Chinnappa Reddy, J.
1. The petitioner is not a miller but he is a dealer in rice. He holds a licence under the Andhra Pradesh Foodgrains Dealers' Licensing Order. He purchases rice from millers and sells the same in the market after contributing the prescribed percentage towards 'procurement levy' under Andhra Pradesh Rice (Procurement Levy and Restriction on Sale) Order, 1967. He also purchases paddy, gets it handpounded into rice and sells the handpounded rice in the market. He has not been contributing any part of the handpounded rice towards 'Procurement levy'. He has, however, been regularly submitting returns under the Foodgrains Dealers' Licensing Order in Form 'C', in which he has always been showing the milled rice and handpounded rice separately with full particulars. All these several years, never did the authorities call upon the petitioner to contribute a percentage of handpounded rice also towards 'procurement levy'. These facts are undisputed. While so, on the night of 1-3-1975 the Sub-Collector, District Supply Officer, Grain Purchasing Officer inspected the petitioner's business premises and seized certain quantities of foodgrains on the ground that the petitioner had not subscribed any percentage of handpounded rice towards 'procurement levy'. Next day, that is on 2-3-1975 the Collector passed an order of detention under Maintenance of Internal Security Act and the petitioner was arrested. The petitioner seeks the intervention of this court to claim his liberty.
2. The substance of the allegation contained in the sole ground of detention is that between 6-10-1973 and 1-3-1975 the petitioner got converted Q. 786.C44 of paddy into rice (by handpounding) and obtained Q. 495.053/4 of rice, that hews bound to deliver a certain percentage of that rice to the agent of the Government under Clause 3 (2) of the Andhra Pradesh Rice Procurement Levy and Restriction on sale Order, that he did not do so and that thereby he rendered essential foodgrains unavailable for the public distribution system at a fair price. It was further alleged that he had sold the handpounded rice at the 'exorbitant rate of Rs. 3.20 per kg.'
3. The order of detention was attacked by Sri P. Babul Reddy, learned counsel for the petitioner on two grounds (1)Clause 3 (2) (b) of the Andhra Pradesh Rice Procurement Levy and Restriction of Sale Order, 1967 did not apply to handpounded rice. (2) Even if it did, it was never so understood either by the dealers or by the concerned officials. It was an abuse of the provisions of the Maintenance of Internal Security Act to make an order of detention merely because the concerned officials suddenly changed their views. Sri P. Babul Reddy also drew my attention to the circumstances that though the petitioner had a turn of Rs. 18 lakhs in milled rice there was not even the whisper of an allegation against him in regard to the business relating to milled rice.
4. The Andhra Pradesh Rice Procurement Levy and Restriction of Sale Order, 1967 formulated a scheme for the procurement of rice from millers and dealers. As we have stated at the commencement the petitioner is a dealer and not a miller, Clause 3 of the Order in so far as it is relevant is as follows :--
'3. Levy on rice '(1) Every miller carrying on rice milling operations shall sell to the agent or an officer duly authorised by the Government in this behalf at the notified price and at such percentage of the total quantity of each variety of rice produced or manufactured by him in his rice mill every day as is, specified for each district, in the schedule.
(2) Every dealer shall sell to the agent or an officer duly authorised by the Government in this behalf at the notified price and such percentage of the total quantity; of
(a) each variety of rice and got milled by him every day out of his stock of paddy and
(b) each variety of rice purchased or otherwise acquired by him for the purpose of sale from persons other than millers or dealers as is specified for each district in the schedule
xx xx xxExplanation : For purpose of this sub-clause 67-s/3 Kgs of rice shall be considered to be equivalent of one quintal of paddy.'
Clause 3-A which is also relevant is as follows :--
'3-A. Levy of paddy:-- Every miller or dealer, who purchases paddy and sells the same without getting it milled into rice shall sell, to the agent or an officer duly authorised by the Government in this behalf at the price notified in the Andhra Pradesh Paddy (Procurement Prices) Order, 1973 and at such percentage of the total quantity of each variety of paddy held and purchased by him every day as is specified for each district in Schedule II.'
Clause 3 (1) does not apply to the petitioner since he is a dealer and not a miller. Clause 3 (2) and Clause 3-A may apply to him. Now, a dealer may purchase paddy or rice in the market. If he purchases paddy he may sell it after getting it converted into rice by milling. That situation is covered by Clause 3 (2) (a) of the Order. He may purchase rice for sale as such. That situation is covered by clause 3 (2) (b). He may purchase paddy for sale as such. That situation is covered by clause 3-A. The scheme of clause 3 and 3-A does not appear to take in the purchase of paddy by a dealer and its pounding. The learned Public Prosecutor argued that clause 3 (2) (b) was applicable to such cases. Clause 3 (2) (b), in our view, applies only to cases where rice is purchased or otherwise acquired for the purpose of sale from persons other than millers or dealers. In other words, it must come into possession of the dealer as rice from persons other than millers or dealers. The learned Public Prosecutor invited our attention to the definition of 'Rice' in clause 2 (h) which is as follows:--
'Rice' means every variety of dehusked polished, raw and par-boiled rice and includes rice equivalent of paddy held in stock.'
