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M. Sannappa Vs. the State of Mysore and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1970CriLJ929
AppellantM. Sannappa
RespondentThe State of Mysore and anr.
Excerpt:
.....trial court has failed to exercise the jurisdiction vested in it and the illegality is apparent. order of trial court was set aside and amendment was allowed. - omission to mention the places or the persons to whom the wholesale dealer may sell the commodity cannot be spelt out as granting extra right to the holder of an ordinary licence like the one we have in this case......has challenged the legality of the order of confiscation of certain bags of jowar, passed by the deputy commissioner, bellary, on 31st august 1968 as modified by the sessions judge on 17th december 1968:2. the petitioner holds wholesale dealers' licence no. 44/64 dated 9-10-1964 issued on 31-12-1964 by the deputy commissioner, chitradurga district. the petitioner purchased 100 bags of jowar in hirehadagalli in the district of bellary. eighty bass of the purchased commodity had been loaded on the truck while 20 bags were still to be loaded. the tahsildar, hadagalli, found the commodity but nobody claimed the ownership of jowar, he instructed the police of hirehadagalli to take the 100 bags of jowar into custody and initiate necessary action against the offenders under the provisions of.....
Judgment:
ORDER

T.K. Tukol, J.

1. In this revision petition, the petitioner has challenged the legality of the order of confiscation of certain bags of jowar, passed by the Deputy Commissioner, Bellary, on 31st August 1968 as modified by the Sessions Judge on 17th December 1968:

2. The petitioner holds Wholesale Dealers' Licence No. 44/64 dated 9-10-1964 issued on 31-12-1964 by the Deputy Commissioner, Chitradurga District. The petitioner purchased 100 bags of jowar in Hirehadagalli in the District of Bellary. Eighty bass of the purchased commodity had been loaded on the truck while 20 bags were still to be loaded. The Tahsildar, Hadagalli, found the commodity but nobody claimed the ownership of jowar, He instructed the police of Hirehadagalli to take the 100 bags of jowar into custody and initiate necessary action against the offenders under the provisions of the Food Control Orders in force,

3. In response to a show-cause notice issued under Section 6-B of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, the petitioner appeared before the Deputy Commissioner and filed his objections on 29-5-1968. The Deputy Commissioner came to the conclusion that the petitioner had violated the order issued under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act and ordered the confiscation of the entire stock of 100 bags of jowar under Section 6-A of the Essential Commodities Act of 1955 (hereinafter called the Act).

4. Being aggrieved by that order, the petitioner approached the Sessions Judge, Bellary, who upheld the finding of the Deputy Commissioner that the petitioner had contravened the relevant provisions of law as referred to by the Deputy Commissioner but modified the order of confiscation to the effect that all the 100 bags of jowar might be sold to some Government Depot in Bellary District and the sale proceeds of 50 bags should be paid to the appellant.

5. The present revision petition challenges the validity of the aforesaid Order. The Mysore Foodgrains (Wholesale) Dealers' Licensing Order, 1964 (hereinafter called the Licensing Order) provides for licensing the dealers. Clause 3 of that Order lays down that no person shall carry on the business as a wholesale dealer except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a licence issued in this behalf by the Licensing Authority. Licensing Authority has been defined by Clause 2 (c) of the Order as meaning 'an Officer appointed by the State Government to exercise the powers and perform the duties of the Licensing Authority under this Order'. A wholesale dealer has also been defined under Clause 2 (e) as meaning 'a person engaged in the business of purchase, sale or storage for sale of any one of the foodgrains'. It is not disputed that the petitioner is a wholesale dealer and that he had obtained a licence as already mentioned. When he was found to have purchased 100 bags of jowar in Hirehadagalli in the District of Bellary, he produced his licence contending that it enabled him to make purchase of 100 bags of jowar.

This contention has been negatived on the ground that the petitioner cannot purchase anywhere other than at the place mentioned against Clause 2 (b) of the licence. Clause 2 of the Form of Licence (Form B appended to the Order) reads as follows:

2. (a) The licensee shall carry on the aforesaid business at the following places:

(b) Foodgrains in which the aforesaid business is to be carried on shall not be stored at any place other than any of the godowns mentioned below:

Shop building at Chowkipet, Devangere.

