had been residing at Cherupuzha in Kannur district during that period has to be rejected.

19. As already noted compliance of the provisions of Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Adulteration Act is mandatory and the non-compliance of the provisions will defeat the valuable right of the accused to get the second sample examined by the Central Food Laboratory. Therefore, the question to be considered in this case is whether there is proper compliance of the provisions of Section 13(2) of the Act by PW 6, the Local Health Authority. As already noted the notices along with the copy of the analysis report by the Public Analyst sent by PW 6 are returned as unclaimed and those covers with the enclosures are marked as Exts. PI 3 and P14.

20. The Public Prosecutor submitted that PW 6 has done everything within his powers to serve the notices under Section 13(2) of the Act upon the respondents by sending them through registered post in the correct address of the respondents and due to the evasive and dilatory tactics of the respondents those notices could not be served by the postman as they did not accept those notices even after intimation regarding those registered letters was given to the respondents. Therefore, according to him there is legal and proper compliance of Section 13(2) of the Act in this case.

21. The counsel for the respondents vehemently argued that there is no compliance of the mandatory provisions of Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act in this case since no notice as contemplated under that provision is served upon the respondents. He also argued that if, in fact, notices were served upon the respondents, they would have certainly taken steps to send the second sample to the Central Food Laboratory for analysis in order to disprove the analysis report filed by the Public Analyst in this case. Therefore, according to him, by the failure of service of the notice as contemplated under Section 13(2) of the Act a very valuable right available to the respondents as provided under that statute is denied to them and it will cause very great prejudice to the respondents in this case. It is true that non-compliance of the provisions of Section 13(2) of the Act will entail very grave prejudice to the accused and that fact alone will entitle them for acquittal in cases of this nature….

22. Once a notice is sent by registered post in the correct address no burden is cast upon the send or the postman to arrange that notice to be served upon the addressee. If a letter is posted prepaid and registered with acknowledgement due or otherwise to the correct address of the addressee and delivered to the post office, there is presumption under Section 27 of the General Clauses Act that the latter is delivered to the addressee. The postman has no authority nor is expected to detain the letter until the addressee chooses to receive the letter, when the postman’ is unable to deliver the letter on his first visit. The postman who gives intimation of the arrival off the letter to the addressee can keep the letter only for a reasonable time and thereafter he has to return the same to the send or. In this case the endorsement in Exts. P13 and P14 shows that in spite of the intimation the respondents did not take delivery of the letter and therefore, it is returned to PW 6, the send or as unclaimed. The prosecution has also produced Ext. P16 letter sent by the Superintendent of Post Offices, Idukki Division to PW 6 on 18-9-1987 stating that the addressees of Exts. P13 and P14 registered letters were out of station at the time of receipt of the registered letters at Kumara-mangalam Post Office and therefore, the articles were kept in deposit for seven days at the Post Office after giving information at the addressee’s house and returned after that period as the addressee did not claim the articles within that period with the remark ‘unclaimed’. Over and above the presumption of legality of the official act done by the postman in this case, Ext. P16 also establishes that in spite of the fact that intimation regarding the arrival of Exts. P13 and P14 letters was given at the house of the respondents, they did not claim the same from the Post Office for seven days and therefore, the letters were returned to PW 6 as unclaimed.

23. If the contention of the respondent that in order to comply with the requirement of Section 13(2) of the Act actual delivery of the notice or deliberate refusal to accept the same by the addressee is necessary, it will lead us to anomalous and very dangerous situations. A cunning and unscrupulous accused can effectively thwart the delivery of the notice to him by staying away from his house for some time knowing the arrival of the notice and get it returned to the sendor as unserved. Under such circumstances constructive notice should be imputed to the addressee. In this connection the decision of the Supreme Court in M/s. Madan & Co. v. Wazir Jaivir Chand AIR1989 SC 630 is very appropriate and to the point. Though in that case the apex Court was considering the validity of notice issued under Sections 11 and 12 of the J & K Houses and Shops Rent Control Act, to the tenant, the principles laid down in that decision are equally applicable to the above case coming under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act since the notice contemplated under Sections 11 and 12 of the J & K Rent Control Act as well as Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act are the in-built safeguards provided in the statute by the legislature in favour of the tenant or the accused, as the case may be, with regard to the proceedings for eviction under the Rent Control Act or the prosecution lodged under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. The nature of service of notice and the correct view to be taken by the Court with regard to the service of notice are clearly and elaborately laid down in para 6 of the judgment by the apex Court. I think it is profitable to reproduce the same which is as follows :

