DWARKA NATH & ANR. v. MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF DELHI (AIR 1971 SC 1844)

DWARKA NATH & ANR. v. MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF DELHI

(AIR 1971 SC 1844)

Basic Details of Case: 

  • The Title of the Case is Dwarka Nath & Anr.Municipal Corporation of Delhi[1].The case was decided by The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on 23 April 1971 by the three judges’ bench of VAIDYIALINGAM, C.A.; SIKRI, S.M. (CJ) and RAY, A.N.
  • Relevant Act and Sections– Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 – Sections 23 and 23(1); Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 – Rule 32. This case deals with the matter related to the Doctrine of Ultra Vires, it is a rule according to which delegated legislation should not be ultra vires of the enabling act under which it was made.

 

Facts of the case: 

  • The appellant Dwarka Nath was running the business of ghee naming Mohan ghee company. The labels on tins of the ghee were provided only with the name of the business and the address naming Mohan ghee laboratories, Delhi-5 but the number and the locality of manufacturing establishment where the establishment was located were not given and the batch number and code number was also not provided on the label of tins.

 

  • As the label did not meet the required packing and labeling rules their company was charged by the violation of rule 32(b) and (e) that was made under section 23(1) of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.
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  • According to Section 23(1) of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 Central government has power to frame rules to protect the purchaser from misled and fraud by quantity and quality of the product and according to the rule, 32(e) every label of product should specify the batch number and code number either in Hindi or English and rule 32(b) requires that the name and address of the manufacturer be provided on the label.

 

  • Therefore, the appellants were prosecuted and convicted by the Delhi High Court for the violation of Rule 32 (e), and a token fine of Re. 1 was imposed on them. The appellant Dwarka Prasad moves to the hon’ble supreme court to file a special leave petition against the verdict of Delhi High court.

 

Issue Raised before the Court:

Whether Rule 32(b) and (e) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 is ultra vires of S.23 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.

 

The Argument of the Appellant:

 The learned counsel of the appellant argued on behalf of the Mohan Ghee Company that the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 is concerned with the quantity and quality of food products, and in no way, it is required to provide the address of manufacturing unit. So here rule 32 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 is only related to quantity and quality of food product and requirement of address under rule 32 is beyond the power of parent act.

Similarly, in case of Ibrahim v. Regional Transport Authority[1]the statute authorized the rulemaking power to the transport authority to make rules for the control of transport vehicles here the court declared the rule cannot be frame by the administrative authority to fix sites for the bus stands as it shows excessive power conferred by the enabling act.

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The Argument of the Respondent:

The learned attorney general contended on behalf of the respondent that the rule 32 is clearly connected and established under section 23(1) sub-clause (c), (d), (g) and Mr. B. P. Maheshwari, learned counsel for the respondent also contended the rule could be connected with Section 23(1)(f).

 

Observation of the Court:

  • The court acknowledges the submissions of counsels of the respondent and examined Section 23 and the relevant rules which shows no definitions of the terms “Batch number” or “Code number” in any Act or in the Rules and no precedent was found on these expressions, even the Food Inspectors are also not clear as to what these expressions mean.

 

  • The court did not find anything in Section 23 (1) sub-clause (c), (g), (f) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 which will give authority to the Central Government to make rules regarding the name and business address of the manufacturer or batch number or code number being given on the labels.

 

  • Section 23 gave power to the central government to frame rules to defend purchasers from being deceived or mislead as to character, quantity, and quality of the product. The word mentioned on the label as pure ghee has also been proved correct as of the analysis of the sample of the ghee found to be of standard quality.

 

  • The court stated that it is difficult to establish any relationship between the giving of the batch number or the code number instead of other details such as manufacturing date of the product, period within which the product can be consumed, helps the purchaser from being deceived or misled from the character, quality or quantity of the product.
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  • Here the court observed that the respondent was not able to establish any relationship between the batch number and code number as referred by counsel in Clause (d) to prevent the purchaser from any kind of fraud. So, the court is of the opinion that that Clause (b) of Rule 32 is valid as it is connected with the quality or quantity of the product.

 

The decision of the Case:

It was held by the Hon’ble court that rule 32(e) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 was ultra vires as being beyond the rulemaking power under section 23 of prevention of food adulteration act 1954. Here the appellants could not be convicted for specifically a breach of Rule 32(b) alone. Therefore, the conviction of the appellants for offenses under Rule 32(b) and (e) and the fine imposed of Re. 1 for the offense are both set aside by the court.

So Finally, the appeal of Dwarka Nath was allowed by the hon’ble supreme court set aside the judgment of Delhi High court and also directed to refund the token fine is collected.

 

References:

[1] AIR 1971 SC 1844; (1971) 2 SCC 314

[2] AIR 1953 SC 79

 

Author: RISHABH MANCHANDA,
Delhi Metropolitan Education affiliated to GGSIPU/ 2nd Year/ Law Student

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