It is necessary to mention that no name of place has been mentioned under Clause A of the aforesaid clause of the licence. The Deputy Commissioner and the Sessions Judge have interpreted that the 'shop building at Chowkipet, Devangere' entered under Clause (b) governs also Clause (a). In my opinion this would not be a correct construction because what Clause (a) required is to mention the place or places where the licence holder is permitted to-carry on the business in the foodgrains mentioned in Clause (a) of the licence. It may in some cases correspond with the shop building or the godown mentioned in Clause (b) or it may be a different place or place altogether.

6. Now the question is in the absence of any place being mentioned in Clause (a) whether it can be held that the licence in question authorised the petitioner to purchase or sell foodgrains anywhere in the State. Clause 5 (3) of the Order lays down that 'a separate licence shall be obtained by a wholesale dealer for each place of business'. It, therefore, follows from this clause that if a dealer has got more places of business, he has to obtain as many licences as there are places of business.

In this context a reference may also be made to another Order bearing No. S. O. 1100 dated 27-8-1964 issued by the State Government under Sub-clause (c) of Clause 2 of the Order appointing officers mentioned in the table attached to that order to exercise powers and perform the duties of the Licensing Authority under the said Order in the areas specified in the corresponding entries respectively against them. Under this Order, the jurisdiction of the Deputy Commissioner, Chitradurga, extends over the District of Chitradurga. So, if there is nothing else in the licence, the licence has to be interpreted as enabling the holder of the licence to carry on the business within any one place in the district. Unfortunately, in this case, no place was specified in Clause 2 (a) of the licence.

7. It was argued by the learned Advocate appearing for the petitioner that the holder of licence in the absence of specific mention in Clause 2 (a) of the licence would have the authority to make purchases or sales anywhere in the State. Such an interpretation would obviously be inconsistent with Clause 5 (c) of the Order which requires a separate licence for each place of business to be obtained by the wholesale dealer. My attention was drawn to Sub-clause (3) of the proviso to Clause 9 of the Licence Form B appended to the Order. That clause states that the Licensing Authority may permit the wholesale dealer to sell foodgrains to another licensed wholesale dealer in the State.

On the basis of this clause an attempt was made by the learned advocate for the petitioner to interpret that Clause 2 (a) had armed him with competence to make sales or purchases anywhere in the State. This interpretation is erroneous inasmuch as Sub-clause (3) of the proviso referred to above requires express permission granted to the wholesale dealer. Omission to mention the places or the persons to whom the wholesale dealer may sell the commodity cannot be spelt out as granting extra right to the holder of an ordinary licence like the one we have in this case. I have, therefore, no hesitation in holding that the Deputy Commissioner and the Sessions Judge were right in holding that the petitioner had no competence to make purchase in Hirehadagalli without the requisite licence.

The learned Advocate further submitted that the modified order passed by the Sessions Judge was not consistent with law. According to him, Section 6-C of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, does not enable the Sessions Judge to pass an order for sale of the commodity and payment of the proceeds of the part when on the date of the order no part of the attached and confiscated stock had been sold. Section 6-C (1) of the Act empowers the appellate authority to confirm, modify or annul the order appealed against. Sub-section (2) of Section 6-C reads : 'Where an order under Section 6-A is modified or annulled by such judicial authority... and in either case it is not possible for any reason to return the foodgrains or edible oil-seeds or edible oils seized, such person shall be paid the price therefor as if the foodgrains... . had been sold to the Government with reasonable interest calculated from the day of the seizures of articles. . . .'

It is admitted in this case that 100 bags of jowar attached from the petitioner have not yet been sold. Therefore, the proper order for the Sessions Judge was to have modified the order of the Deputy Commissioner, when he decided upon the modification, in conformity with Sub-section (2) of Section 6-C. It is also submitted that the petitioner had purchased jowar at Rs. 80 per quintal and that the confiscation of half the stock for a technical offence would cause hardship to the petitioner. In my opinion the ends of justice would be met if only 25 bags are confiscated.

8. In the result, the petition is dismissed subject to the above modification.


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