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Agricultural Market Committee, Anantapur Vs. Kulluru Subbi Reddy and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Appeal Nos. 1219 and 1220 of 1983
Judge
Reported inAIR1984AP391
ActsConstitution of India - Article 19(1) and 19(6); Andhra Pradesh (Agricultural Produce and Livestock) Markets Act, 1966 - Sections 4, 7(6) and 23
AppellantAgricultural Market Committee, Anantapur
RespondentKulluru Subbi Reddy and ors.
Appellant AdvocateAddl. Adv. General and ;S. Venkateswara Rao, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateS. Venkateswara Rao and ;D.V. Reddi Pantalu, Advs.
Excerpt:
.....produce and livestock) markets act, 1966 - petitioners (growers of groundnut) prayed for directing market committee not to insist them to sell their product in market yard - market committee under obligation to provide facilities mentioned in government order before requiring traders, commission agents and growers to shift to new market yard - minimum prescribed facilities not provided - market committee directed to provide prescribed facilities and only then petitioners can be required to carry on business in market yard. - - 3,312-8010. well 4.0 m. 5. the director of marketing is requested to ensure that the above minimum facilities are provided in all market committees yards without fail. aziz joint secretary to government'.10. the grievance of the petitioners is that without..........and other notified agricultural products within the area of the andhra pradesh agricultural market committee - seek a writ of mandamus directing the anantapur market committee 'not to enforce the provisions of s. 7 (6) of the andhra pradesh (agricultural produce and livestock) markets act, 1966 (hereinafter referred to as the 'act') till regular and pucca facilities are provided by the anantapur market committee.'2. pending these writ petitions, the petitioners prayed in w. p. m. ps. 14797/83 and 14904/83 for directing the respondent-market committee not to insist or force the growers of several villages to sell their products (groundnut shelled or unshelled) in the market yard at anantapur and to forbear from enforcing the provisions of s. 7 (6) of the act till infra structure.....
Judgment:

1. These two writ petitions - W. P. No. 10830/83 by the Anantpur District Seeds and Oil Mills Association and W. P. No. 10911/83 by several growers of groundnut and other notified agricultural products within the area of the Andhra Pradesh Agricultural Market Committee - seek a writ of mandamus directing the Anantapur Market Committee 'not to enforce the provisions of S. 7 (6) of the Andhra Pradesh (Agricultural Produce and Livestock) Markets Act, 1966 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act') till regular and pucca facilities are provided by the Anantapur Market Committee.'

2. Pending these Writ Petitions, the petitioners prayed in W. P. M. Ps. 14797/83 and 14904/83 for directing the respondent-Market Committee not to insist or force the growers of several villages to sell their products (groundnut shelled or unshelled) in the market yard at Anantapur and to forbear from enforcing the provisions of S. 7 (6) of the Act till infra structure and all facilities are provided. These petitions were disposed of by our learned brother Waghray, J. by his order dated 15-12-1983 holding that 'it will not be just to immediately force the petitioners to a market yard where all facilities have not yet been provided. He directed that the existing practice shall be allowed to be continued for a period of one month from the date of his order. He also observed that the position can be reviewed on a further affidavit being filed by the Market Committee. He further clarified that 'the mere fact that the petitioners are allowed to carry on their business as per the existing practice, it does not mean that they should not follow or abide or obey the other provisions of the Act regarding filing of returns and payment of market fee.' Aggrieved by the said order, the Agricultural Market Committee has preferred Writ Appeals 1219 and 1220 of 1983.

3. Whe these matters came up for hearing before a Bench of this Court, an Advocate-Commissioner was appointed to inspect the Market Yard at Anantapur and to ascertain whether the facilities in accordance with G. O. Ms. No. 719 dated 27-12-1979 were provided in the Anantapur Market Yard. The Advocate-Commissioner, after inspection of the Market Yard on 9-1-1984 in the presence of the counsel for both the parties submitted a report to this Court on 16-1-1984. Parties have filed their objections to the Commissioner's report. As the disposal of the writ appeals required the consideration of contentions raised in the writ petitions also, at the request of the parties, the writ petitions also were heard along with the writ appeals.