5. The definition of 'Rice' undoubtedly includes hand-pounded rice but the question is not whether 'rice' as defined includes handpounded rice but whether clause 3 (2) (b) applies to hand pounded rice. The learned Public Prosecutor relied on the inclusive part of the definition and argued that clause 3 (2) (b),read in the light of the inclusive art of the definition, covered cases of purchase of paddy and conversion into rice by handpounding also. We do not think we can accept that contention. Clause 3 (20 (b) expressly refers to the purchase of rice as distinguished from the purchase of paddy which is mentioned in Clause 3-A. The inclusive definition of rice is clearly meant to apply to Clause 3 (2) (a). Clause 3 (2) (a) refers to the stock of paddy held by the dealer and not milled by him every day. The percentage of rice t be subscribed by a dealer towards procurement levy under Clause 3 (2) (a) is the prescribed percentage, not of the rice actually derived by him, but, the prescribed percentage of the rice equivalent of paddy held in stock by him calculated as mentioned in the explanation, that is, on the basis that 67-2/3 Kgs of rice shall be considered to be equivalent to one quintal of paddy. The inclusive definition and the explanation have nothing to do with Clause 3 (2) (b). We do not, therefore, think that the Andhra Pradesh Rice Procurement Levy and Restriction of Sale Order contemplates the procurement of handpounded rice. Our view conforms with the object of the public distribution system which is said to be meant primarily for the poorer sections of the people. It is well known that handpounded rice is available only in small quantities and has more or less become a luxury article which only the richer classes can afford to purchase in the market.
6. The learned Public Prosecutor invited out attention to the Andhra Pradesh Rice Procurement Ex-mill Prices Order 1972 which fixes the procurement prices both for milled and handpounded rice. He argued that since the a Procurement ex-Mill Prices Order 1972 fixed the procurement price of handpounded rice also it must follow that the Andhra Pradesh Rice Procurement Levy and Restriction of Sale Order must also apply to handpounded rice. We do not see how the one necessarily follows the other. It may be that the Andhra Pradesh Rice Ex-Mill Prices Order 1972 was made to cover both milled and handpounded rice in the hoe that there would be procurement of both milled and handpounded rice. Perhaps it anticipated a separate procurement order in regard to handpounded rice or perhaps it anticipated that handpounded rice would also be included in the Andhra Pradesh Rice Procurement Levy and Restriction of Sale Order. But that has not happened. We are convinced that Clause 3 (2) (b) of the Andhra Pradesh Rice Procurement Levy and Restriction of Sale Order as it now stands had no application to handpounded rice. This view of ours destroys the basis of the detention order.
7. We would further like to point out that there has been an unfair or improper use of the provisions of the Maintenance of Internal Security Act in this case. It is not the case of the detaining authority that there was any clandestine activity on the part of the petitioner. In every return submitted by him under Andhra Pradesh Foodgrains Dealer's Licensing Order he has mentioned the day-to-day stocks of handpounded rice held by him. On no previous occasion was he asked to subscribe any handpounded rice towards procurement levy. According to the petitioner he did not subscribe to the procurement levy because he was always under the impression that the Procurement Levy and Restriction on Sale Order was not applicable to handpounded rice. He also pointed out that the biggest dealer of handpounded rice at Vijayawada, namely, the Vidyavanam Handpounding Society had never subscribed any handpounded rice towards procurement levy nor had the Society ever been asked to do so. This was not disputed in the counter-affidavit though a feeble attempt was made to justify the same on the ground that the Vidyavanam Society was selling handpounded rice under the permits issued by the authorities. The issuing of permits has no relevance since, if the Procurement Levy and Restriction on Sale Order is applicable to handpounded rice, the Society like any other dealer was bound to subscribe handpounded rice towards 'procurement levy'.
8. The detaining authority stated in the counter-affidavit that though the detenu was including the handpounded rice in his stock returns it missed the attention of the concerned authorities and that that did not absolve the petitioner of his liability to subscribe to the procurement levy. The truth appears to us to be that the dealers as well as the concerned authorities proceeded on the footing that the Procurement Levy and Restriction of Sale Order did not apply to handpounded rice and that was why they never insisted on any previous occasion that either the petitioner or the Vidyavanam Society should subscribe handpounded rice to the procurement levy if that was the position it was unfair and improper for the detaining authority to make that the basis to make an order under Maintenance of Internal Security Act. The petitioner will be released forthwith. Advocate's fee Rs. 250.
9. Petition allowed.