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Varun Agritech & Another v/s The Assistant Director & Another

    Criminal Petition No.1694 of 2007

    Decided On, 20 March 2007

    At, High Court of Andhra Pradesh


    For the Petitioner : Sai Gangadhar Chamarty, Advocate. For the Respondent: Public Prosecutor.

Judgment Text

(Petition under Section 482 of Crl.P.C. praying that in the circumstances stated in the grounds filed therewith, the High Court will be pleased to call for the entire record and quash the complaint dt.05-03-04 in STC no.67 of 2006 on the file of the Court of 1st Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Vijayawada and consequently discharge the petitioners from the Charges under section 6(a), 7(b) and 19 of Seed Act 1966 and 13 of Seed Rules 1968.)

This criminal petition is filed by the petitioners/A1 and A2 under Section 482 Cr.P.C. seeking to quash the proceedings in S.T.C.No.67 of 2006 on the filed of the court of the I Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Vijayawada, for the offences punishable under Sections 6 (a), 7(b) and 19 of the seeds Act, 1966 and 13 of the Seeds Rules, Rules, 1968 (for short ?the Rules?).

It is alleged that A1 is a firm dealing with the seeds and was responsible for carrying on the business of seedling, keeping the seeds for sale, which were sub-standard in quality ad Dows not conform to the minimum limits of germination specified. A2 is the Proprietor of M/s Varun Seeds, who was the manufacturer of the seeds. A3 is the firm Known as M/s. Varun Agritech and A4 is the Managing Partner of the said firm. The Seeds Inspector of Agricultural Department inspected the premises of A1-firm ad drew samples ad on testing the same, it was found that the seeds do not conform to the standard prescribed under the Rules. Therefore, the petitioners were prosecuted.

The alleged seizure of samples was on 25.06.2003 and the complaint was filed on 04.03.2004.

The learned Counsel for the petitioners submitted that the offences mentioned above under the Seeds Act are punishable with fine only up to Rs.500/-, therefore, under Section 468 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the complaint must be filed within six months, but as the present complaint was filed after a lapse of six months period, it is barred by time.

The learned public Prosecutor initially stated that the complainant could not file the complaint within the stipulated time as there was delay in obtaining sanction order from the sanctioning authority. He submitted that after excluding the time taken for obtaining the sanction order, the complaint is filed and the same is within time, therefore, it cannot be quashed on the ground that it is barred by limitation.

During the course of arguments, the learned Additional Public Prosecutor conceded that there is no provision in the seeds Act requiring sanction from the superior authorities concerned to Prosecute the accused for the above offences.

The learned Counsel for the petitioners cited some judgments in support of his contentions. In Matha Venkateswara Rao and Another vs. State Of A.p. (2002 (1) ALD (Crl.) 592 (AP), a learned Single Judge of this Court held that time taken for obtaining sanction cannot be excluded since sanction is not to be obtained from any superior officer to prosecute the accused. In that case, the prosecution for sale of adulterated seeds was launched after the expiry of self-life of the seeds. Therefore, the complaint cannot be maintained as the accused lost his valuable right to seek analysis by the Seeds Laboratory.

In G.S. Prasad And Others vs. State (2002(1) ALD (CRL) 314 (A.P), a learned Single Judge of this Court held that prosecution for an offence under Section 19 of the Seeds Act cannot be maintained when the complaint was filed by the Seeds Inspector eight months after the receipt of the report of the analyst and the time spent in obtaining sanction for prosecution cannot be excluded since such a sanction is not required under law. Therefore, complaint is barred by limitation.

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r /> In the light of the above judgments and the facts and circumstances of the present case, the complaint is barred by limitation. Hence, the proceedings are liable to be quashed. Accordingly, the criminal petition is allowed quashing the proceedings in S.T.C.No.67 of 2006 on the file of the Court of the I Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Vijayawada, against the petitioners/A1 and A2.