4. the writ petitioner in W. P. No. 10830/83 is an Association of Commission Agents who holds a licence to do business under S. 7 (1) of the Act. It is their case that the Agricultural Market Committee, Anantapur was constituted under S. 4 (4) of the Act by the Government in G. O. Ms. No. 1548 F & A dated 22-10-1971 declaring the area of the market as the whole of the Anantapur town and the adjoining area. The Market Committee did not hae a market yard at that thime. Later on, by G. O. Ms. No. 515, F & A, dated 26-5-1980 the Government amended the notification and declared the market yard with boundaries stated therein for the notified market area as detailed therein. An extent of 20 acres was acquired for the location of the market yard. Under another notification i.e. G. O. Ms. No. 175, F & A, dated 13-6-1983 the notified market area of Anantapur Market Committee was extended to an area within a radius of 25 kms. Of the Market Yard. So far, no facilities and no infra structure necessary for effective functioning of a market have been provided. Unless the necessary infra structure is provided and necessary amenities are made available in the Market Yard, it would not be possible for the growers, traders and commission agents to carry on business in that market yard. A circular was issued for construction of shop-cum-godowns and for allotment of the same to any person who was prepared to deposit Rs. 10,000/-. The members of the petitioner-Association deposited Rs. 10,000/- each and applied for allotment. But till today, they were not allotted the sites for construction of shops or godowns. They have been provided only with a small site for construction of shops or godowns. They have been provided only with a small site and were asked to put up Thatties for carrying on business. There are no storage facilities. Only one godown is constructed and that too is utilised by the Market Committee for storing cement. While so, the Market Committee and its officials are threatening to cancel licences of the members of the petitioner-Association if they did not shift their trade to the market area. Representations made by the petitioner-Association on 28-10-1983 and 7-11-1983 were ignored. Hence these writ petitions.

5. the godowns of notified agricultural products contend in their writ petition that in the 21 acres of land declared as market yard, no amenities and facilities are provided. Although the Market Committee has accumulated nearly 30 lakhs of rupees, it has not been spent for providing at least the minimum facilities. There is only one covered platform and one godown. There are no storage facilities in the yard and the market yard itself is not enclosed on all sides by a compound wall for protecting the agricultural products. There is neither any canteen facility nor are thre any latrine or sanitary blocks. There is no shed for the cattle. The agricultural produce would be exposed to sun and rain and even fire. Yet the growers are required to sell their products at such a market yard. The Market Committee has issued a pamphlet informing the growers to sell their produce in the Market Yard which does ont provide even the minimum amenities required to be provided under G. O. Ms. No. 719 dated 27-12-1979. The Market Yard is nearly 3 kms. Away from the town. There is no police protection available either for

6. In the counter-affidavit filed by the in charge Secretary, Agricultural Market Committee, Anantapur it is admitted that there is a cash balance of Rs. 22,00,000 but not Rs. 30,00,000 as asserted by the petitioners. It is stated that the following amenities are provided in the Market Yard safeguarding life and produce. There are no roads within the market yard and the area is full of grass. There are no shops for the traders or the commission agents to sit and carry on trade. There is no shops for the traders or the commission agents to sit and carry on trade. There is no rest house, canteen or banking or business facilities. In short, they contend that shifting of the business to such a Market Yard and insisting upon the growers to sell their produce in a yard where even the minimum facilities are not provided would result in grave injury and loss to them. Though the Deputy Director, Marketing, Cuddapah inspected the area and reported to the authorities that facilities should be provided, still the Government has not provided these facilities. Without these minimum facilities, it is not possible to carry on business in the Market Yard. They pray that till such time as the above infra structure and facilities are provided, the market committee be restrained by a writ of mandamus or other appropriate direction from insisting upon them to sell the produce only in the Market Yard.

'Type of amenity Amount spend 1. Internal Roads 6 Nos. 1,50,122-962. Covered Platforms 2 Nos. 1,20,979-333. Cattle sheds 2 Nos. 53,197-064. Compound Walls 3 Nos. 1,60,764-255. Open Platforms 3 Nos. 50,476-686. Watchman shed 16,523-207. Pump house-cum-overhead tank with motor pumpset 22,751-208. Water troughs 2 Nos. 3,369-009. Pipe Culverts 2 Nos. 3,312-8010. Well 4.0 M. Dia 14,892-5011. Godown (including rolling shutters and CCI sheets) 1,13,414-8512. Ryots Rest House 49,823-4813. Office Building (along with 4 latrines) 2,06,491-4614. Gates 4 Nos. 7,850-0015. Electrification 14,990-0016. Water Supply arrangements 40,547-7017. Spreading of gravel in front of platform (West) 4,827-2918. Spreading of gravel in front of platform (south) 4,920-2419. Borewell 1 No.20. Telephone21. Approach Roads.'