We are of opinion that the conclusion arrived at by the Courts below is correct and should be upheld. It is true that the proviso to Clause (i) of Section 11(1) and the proviso to Section 12(3) are intended for the protection of the tenant. Nevertheless it will be easy to see that too strict and literal a compliance of their language would be impractical and unworkable. The proviso insists that before any amount of rent can be said to be in arrears, a notice has to be served through post. All that a landlord can do to comply with this provision is to post a paid registered letter (acknowledgment due or otherwise) containing the tenant’s correct address. Once he does this and the letter is delivered to the post office, he has no control over it. It is then presumed to have been delivered to the addressee under Section 27 of the General Clauses Act. Under the rules of the post office, the letter is to be delivered to the addressee or a person authorised by him. Such a person may either accept the letter or decline to accept it. In either case, there is no difficulty, for the acceptance or refusal can be treated as a service on and receipt by the addressee. The difficulty is where the postman calls at the address mentioned and is unable to contact the addressee or a person authorised to receive the letter. All that he can then do is to return it to the sender. The Indian Post Office Rules do not prescribe any detailed procedure regarding the delivery of such registered letters. When the postman is unable to deliver it on his first visit, the general practice is for the postman to attempt to deliver it on the next one or two days also before returning it to the sender. However, he has neither the power nor the time to make enquiries regarding the where abouts of the addressee : he is not expected to detain the letter until the addressee chooses to return and accept it; and he is not authorised to affix the letter on the premises because of the assessee’s absence. His reponsibilities cannot, therefore, be equated to those of a process server entrusted with the responsibilities of serving the summons of a Court under O.V. of the C.P.C. The statutory provision has to be interpreted in the context of this difficulty and in the light of the very limited role that the post office can play in such a task. If we interpret the provision as requiring that the letter must have been actually delivered to the addressee, we would be virtually rendering it a dead letter. The letter cannot be served where, as in this case, the tenant is away from the premises for some considerable time. Also, as addressee can easily avoid receiving the letter addressed to him “without specifically refusing to receive it. He can so manipulate matters that it gets returned to the sender with vague endorsements such as ‘not found’, ‘not in station’, ‘addressee has left’ and so on. It is suggested that a landlord, knowing that the tenant is away from station for some reasons, could go through the motions of posting a letter to him which he knows will not be served. Such a possibility cannot be excluded. But, as against this, if a registered letter addressed to a person at his residential address does not get served in the normal course and is returned, it can only be attributed to the addressee’s own conduct. If he is staying in the premises, there is no reason why it should not be served on him. If he is compelled to be away from some time, all that he has to do is to leave necessary instructions with the postal authorities either to detain the letters addressed to him for some time untill he returns or to forward them to the address where he has gone, or to deliver them to some other person authorised by him. In this situation, we have to chose the more reasonable, effective, equitable and practical interpretation and that would be to read the word ‘served’ as ‘sent by post’, correctly and properly addressed to the tenant and the word ‘receipt’ as the tender of the letter by the postal peon at the address mentioned in the letter. No other interpretation, we think, will fit the situation as it is simply not possible for a landlord to ensure that a registered letter sent by him gets served on, or is received by the tenant.

24. In the above case which came up for consideration before the Supreme Court, the registered notice sent by the landlord calling upon the tenant to pay the arrears of rent and terminating the tenancy, was returned by the postal authorities with the endorsement ‘left without address, returned to sender,’. While considering the sufficiency of service of notice under Sections 11 and 12 of the J & K Houses and Shops Rent Control Act and the words ‘served’ and ‘receipt’ occurring in those provisions the apex Court has made the above observations. In that case the postman who tendered the notice to the tenant was examined. In this case before me the postman who attempted to serve Exts. P13 and P14 notices upon the respondents and made the endorsement in Exts. P13 and P14 to the effect ‘unclaimed, returned to sender’, is not examined. But the prosecution has produced Ext. P16 letter sent by the Superintendent of Post Offices, Idukki Division stating that detailed enquiries made in the case revealed that the addressee of the registered letters were out of station at the time of receipt of the registered letters at the Kumaramangalam Post Office and therefore the articles were kept in deposit for seven days at the Post Office after giving information at the addressees’ house and returned after the above period and as the addressees did not claim the articles within that period the remark ‘unclaimed’ was recorded. Therefore, even though the postman who attempted to serve Exts. P13 and P14 letters upon the respondents is not examined, the prosecution has adduced satisfactory evidence in this case to establish that the postman attempted to serve the notices upon the respondents and as they were out of station at that time, he left the intimation in their house and kept the registered letters for seven days and as the respondents did not take delivery of the registered letters within that time they were returned with the endorsement ‘unclaimed’ to PW 6, the sender. Hence adopting the more reasonable, effective, equitable and practical interpretation and reading the word ‘served’ as ‘sent by post’, correctly and properly addressed to the accused and the word ‘receipt’ as tender of the letter by the postal peon at the address mentioned in the letters as laid down by the Apex Court, it has to be held that there is proper service of notices under Section 13(2) of the Act on the respondents in this case. Therefore, the contention of the respondents that there was no proper notice under Section 13(2) of the Act and as such the entire prosecution is vitiated for non-compliance of that mandatory provision of the Act, is absolutely unsustainable. Consequently the finding of the lower Court to the effect that the prosecution has failed to comply with the requirement of Section 13(2) of the Act and the non-compliance of the provisions of Section 13(2) of the Act has prejudiced the respondents is unsustainable.

25. As it is found by the lower Court itself that PW. 1, the Food Inspector has purchased peas dhal exhibited for sale in the shop of the respondents for the purpose of analysis and on analysis it was found that the peas dhal did not conform to the standard prescribed under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and is unfit for human consumption as insect infested and this Court has found that the rejection of the evidence of PW 1 by the lower Court as well as the finding of the lower Court that there is violation of the mandatory provisions of Section 13(2) of the Act due to non-service of the notices with copy of the analysis report on the respondents, are not sustainable and the evidence of PW 1 is admissible in evidence and there is proper service of notice under Section 13(2) of the Act, the finding of the lower Court that the respondents are not guilty of the offences alleged against them and the order of acquittal are not sustainable. It is clear from the evidence on record that the prosecution has established beyond reasonable doubt that the respondents have committed the offences punishable under Sections 2(ia)(a)(f), (m) and 7(i) read with Section 16(1)(a)(i) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and Rule 5 Appendix B, A. 18.06 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules.

Hence in reversal of the finding of the lower Court that the respondents are not guilty, I find that the respondents are guilty of the offences punishable under Sections 2(ia)(a)(f), (m) and 7(i) read with Section 16(1)(a)(i) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act and Rule 5, Appendix B, A. 18.06 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules and convict them and sentence them to undergo imprisonment for six months each and pay a fine of Rs. 1000/- each in default of payment to undergo imprisonment for one month each. Appeal is accordingly allowed.

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