1. The Point for Consideration in these Writ Petitions is whether the dealer is required to obtain both the Release Certificate and Transfer Certificate as required under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and liable to surrender levy rice under the Karnataka Rice Procurement (Levy) (Amendment) Order, 1993, amended from time to time including the 1993 Amendment Order.
2. The learned Counsel appearing for the petitioners cont d that earlier in the Decision of this Court in the case of SUBHANI RICE MILL, BASAVAPATNA v. STATE OF KARNATAKA AND ORS, 1988(1) KLJ 147. wherein it is held that the dealer had to obtain both the Release Certificate and Transfer Certificate. Subsequent to the Decision in the case of Subhani Rice Mill, the Government has made amendment to Clause 6 of the Levy Order whereby the Sub-clause 2(a) and (b) and 3 are deleted. According to the petitioners, Sub-clause 2(a) and (b) are deleted long ago and Sub-clause 3 is now deleted. As such, the respondents are not justified in demanding the petitioners to produce Certificate while transporting rice from one State to another. According to them, the principles laid down in the Subhani Rice Mill's case are not applicable to this case. But the principles laid down in the case of KHALIMULLA KHAN v. STATE OF KARNATAKA.ILR 1986 KAR 1041 are clearly applicable. Thus contending they also submitted that Form D under which one has to obtain transport permission was no longer in existence as the conditions No. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 came to be deleted in view of the principles laid down by this Court in Khalimulla Khan's case. Thus arguing they submitted that the direction sought be issued by allowing these Petitions.
3. As an answer to these contentions Sri B.V. Muralidhar, learned High Court Government Pleader, submitted that obtaining the Release Certificate and Transfer Certificate were necessary as per law. Deletion of Sub-clause 2(a) and (b) and 3 of Clause 6 of the Levy Order has nothing to do with transportation of rice. According to him, the principles laid down by this Court in the case of Khalimulla Khan's case were infact considered subsequently in Subhani Rice Mill's case and explained in detail that if the object of issuing Release Certificate and Transfer Certificate were not required, it would have resulted in smuggling. He also submitted that the conditions No. 4 to 8 of Form-D which were deleted in view of the Decision in the case of Khalimulla Khan's case again revived in view of the principles laid down by this Court in the case of Subhani Rice Mill's case. Further he submitted that any dealer who wants to transport levy free rice, he will be permitted to do so provided he makes a request well in advance. When such a facility is available, one fails to understand as to why the dealers are contending that they are not required to obtain Transfer Certificate. From this it is clear the reason for refusing to obtain Transfer permission is unacceptable. Thus arguing he submitted that all the Petitions be dismissed.
4. In order to appreciate the rival contentions, it is appropriate to understand Clause 6 and 8 of unamended Act which dealt with the restriction of transportation and movement of paddy etc. Clause 6 of the Karnataka Rice Procurement (Levy) Order, 1984 reads as follows:
'6. Restriction of transportation and movement of rice/paddy:
(1) No person shall transport to any place out side the State, rice in respect of which a release certificate has not been obtained.
(2) No person shall transport paddy from one district to another without permit issued by the Deputy Commissioner of concerned district.
(3) No person shall transport paddy to any place outside the State.'
Further, Clause 8 of the Karnataka Rice Procurement (Levy) Order, 1984 reads thus;
'8. Release Certificate;
(1) After delivery of the rice, in accordance with Clause 7, every licenced miller and licenced dealer may make an application in Form C10 to the Deputy Commissioner for issue of release certificate for the purpose of sale or/and transportation of levy free rice inside/outside the State.
(2) The application referred to in Sub-clause (1) shall be accompanied by the receipt in original issued by the purchase officer in respect of delivery of rice under levy.
(3) On receipt of an application under Sub-clause (1) the Deputy Commissioner shall immediately or within 10 days issue a release certificate for movement and disposal of the levy free rice. The release certificate shall be in Form-D and as per the Directions by the Government in this regard,
(4) The application under Sub-clause(1) shall be made within one month of the date of delivery of rice in accordance with the Clause 7 and stock of rice in respect of which such release certificate is issued shall be disposed of by the miller or the dealer within the period of one month from the date of grant of such certificate:
Provided that the period may be relaxed by the State Government for reasons to be recorded in writing.'
Sub-clause (2) of Clause 6 was deleted as per the Decision of Khalimulla Khan v. State of Karnataka, Clause 7 dealt about the delivery of rice to the Government which is otherwise called as 'Levy' by both the miller and dealer. By 1993 amendment to levy order, Sub-clause 2(a) and (b) and 3 of Clause 6 came to be deleted. From this it is clear that the permission which was earlier required to transport either rice or paddy from one State to another, by deleting Sub-clause 3 restriction of movement of paddy throughout the Country was also deleted. By virtue of the 1993 amendment, as far as the movement of rice is concerned, the position existing today was infact actually existing the day on which this Court laid down a law in Subhani Rice Mill's case. This Court in the case of Subhani Rice Mill explained the object behind insisting on both the Release Certificate and Transfer Certificate by the dealer holding that to ensure compliance with levy order, even after securing Release Certificate, the Transport Certificate has to be insisted to evidence that rice which is being transported is covered by Release Certificate and Transport Certificate to be obtained by the dealers, must not form part of the Release Certificate, but should be an independent Certificate to be secured from Tahsildar of Taluk concerned at the time of actual transport of free rice when the same is sold to different individuals or dealer himself transports on his own account.
5. From the principles laid down in the Subhani Rice Mill's case, it is clear that insistence on both the Release Certificate and Transfer Certificate are quite essential. As far as 1993 amendment to Levy Order is concerned, the same has no application in respect of transportation of Levy free rice as it deals with only about paddy. Regarding the fact of deletion of Sub-clause 2(a) and (b) are concerned, this position is clearly explained by this Court in Subhani Rice Mill's case and it is not possible to take a different view than that of the view taken by this Court earlier in Subhani Rice Mill's case. Accordingly, it is held that whenever a Dealer/Miller wants to transport levy free rice he shall obtain Transfer Certificate apart from Release Certificate, and if there is any request made by the Miller and Dealer, the concerned authority to issue Transfer Certificate or Certificates. The authorities to issue such Certificate or Certificates without loss of time, otherwise the dealer or miller may put to lot of inconvenience. Otherwise, there will be a possibility of incurring loss due to fluctuation in price of the rice. It is further made clear that insistence of transfer permit for transportation of levy rice within the State is not required and to transport the levy rice outside the State, the same shall be insisted. With the above observations, Writ Petitions are disposed of.