Saturday, 10 October 2015

How to challenge report of public analyst?

 In fact, this issue as to the correctness of the certificate issued by the Public Analyst has been considered by the judgment of the Division Bench of this Court in Bombay Municipality v. Haridas Vallabhdas, reported in 39 Bom.L.R. 629. This Court was dealing with the interpretation of sections 14 and 16 of the Bombay Prevention of Adulteration Act, 1925. Section 14 lays down a rule of evidence and allows a presumption to be drawn. The Certificate of a Public Analyst is to be accepted as correct without further proof until the contrary is proved. Thus section 14 relieves the prosecution of the obligation to examine the Public Analyst in cases in which the correctness of the certificate is not challenged, and to enable the Court to accept the certificate without further proof of facts stated therein. But the section expressly states that the certificate can only be accepted as sufficient evidence of the acts stated in it until the contrary is proved and it is open to the accused to prove the contrary in any one of the several ways. He can do it in the manner provided in section 14(2) by asking the Court to cause a sample of the article to be sent for analysis to the Chemical Analyser to Government. He can also challenge the correctness of the certificate by producing a certificate of analysis by a private analyst. Further it was observed that the easiest and probably the best method of challenging the correctness of the public analyst's certificate in many cases, be by cross-examining the public analyst and showing that the method of analysis adopted by him was wrong.
73. Taking into account all the facts and circumstances and especially the detailed evidence of Dr. A.D. Nadkarni, and in view of the categorical statement of the said witness admitting that the Laboratory did not have any facility for sterility test and that no standard preparation was available so as to compare the accuracy of test to be conducted, refusal to produce the working standards and also the records of the actual tests conducted, it is clear that the prosecution has failed to establish that the tests were conducted in a reasonable and proper manner so as to uphold the report of the Government Analyst.
74. As pointed out in the aforesaid judgment of the Bombay Municipality v. Haridas Vallabhdas, 39 Bom.L.R. 629 the best method to check the correctness of the analysts report is to cross-examine the Public Analyst. In the instant case, there is ample evidence that the public analyst has not conducted the test properly and fairly to arrive at the correct figures, hence, the said Analyst's report could not be accepted and cannot be acted upon.
The State Of Maharashtra vs Shri R.A. Chandawarkar & Other on 18 February, 1998
Equivalent citations: 1999 (5) BomCR 519, 1999 BomCR Cri, (1999) 3 BOMLR 394, 1999 CriLJ 4449, 1999 (2) MhLj 650

Bench: S Radhakrishnan
Read full judgment here;click here
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