It is further averred that the Market Committee has proposed the acquisition of a further extent of 22.29 acres in order to provide all amenities to every one coming to the market. It is also proposed to cosntruct 10 more godowns at an estimated cost of Rs. 8.60 lakhs and the same are now under construction and have progressed up to basement level. The compound wall has been constructed on three sides and only on one side it is kept open, to be constructed after the acquisition of the adjacent land of Acs. 22.29 lying on that side. A temporary shed has been constructed for running canteen. A borewell has been sunk and water tubs are provided for the cattle. For the purpose of weighment and auctions, three auction platforms have already been constructed. It is denied hat the godown that has been constructed is being used by the Market Committee for storing cement. It is asserted that in this godown 20,000 tons of any commodity could be safely stored. The allegation that no facilities are provided is denied and it is asserted that it has been taking effective steps since April, 1983 onwards to implement S. 7 (6) of the Act. The averments to the contra made by the petitioners were denied.

7. As the writ petitions insisted that the facilities as mentioned byteh respondents' counter-affidavit thave not been provided, an Advocate-Commissioner was appointed to make an inspection of the site and submit a factual report as regards the facilities provided by the market committee particularly with reference to what is stated in G. O. Ms. No. 719 dated 27-12-1979.

8. In order to appreciate the contentions raised by the parties and the learned Additional Advocate General it is necessary to consider how a Market Yard may be established and what facilities are required to be provided in a notified market yard before compelling the traders, commission agents and growers to carry on business within the said Market Yard. S. 7 (6) directs that no person shall purchase or sell any notified agricultural produce, livestock and products of livestock in a notified market area, outside the market in that area. This provision was questioned as violative of fundamental rights guaranteed to a citizen under Art. 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. That contention was rejected by the Supreme Court in Sreenivasa General Traders v. State of A. P., : [1983]3SCR843 and it was held to be a reasonable restriction and the prohibition contained therein can be validly enforced after the establishment of a market in the notified market area under the provisions of the Act. The petitioners cannot, therefore, seek a writ of mandamus not to enforce S. 7 (6) of the Act. All that they can claim is that the provisions of the Act should be complied with.

9. Under S. 4 (1) of the Act the Government is empowered to constitute a Market Committee for every notified area. Under sub-sec. (2) of S. 4, the market committee is enjoined to enforce the provisions of the Act and the rules and bye-laws made thereunder. Under sub-sec. (3) of S. 4 the primary duty foh te Market Committee is to establish in the notified area such number of market as the Government may from time to time direct for the purchase and sale of any notified agricultural produce, livestock or products of livestock and to provide such facilities in the market as may be specified by the Government from time to time by a general or special order. The Government in G. O. Ms. No. 719 dated 27-12-1979 specified the facilities that must be provided by a market committee. The G. O. reads as follows:-

'It has been brought to the notice of the Government that most of the Agricultural Market Committees in the State have not provided even minimum facilities which are the basic needs in every market yard, inspite of the Government directions in the G. O., read above.

2. In partial modification of the orders issued in the G. O., read above, under Cls. (a) and (b) of sub-sec. (3) of S. 4 of the Andhra Pradesh (Agrl. Produce and Livestock) Markets Act,, 1966 (Act 16 of 1966), the Governor of Andhra Pradesh hereby directs all the Market Committees to provide initially the following 'Basic Amenities' in each market :-

1. Drinking water for the users of the market.

2. Drinking water for the cattle.

3. Shed for use of users of yard.

4. Latrines.

3. the Governor of Andhra Pradesh also directs the Market Committees to provide the other facilities mentioned below at the market yards in course of time as and when funds permit:

1. Rest House for Ryots.

2. Electrification of Market Yard.

3. Auction-cum-weighing shed.

4. Auction platforms

5. Internal Roads.

6. Telephone booth

7. Canteen

8. Office building.

9. Godown for use of producer-seller.

10. Approach roads

11. Liberty-cum-club building.

12. Resting house for traders.

4. it is not the intention of Government that the 'Basic Amenities and other facilities' must be provided in the order of priority as per serial numbers given above. The amenities are classified into two groups viz., 'Basic Amenities' and other facilities keeping in view their importance and it is left to the concerned Agricultural Market Committee and the Director of Marketing to select the works for execution from the respective groups depending upon the local condition and needs.

5. The Director of Marketing is requested to ensure that the above minimum facilities are provided in all Market Committees Yards without fail.

Sd. S. A. Aziz

Joint Secretary to Government'.

10. The grievance of the petitioners is that without providing these minimum and other facilities which the Government itself thought it necessary to provide before any market may effectively function, the Market Committee is insisting upon the commission agents, traders and growers of agricultural produce, livestock and products of livestock to carry on business in the Market Yard on pain of their licences being cancelled.

11. The Andhra Pradesh (Agricultural Produce and Livestock) Markets Act (Act 16 of 1966) is a law intended to regulate purchase and sale of agricultural produce, livestock and products of livestock and for the establishment of markets in connection therewith. It is an Act primarily intended to provide facilities to the growers, traders, and commission agents for sale of agricultural products, livestocks and products of livestock in a particular market covering the notified market area. For this purpose, the Act envisages the constitution of a committee under S. 4 of the Act composed among others of growers of agricultural produce comprising of small farmers and other farmers of the dry lands and the growers of agricultural produce comprising of small farmers and other farmers of wet land, representatives of traders, licence tranders - small and big - Chairman of Municipality or Panchayat, as the case may be, within the Market Area, representatives of Animal Husbandary Department and Co-operative Marketing Societies. The Market Committee is empowered tolevy fee on the sale of agricultural produce, livestock and products of livestock. The fee so levied is required to be spent for providing facilities and amenities in the market area as laid down in S. 12 (1) (a). the Market Committee fund thus constituted under S. 14 is required to be spent for the purposes mentioned in Ss. 15 and 16 of the Act. After the establishment of the market and provision of the facilities whoever contravenes the provision of S. 7 or fails to pay the fee levied under S. 12 is exposed to penalties referred to in S. 23 of the Act. Having regard to the power vested in the Market Committee which is primarily intended to provide facilities to the traders, growers and commission agents who sell and purchase agricultural produce, livestock and products of livestock in the market, it is contended that unless these facilities are provided, they cannot be compelled on pain of being prosecuted to leave their present places of business for which they hold licences. Even the respondents in the counter-affidavit have not taken the stand that they can compel the tranders, growers and commission agents to shift to the market even without providing these facilities. On the other hand, it is their claim that facilities have been provided. It is, therefore, necessary to see whether the facilities as envisaged by the Act and enjoined by the G. O., have been provided.

12. The extent of the Market Area as at present is 21 acres. The facilities as detailed in G. O. Ms. No. 719 must be provided by every Market Committee. Though items 1 to 4 i.e., drinking water for the users of the market and for the cattle, shed for the use of users of yard and latrines are stated as basic amenities and the rest of 12 facilities mentioned in paragraph 3 of the aforesaid G. O., are referred to as other facilities, para. 5 of the G. O., specifically enjoins that all these are the minimum facilities to be provided in all market committee areas without fail. The Government enjoined the Director of Marketing under that G. O. to ensure that the above minimum facilities are provided in all the market committee are provided in all the market committee areas without fail. It is, therefore, to be seen whether, as reported by the Commissioner, all these facilities and amenities are provided in the Anantapur Market with which we are now concerned. The Advocate-Commissioner has reported that there are two cattle sheds which can accommodate about 60 cattle. But even these sheds have no water facilitiy. It must be remembered that this is not merely an agricultural market, but also a market of livestock. Without water facilities for cattle in the market yard and agricultural market yard, it would be almost impossible for an agricultural market yard in a country where still most of the agricultural produce is transported by carts driven by cattle are brought for sale, to function. The Commissioner has further reported that shed for users of the yard as such is not available. There is, however, a rest house for ryots. He has also reported that new latrines and bath rooms are under construction. In other words, at present there are no latrines and bath rooms. He further stated that there are four bath rooms and lavatories - two meant for the staff and two for the use of others - and all these are situated in the office building which is meant for the members of the Market Committee and its staff. These latrines and bath tooms are thus not meant for the traders, commission agents and growers who come in thousands to this market which, apart from other agricultural produce, livestock and products of livestock which are notified to be sold in this market, admittedly handles about 20,000 bags of groundnut alone per day. Even under the G. O., these are basic requirements which must be provided. The Commissioner reports that except in the main building, there is no electrification in the market yard. Electric connection to the godown is cut off. There is no electric supply in the cattle shed. The Commissioner reports that he found loose electric wire hanging from wooden poles.

13. Mr. Venkataramaiah, the learned counsel for the petitioners, rightly contended that without even the minimum electric lighting, such a big market cannot function. Loose electric wires hanging from temporary wooden poles posed more a danger and a hazard to the users of the market than a facility. With respect to the internal roads, the Commissioner has reported that there are no roads to the cattle-sheds. It is also stated that there is no internal road leading to the godown. There is only one godown which is 100' ( 40'. It is stated across the Bar that between the road and the godown there is a big ditch and no trader or grower can reach that godown and store his goods in that godown. There is a thatched roof at the entrance of the market yard. Photograph with signature was produced by the petitioners and the same was verified by the Commissioner. He found that the Market Yard with thatched roof is not sufficient even for the canteen and it is very difficult to carry on business by the trader. It can be safely concluded that there is no canteen facility at all. The Commissioner also reported that there is no telephone booth. The telephone connection to the Market Committees' Office cannot be treated as telephone booth as envisaged in the G. O. There is no library-cum-club building or resting house for traders which is one of the minimum facility envisaged by the G. O. As reported by the Commissioner, what all seems to have been well-equipped is the office building of the Market Committee. That does not amount to a facility provided to the growers, traders and commission agents who have to do business. Admittedly, sites have not been so far allotted for the construction of shop-cum-godowns by the commission agents, traders and growers themselves. The Commissioner reports that there are tow blocks of 10 sheds-cum-godowns under construction which he hopes would be completed by Mar. 1984 and these shops are proposed to be let out to the licenced traders and each of the ten licensees have already deposited Rs. 10,000/-. However the fact remains that as at present there are no shops-cum-godowns available for use. As can be gathered from the photographs filed before this Court the short internal road is not motorable. Even the facilities which are termed as basic in the G.O., and which are the minimum facilities as stated in para 3 of the said G. O., are not provided. In fact the Act envisages several facilities to be provided, in a Market. Under the G.O., out of them, certain basic requirements and minimum facilities are envisaged to be provided by every market committee. The Legislature could never have intended to disturb the traders from their present places of business and subject them to severe hardship by requiring them to shift to a Market Yard where even the minimum facilities envisaged by the G.O., are not provided. The market was notified in 1971 and the Market Committee was constituted. Thereafter licences were being issued from time to time to the commission agents and traders for carrying on business in their respective premises. The Committee did not compel either the growers or the traders or the commission agents to shift to the market yard obviously because these minimum facilities were not provided. When even now facilities as laid down in G. O. Ms. No. 719 have not been provided fully, the Market Committee cannot arbitrarily require them to shift to the Market Yard on pain of being prosecuted or their licences being cancelled. Of course, when these facilities are provided, neither the Commission Agents nor the traders nor the growers can refuse to shift to the Market Yard and insist upon carrying on business in their own premises, for S. 7 (6) of the Act is mandatory and is held to be valid. Even the judgment of the Supreme Court in which reference is specifically made to the G. O. Ms. No. 719 dated 27-12-1979, clearly envisages the market committee to provide the basic amenities mentioned therein. The Supreme Court observed in that case that no material was placed on record by the petitioners therein to show that the market committees are to rendering any service. The Supreme Court observed : 'We were not referred to any specific instance where any of the market committees have not provided these basic amenities.' It is further observed that 'It is needless to stress that the question of providing these facilities would depend on the financial capacity of each market committee. This would depend on whether there are sufficient funds available at its disposal with the Market Committee'. So far as the Anantapur Market Committee is concerned, as admitted in the counter, it has Rs. 22,00,000/- still as cash balance. When this amount is collected by way of fees, they are under a statutory duty to expend it for providing facilities in the market yard. Any fee can be justified only on the ground of quid pro quo. After the fee collected, facilities cannot be withheld. Surely the financial capacity of the Anantapur Market Committee to provide all the facilities envisaged by the aforesaid G. O., cannot be in doubt; the funds now held by it are quite sufficient to provide the facilities mentioned in the G. O.. The Committee is under an obligation to provide the same before requiring the traders, commission agents and growers to shift to the new market yard. While there is an obligation to pay the fee under the Act, there is a corresponding obligation upon the Market Committee to expend the fee so collected for providing at least the minimum facilities envisaged by the G. O. In view of the above discussion, we hold that the Market Committee, Anantapur has not so far provided the minimum facilities directed to be provided in para. 2 of G. O. Ms. No. 719 dated 27-12-1979 and consequently they cannot compel the petitioners to shift to the Market Yard and prevent them from carrying on the business in the licenced premises; nor are they entitled to cancel the licences and prosecute the petitioners for not shifting so long as that situation continues. There shall, therefore, be a direction to the Market Committee to provide the facilities mentioned in G. O. Ms. No. 719 dated 27-12-1979 and only after providing all the facilities that may really be necessary, such as bank, post-office, police station etc., require the petitioners to carry on the business, in the market yard. The Writ Petitions are accordingly allowed to the extent indicated above. The Writ Appeals are dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 150/- in each.

14. Appeals dismissed.


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