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Subhas Motichand Sheth Vs. the State of Karnataka - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1978CriLJ736
AppellantSubhas Motichand Sheth
RespondentThe State of Karnataka
Excerpt:
.....is seized in pursuance of an order made under section 3 in relation thereto,.the collector, if satisfied that there has been a contravention of the order, may order confiscation .the learned counsel pointed out that in section 6-a there has to be a seizure first of the essential commodity and thereafter it confiscation. but, it would be of no use to enter into that controversy as i have stated before, if there was a contravention in respect of 57 bags, the same could be seized as well as confiscated under section 6-a......on his business at cts no. 1868 of jamkhandi. on 31-7-1976 the petitioner took delivery of 90 bags of sugar from ugar sugar factory, district belguam and brought them to jamkhandi. while on his way he sold 57 bags of sugar to his customers. thus, he brought only 33 bags of sugar to cts no. 1868 at jamkhandi and placed them on his stock. on the following day, i.e., on 1-8-1976, his shop was raided by the p.s.i, of jamkhandi and it was found that 57 bags of sugar were sold on the way and not at cts no. 1868 and therefore condition no. 2 of the licence was viola-led. it was also considered that the account was wrongly maintained inasmuch as, 90 bags of sugar were shown although only 33 bags of sugar were found in the stock. thus, condition no. 3 of the licence was also disregarded it.....
Judgment:
ORDER

D.B. Lal, J.

1. This revision is directed against the order of the Sessions Judge, Bijapur, confirming on appeal the order of the Deputy Commissioner of that District confiscating 33 bags of sugar Under Section 6-A of the Essential Commodities Act for the petitioner having contravened Clause (3) of the Karnataka Sugar Dealers Licensing Order 1962.

2. It was stated, that the petitioner being a dealer in sugar, was issued a licence under Clause (3) of the said Order which required him to carry on his business at CTS No. 1868 of Jamkhandi. On 31-7-1976 the petitioner took delivery of 90 bags of sugar from Ugar Sugar Factory, District Belguam and brought them to Jamkhandi. While on his way he sold 57 bags of sugar to his customers. Thus, he brought only 33 bags of sugar to CTS No. 1868 at Jamkhandi and placed them on his stock. On the following day, i.e., on 1-8-1976, his shop was raided by the P.S.I, of Jamkhandi and it was found that 57 bags of sugar were sold on the way and not at CTS No. 1868 and therefore condition No. 2 of the licence was viola-led. It was also considered that the account was wrongly maintained inasmuch as, 90 bags of sugar were shown although only 33 bags of sugar were found in the stock. Thus, condition No. 3 of the licence was also disregarded It was there-tore considered that there was contravention of Clause (3) of the Karnataka Sugar 1978 Cri. L. Dealers Licensing Order of 1962. The seizure of 33 bags of sugar was reported to the Deputy Commissioner who confiscated the said bags Under Section 6-A of the Essential Commodities Act,

3. Against that order of confiscation, the petitioner came in appeal before the Sessions Judge, Bijapur. However, he did not succeed and his appeal was dismissed. Now he has filed the present revision against the order of confiscation confirmed by the Sessions Judge.

4. Sri B. V. Deshpande, the learned counsel for the petitioner referred to A-6 of which the opening words are as under:

Where any essential commodity is seized in pursuance of an order made Under Section 3 in relation thereto,... the Collector, if satisfied that there has been a contravention of the Order, may order confiscation ....

The learned counsel pointed out that in Section 6-A there has to be a seizure first of the essential commodity and thereafter it confiscation. If, in a case, the seizure of the essential commodity itself is illegal, there would not be any occasion for its confiscation and in that contingency the order of confiscation itself would be a nullity. According to the learned counsel there was no contravention of the order made Under Section 3 in relation to the essential commodity, namely, 33 bags of sugar. If at all there was a contravention, it was in relation to 57 bags of sugar which were sold at a place other than the one specified in the licence. Therefore, the seizure of essential commodity under Section 6-A could be for those 57 bags of sugar and accordingly those very bags could be confiscated and not these 33 bags for which there was no contravention of the order. That was the main argument of the learned counsel and in my opinion, it should prevail in the present case.

5. It is manifest, the language used in Section 6-A, upon its plain reading, refers to the seizure of that essential commodity for which contravention of the order is alleged to be committed. In the instant case, 33 bags of. sugar were duly shown in the account and so there was no contravention of condition No. 3 of the licence. It was mentioned that 57 bags of sugar were sold away and 33 were in stock and therefore, the entire quantity of 90 bags was accounted for. It was the very case of the prosecution that 57 bags of sugar were sold on the way and 33 bags were in stock. The only charge against the petitioner was that he sold away 57 bags of sugar at a place where the sale was not authorised under the licence. The learned counsel also contended that the physical sale, while the goods were transported, at a different place than CTS. No. 1868 of Jamkhandi, was not prohibitive because the business was carried on at CTS No. 186-8 at Jamkhandi and not at any other place. The customers might have approached the petitioner while he was on his way and instead of carrying the goods upto Jamkhandi he thought it proper to part with those goods while on his way to Jamkhandi. That saved the transport charges both for the petitioner and for the customers. That could be one of the arguments in this Court of the petitioner. But, it would be of no use to enter into that controversy As I have stated before, if there was a contravention in respect of 57 bags, the same could be seized as well as confiscated Under Section 6-A. Since there was no contravention of the Order in respect of 33 bags, there could neither be seizure nor confiscation Under Section 6-A.

6. It was further stated on behalf of the petitioner that the stock was seized on 1-8-1076 which was a holiday and the accounts were to be written on the next working day i.e., on 2-8-1976. It would mean that the accounts were not incorrect as the same were incomplete and could be completed on the next working day. That is also a proper argument to hold that the accounts were not incorrectly maintained. The learned counsel referred to a Division Bench decision of Calcutta High Court of which the report is in Abdur Rahaman v. The State : AIR1955Cal631 . The case related to Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act, 1946, which contained a provision similar to Section 6-A. It was held that before any property or commodity could be forfeited to the State, it must be established that an offence in connection therewith was in fact committed. If no offence was committed in respect of that property, the forfeiture itself would be illegal. Accepting the ratio of that case, it could be held in the present situation that no contravention of the Order took place in respect of 33 bags of sugar and hence, the same could not be seized nor confiscated Under Section 6-A of the Essential Commodities Act.

7. It is, therefore, evident that the order of confiscation made by the learned Deputy Commissioner and confirmed by the learned Sessions Judge was perverse or illegal and must be set aside.

8. The revision is, therefore, allowed and the order of confiscation made by the learned Deputy Commissioner and confirmed by the learned Sessions Judge in respect of 33 bags of sugar is set aside. In consequence, the bags of sugar shall be returned to the petitioner.


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