Skip to content


Nageschandra and anr. Vs. State of Hyderabad - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1953CriLJ648
AppellantNageschandra and anr.
RespondentState of Hyderabad
Excerpt:
.....of rs.4,15,150/- awarded by the tribunal was enhanced to rs.8,20,000/-. - 5. in the result the charge framed whether under the essential supplies (temporary powers) act or under the supply and prices of goods act is bad and the prosecution of the accused for offences under these acts is invalid......contravention of notifications s.r.o. 500 and s.r.o. 1103 issued under the supply and prices of goods ordinance, 1950 and of sections 3 and 7 of the essential supplies (temporary powers) act, 1946. the learned advocate for the revision-petitioners contends 'inter alia' (a) that on the date when the offence was committed, viz., 19.1.1951, the supply and prices of goods ordinance 1950 was replaced by supply and prices of goods act 1950 (act no. 70 of 1.950); (b) that under section 17 of the said act, no person below the rank of the inspector of police shall investigate an offence punishable under the act and no prosecution for any such offence shall be instituted except with the previous sanction of the central government or of any officer not below the rank of a district magistrate.....
Judgment:

Jaganmohan Reddy, J.

1. These are two revisions against the framing of a charge by the Munsiff-Magistrate, Gulbarga, dated 1.2.1951, under which the accused were charged with the contravention of Notifications S.R.O. 500 and S.R.O. 1103 issued under the Supply and Prices of Goods Ordinance, 1950 and of Sections 3 and 7 of the Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act, 1946. The learned Advocate for the revision-petitioners contends 'inter alia' (a) that on the date when the offence was committed, viz., 19.1.1951, the Supply and Prices of Goods Ordinance 1950 was replaced by Supply and Prices of Goods Act 1950 (Act No. 70 of 1.950); (b) that under Section 17 of the said Act, no person below the rank of the Inspector of Police shall investigate an offence punishable under the Act and no prosecution for any such offence shall be instituted except with the previous sanction of the Central Government or of any officer not below the rank of a District Magistrate empowered by the Central Government to grant such sanction. It is contended that since the investigation into the offence was made by a Sub-Inspector of Police. P.W. 1, D.S. Pathak, and since the prosecution was unable to show that there was any sanction of the Central Government or an officer empowered by it in that behalf, no charge should have been framed as the trial is without jurisdiction.

2. The facts of the case are that the police had on 10.1.1951 reason to believe that the accused, who is the proprietor of the Prabhat Stores was selling Glaxo at a price much above the rate of I.G. Rs. 3-2-0 (O.S. Rs. 3-10-4) fixed by Notifications issued under the Supply and Prices of Goods Ordinance, 1950. They therefore laid a trap and sent one Rochappa with a marked five rupee note to purchase one pound tin of Glaxo. Rochappa accordingly went and purchased a Glaxo tin and produced a cash memo for O. Section Rs. 4-8-0 (Ex. 2). The tin and cash memo were immediately seized by the panches who had followed Rochappa to the shop after which they recovered the marked five rupee note, which was also seized from a person in the shop who was taking some currency notes in which the marked note was included. Thereafter a first information report was issued stating the facts of the case and the offence committed.

3. With respect to the first point, there is no doubt that the Supply and Prices of Goods Ordinance was promulgated on 2.9.1950 and simultaneously a Notification, S.R.O. 500 dated 2.9.1950 fixing prices of infants food, i.e., Horlicks, Glaxo and Cow and Gate was issued. On 23.12.1950, the Ordinance was replaced by the Supply and Prices of Goods Act referred to above which was passed in pursuance of a resolution under Art, 249 of the Constitution 'for the control of prices of certain goods and supply and distribution thereof.' Another Notification S.R.O. 1103 pursuant to the provisions of the repealed Ordinance was also published in the Gazette of India on the same date, vide Ex. 4 according to which one pound of Glaxo tin was priced at Rs. 3-2-0 I.G. corresponding to Rs. 3-10-4 O. Section It appears that the Notification was issued prior to the enforcement of the Act under the repealed Ordinance though it was published on the same date as the Act itself. The question whether the offence was committed under the Ordinance or under the Act is not really material for the reason that the incident admittedly took place on the 19.1.1951 after the coming into force of the Supply and Prices of Goods Act, and Notifications though issued under the Ordinance were saved by Sub-Section (2) of Section 27 of the said Act. At the most the mention of the Supply and Prices of Goods Ordinance in the first information report or in the charge is a misdescription and it could always be corrected in the charge.

The Advocate for the revision petitioner, has not, in view of what has been stated above, pressed this point. His main contention is with respect to the second point, namely, that the investigation was done by a person not authorised under the Act and the prosecution was without sanction of the Central Government or any parson authorised by the Central Government in this behalf. The learned Government Advocate contends that if an accused is charged with several offences, some of which require sanction as a condition precedent to the prosecution and the others not a charge can always be framed under the provision which does not require sanction. Before we consider it necessary to deal with this aspect of the case, we required the learned Government Advocate to state whether there was any order made under Section 3 of the Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act fixing the prices of Horlicks, Glaxo milk and other infant food products. We feel that this was necessary because Section 3 of the Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act provides that:

The Central Government, so far as it appears to be necessary or expedient for maintaining or increasing the supplies of any essential commodity or for securing their equitable distribution and availability at fair prices, may, by order, provide for regulating or prohibiting production, supply and distribution thereof and trade and commerce therein.

4. In view of the aforesaid, provision, before any argument can be advanced in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed under this provision it is necessary that an order should be made by the Central Government fixing the price of a tin of Glaxo. The learned Advocate for the State took time to ascertain whether any such order was made and after two adjournments he now reports that there is no such order. The charge also does not specify the particular order or orders which are alleged to have been contravened. In these circumstances no charge could be framed under the Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act. Since the accused has been charged under the Supply and Prices of Goods Act, 1950, there being no sanction under Section 17 thereof, of the Central Government or any person authorised in that behalf, the prosecution is vitiated and the trial, if any, is without jurisdiction. 'The sanction to prosecute', as the Privy Council have observed in-Gokulchand Dwarkadas Morarka v. The King AIR 1948 PC 82 is an important matter it constitutes a condition precedent to the institution of the prosecution and the Government have an absolute discretion to grant or withhold their sanction.

5. In the result the charge framed whether under the Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act or under the Supply and Prices of Goods Act is bad and the prosecution of the accused for offences under these Acts is invalid. We accordingly quash the charge and order the accused to be discharged.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //