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In Re: Gourisetti Narayana and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. Case Nos. 741 and 767 of 1963 and Criminal Revn. Petn. Nos. 661 and 687 of 1963
Judge
Reported inAIR1965AP77; 1965CriLJ142
ActsSugar Control Order, 1963
AppellantIn Re: Gourisetti Narayana and ors.
Appellant AdvocateA. Raghuvir, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateO. Chinnappa Reddy, Public Prosecutor
Excerpt:
.....awarded by the tribunal was enhanced to rs.8,20,000/-. - (4) rule 125 of the defence of india rules, 1962 runs as follows ;(2) if the central government or the state government is of opinion that it is necessary or expedient so to do for securing the defence of india and civil defence .or the maintenance or increase of supplies and services essential to the life of the community or for securing the equitable distribution and availability of any article or thing at fair prices, it may, by order, provide for regulating or prohibiting the production, manufacture, supply and distribution, use and consumption of articles things and trade and commerce .(9) 'if any person contravenes any order made under this rule, he shall be punishable .rule 145 of thus, provisions contained in the..........committed an offence punishable under rule 125 (2) read with rule 125 (9) of the defence of india rules, 1962 and under the sugar control order of 1963, and that accused 3 and 4 were punishable under the aforesaid rules read with rule 145 of the defence of india rules. accused 1, 3 and 4 are partners of a partnership and the 2nd accused is said to be their salesman. the learned munsif-magistrate took the case on file as c. c. no. 122 of 1963 and proceeded with it. the four accused in that case filed cr. revision case no. 741 of 1963 to quash the proceedings in that case. (2) the police filed another charge sheet against a single accused, gourisetti veeraiah, alleging that on 16-5-1963, he had sold 2 kgs. of sugar at re. 1-75 np. per kg. at karimnagar while the retail price was re......
Judgment:

Anantanarayana Ayyar, J.

(1) The police filed a charge-sheet against the four accused in the Court of the learned Munsif-Magistrate, Karimnagar, to the effect that on 16-5-1963, the 1st accused agreed to sell to P. W. 1 sugar at the rate of Re. 1-50 nP. per kg. and the 2nd accused weighed and delivered two Kgs. of sugar at that price whereas the controlled price was Re. 1-16 nP. per Kg. , that accused 1 and 2, therefore, committed an offence punishable under Rule 125 (2) read with Rule 125 (9) of the Defence of India Rules, 1962 and under the Sugar Control Order of 1963, and that accused 3 and 4 were punishable under the aforesaid Rules read with Rule 145 of the Defence of India Rules. Accused 1, 3 and 4 are partners of a partnership and the 2nd accused is said to be their salesman. The learned Munsif-Magistrate took the case on file as C. C. No. 122 of 1963 and proceeded with it. The four accused in that case filed Cr. Revision Case No. 741 of 1963 to quash the proceedings in that case.

(2) The police filed another charge sheet against a single accused, Gourisetti Veeraiah, alleging that on 16-5-1963, he had sold 2 Kgs. of sugar at Re. 1-75 nP. per Kg. at Karimnagar while the retail price was Re. 1-16 nP. per Kg. The learned Munsif-Magistrate took the case on file as C. C. No. 123 of 1963. The sole accused in that case has filed Crl. Revision Case No. 767 of 1963 to quash the proceedings in that case.

(3) Both the cases involved the same point of law. They came together for hearing before our learned brother. Mohamed Mirza, J. The learned Judge passed an order on 3-3-1964 which is as follows :

'This Revision petition raises an important point of law under the Defence of Indian Rules. Therefore I refer it to a Bench.'

As a result, these revision cases came up for hearing before us.

(4) Rule 125 of the Defence of India Rules, 1962 runs as follows ;

' ..........................................

(2) If the Central Government or the State Government is of opinion that it is necessary or expedient so to do for securing the defence of India and civil defence ................................... ............................................

or the maintenance or increase of supplies and services essential to the life of the community or for securing the equitable distribution and availability of any article or thing at fair prices, it may, by order, provide for regulating or prohibiting the production, manufacture, supply and distribution, use and consumption of articles things and trade and commerce ..........................................'

* * * * * * ** * * * * * *

(9) 'If any person contravenes any order made under this rule, he shall be punishable ............................................................................'

Rule 145 of the Defence of India Rules runs as follows :

'Offences by companies - (1) Where an offence against the provisions of these Rules, or of any order made thereunder, has been committed by a company, every person who at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.'

(5) In exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-Rule (2) of Rule 125 of the Defence of India Rules, 1962, the Government of India in the Ministry of Food and Agriculture made an order dated 17th April 1963 called the Sugar (Control) Order, 1963. The relevant provisions of the said Order are as follows ;

2. 'Definitions : - In this Order, unless the context otherwise requires .......................

(b) 'recognised dealer' means a person carrying on the business of purchasing, selling or distributing sugar and licensed under the Order relating to licensing of sugar dealers for the time being in force in a State or Union Territory.'

Clause 3 relates to restriction on sale, etc., of sugar by producers. Clause 4 gives power to the Central Government etc., to issue directions to producers and dealers. Clause 5 gives power to regulate movement of sugar. Clause 6 of the Sugar (Control) Order, 1963 runs as follows :

6. 'Power to fix sugar prices : - (1) The Central Government may, from time to time, by notification in the Gazette of India, fix the price or the maximum price at which any sugar may be sold or delivered, at different prices may be fixed for different areas or different factories or different types of grades of sugar.

(2)* * * * * (3) Where the price or the maximum price has been so fixed, no person shall sell or purchase or agree to sell or purchase any sugar at a price in excess of that fixed under sub-clause (1) : .................................................'

This sub-clause (3) to Clause 6 has a proviso, but it is not relevant for the purpose of the present cases.

(6) The Government of Andhra Pradesh issued Memorandum No. 446/ CS. III/63-1 dated 18th April 1963 mentioning measures for distribution of sugar at reasonable prices and giving instructions of the Government . The said memorandum mentioned the fact that the Government of India had fixed the ex-factory price for sugar at Rs. 109-85 nP. per quintal for Andhra Pradesh and also added as follows :

'Retail prices should be similarly fixed by the District Collectors with reference to the wholesale price as worked out above plus a reasonable margin to the retailer.

The Board of Revenue (C. S.) is required to ensure that immediate arrangements are made for the distribution of sugar and fixation of prices in order to avoid scarcity condition in the State ..................................................................'

(7) Accordingly, steps were taken with the result that the District Collector, Karimnagar, issued instructions to all the Revenue Divisional Officers by means of his letter No. F/4322/63 dated 29th April 1963 fixing the retail prices of sugar for various places in his district. In particular, he mentioned the retail price of sugar at Karimnagar as Re. 1-16 nP. per Kg.

(8) The only contention raised before us by the learned counsel for the petitioners for our consideration and decision is that the word 'person' occurring in sub-clause (3) of clause 6 of the Sugar Control Order means only a 'recognised dealer' as defined in sub-clause (b) of clause 2 of the Sugar Control Order. that the petitioners are not 'recognised dealers' and that, therefore, they are not affected by sub-clause (3) of clause (6).

(9) In the definition of 'recognised dealer' itself in clause (2) (b), the word 'person' is used and that definition viz. , 'recognised dealer' covers only a specified category of persons viz., those persons 'carrying on the business of purchasing, selling or distributing sugar and licensed under the Order relating to licensing of sugar dealers for the time being in force in a State or Union Territory.' The definition itself makes it clear that the word 'person' refers to a wide category whereas the words 'recognised dealer' cover only a specific portion of the wide category.

(10) Further Clause 11 of the Sugar Control Order specifically mentions as follows :

' 'Producers' etc. , to comply with directions under this Order. - Every producer, recognised dealer or other person to whom any order or direction is issued under any powers conferred by or under this Order shall comply with such order or directions.'

This clause makes it clear that a 'person' includes 'recognised dealer' and also those who are not recognised dealers. Thus, provisions contained in the Sugar Control Order afford strong intrinsic evidence that the contention of the learned Advocate for the petitioner/s is not acceptable.

(11) There is no definition of the word 'person' in the Sugar Control Order or in the Defence of India Act or the Rules made thereunder. Section 3(42) of the General Clauses Act (X of 1897) runs as follows :

' 'Person' shall include any company or association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not ;'

Rule 145 of the Defence of India Rules, makes it clear that an offence can be deemed to be committed by a company; and as such, it means that a 'person' in sub-clause (3) of clause 6 of the Sugar Control Order includes companies also. Rule 145 refers to a person who was in charge and was responsible to the company. There the 'person' obviously means 'an human individual, human being'. The meaning of the word 'person' as given in the Concise Oxford Dictionary is 'individual, human being'. It is clear that the word 'person' used in Rule 125 (9) of the Defence of India Rules has to be given the widest connotation.

(12) The purpose of the Sugar Control Order is stated in Rule 125 (2) of the Defence of India Rules as one for regulating or securing the equitable distribution and availability of any article or thing at fair prices. Sub-rule 3 (e) of Rule 125 runs as follows :

'3. Without prejudice to the generally of the powers conferred by sub-rule (2), an order made thereunder may provide :

(a) ..................................................

(b) ..................................................

(c) ..................................................

(d) ..................................................

(e) for controlling the prices or rates at which articles or things of any description whatsoever may be sold or hired or for relaxing any maximum or minimum limits otherwise imposed on such prices or rates;'

If sub-clause (3) of clause 6 of the Sugar Control Order is interpreted in the manner suggested by the learned counsel for the petitioners, it would mean that only recognised dealers would be obliged to sell or purchase sugar at the price not in excess of that fixed under sub-clause (1) of clause 6. This would mean that all others who are recognised dealers would be free to purchase and sell sugar in utter disregard of the control price fixed, with the result that the very purpose and object of the Sugar Control Order would be defeated. Further, it would mean that it would be left to the option of any individual to become liable to the application of sub-clause (3) of clause 6 or not to become a 'recognised dealer' at all and thereby keep himself free and unaffected by sub-clause (3) of clause 6. This would mean that whereas the competent authority under the law can control the price of sugar by fixing the price under sub-clause (1) of clause 6, every individual (human being) can exercise control as to whether the price so fixed should be made applicable to his dealings (by way of purchase and sale) or not. The result would be that the individual purchasers and sellers would not be bound effectively to stick to the price fixed by the authority and the very object and purpose of the Sugar Control Order, viz., to secure the availability of sugar at fair prices, would be defeated.

(13) The words 'recognised dealer' are used in clauses 4 and 8 to 11. They indicate the powers which the competent authorities have with reference to the recognised dealers and the latter's obligation to comply with the directions issued under this Order. It is obvious that the words 'recognised dealer' have been defined in sub-clause (b)of clause 2 for the purpose of showing the obligations of the persons so defined and the powers in regard to them exercisable by the specified authorities.

(14) We find that the contention of the learned Advocate for the petitioner is not tenable.

(15) In the result, the revision Petitions are dismissed.

(16) Petitions dismissed.


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