1. This order will also dispose of Criminal Revisions Nos. 308 to 313 of 1951.
2. These are applications for revision against the conviction of the applicants under Section 7 of the Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act, 1946 (XXIV of 1946), for contravention of Clauses 3, 17 and 20 of the Central Provinces and Berar Yarn Dealers' Licensing Order, 1949, and for breach of condition No. 5 of the applicants' licenses which are of class B. Contravention of these clauses is not uniform in all cases. There are findings of fact of contraventions of these clauses, and they are not challenged.
3. It is contended that the Licensing Order is 'ultra vires' as the term 'cotton textiles' in Section 2(e)(ii) of the Act does not include yarn.
4. Ginned cotton is the fibrous material which is first converted into yarn which is a woven fibre for making cloth, ropes, tape etc. By drawing and twisting yarn it is made into thread. Yam and thread are used to make a pliable piece by interlacing yarn and thread in close textures on a loom. This process is also known as weaving. Thus a cotton yarn is a woven cotton fibre and the cotton cloth is woven cotton yarn and thread. Any woven stuff or material or fabric is known as textile. As an adjunctive 'textile' means pertaining to weaving. Cotton is many a time used in a generic sense to include not only cloth and yarn but also ginned and unginned cotton.
5. Since a doubt was expressed whether raw cotton is excluded by the term 'cotton textiles' the Act was amended in 1949 (Act XLIX of 1949) and raw cotton (both ginned and unginned) was separately included in the list of essential commodities under Section 2.
6. 'The paramount duty of the Judicial interpreter' says Maxwell, 'is to put upon the language of the legislature, honestly and faithfully, its plain and rational meaning and to promote its object.' He further says:
The Rule of strict construction does not, indeed, require or sanction that suspicious scrutiny of the words, or those hostile conclusions from their ambiguity or from what is left unexpressed, which characterise the judicial interpretation of affidavits in support of 'ex parte' applications or of magistrates' convictions where the ambiguity goes to the jurisdiction. Nor does it allow the imposition of a restricted meaning on the words, wherever any doubt can be suggested, for the purpose of withdrawing from the operation of the statute a case which falls both within its scope and the fair sense of the language. This would be to defeat, not to promote, the object1 of the Legislature. (page 268, ninth edition)
It would therefore be profitable to look at the history of this legislation.
7. On account of the War it became necessary to regulate the economic life of the people; and consequently to regulate the production, supply, distribution, trade and commerce of commodities essential to the life of the community various control orders were issued under Rule 81(2) of the Defence of India Rules. The term 'cotton textiles' was used for the first time in the Cotton Textiles (Sizing and Pilling) Control Order, 1942. Though the term 'cotton textile' was used, the subject of the Order was sizing and filling of cotton piece goods. In the Cotton Cloth and Yarn (Control) Order, 1943, the officer who administered the law was called Textile Commissioner and his advisory committee was composed only of members representing the textile industry i.e. they were representatives of the spinning and weaving mills of the country. As the term 'cloth and yarn' was taken to include all cotton and cotton products, by a subsequent notification, sewing threads in tubes or reels, cotton, ropes, tape, binding and similar miscellaneous items were excluded from the operation of the Order. In order that there should not be any loophole the term 'cotton textile' was used in a wide sense in the Cotton Textiles (Dyes and Chemicals) Control Order, 1944. The Cotton Textiles Fund Ordinance, 1944, imposed a custom duty on all cloth and yarn manufactured, to and exported from India to utilize the proceeds for the benefit of the cotton textile industry. This fund was called Cotton Textiles Fund.
8. In order to continue war-time legislation after the state of emergency came to an end, the Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Ordinance, 1946 (XVIII of 1946) was promulgated to regulate production, supply, distribution, trade and commerce, among other things, in cotton and woollen textiles. This Ordinance was followed by the Act XXIV of 1946. It will thus be clear that the Intention of the Legislature in using the term 'cotton textiles' for cloth and yarn was not to exclude yarn from the operation of the Ordinance and the Act, hut to continue the existing legislation regarding yarn also.
9. 'The rule off strict construction, however, whenever invoked, comes attended with qualifications and other rules no less important; and it is by the light which each contributes that the meaning must be determined. Among them is the rule that sense of the words is to be adopted which best harmonises with the context, and promotes in the fullest manner the policy and object of the Legislature. The paramount object in construing penal as well as other statutes is to ascertain the legislative intent; and the rule of strict construction is not violated by permitting the words to have their full meaning, or the more extensive of two meanings, when, best effectuating the intention. They are, indeed, frequently taken in the widest sense, sometimes even in a sense more wide than etymologically belongs or is popularly attached to them, in order to carry out effectually the legislative intent, or, to use Lord Coke's words, to suppress the mischief and advance the remedy.' (Maxwell interpretation of Statutes, page 280). See also Newman Manufacturing Co. v. Marrable (1931) 2 KB 297.
10. I am therefore of the opinion that the term 'cotton textiles' includes yarn and the Licensing Order is not 'ultra vires'.
11. The learned Counsel next contends that Clause 20 under which every dealer other than a C class dealer shall issue to every customer a correct cash memorandum or credit note which shall contain the details mentioned therein is merely a directory provision and a breach of this clause is not an offence. There is no substance in this contention. In order to regulate the trade and to see that the goods were sold to 'bona fide' consumers at fair prices it was necessary to insist on issue of cash memoranda or credit notes with the specified details, and a breach was made punishable.
12. The learned Counsel next contended that the applicants were illiterate persons and did not understand the full implications of the Order. Even if true, that is no excuse for contravention of the Order. As a matter of fact, they have been very lightly dealt with.
13. The object of the legislation and the controls on distribution will be frustrated if the dealers were allowed to contravene the provisions with impunity, infliction of fines only is not at all a deterrent punishment to deter the accused and others similarly situated from indulging in such contraventions. The accused are fortunate in having escaped with very light punishment.
14. There is no substance in these application and they are dismissed, summarily.