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Kattamuri Venkata Satya Prasad Vs. the Chief Secretary to the Govt. of A.P. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1975CriLJ1514
AppellantKattamuri Venkata Satya Prasad
RespondentThe Chief Secretary to the Govt. of A.P. and ors.
Excerpt:
.....there is express mention of certain things, then anything not mentioned is excluded. - if the detaining authority had in mind the possibility of the petitioner operating in the black market with or without the facility of the authorisation under the control order or a licence under the foodgrains dealers' licensing order and if there existed grounds of detention relevant for entertaining such an apprehension an order of detention may well be justified. 12 of 1973 :reported in 1974 cri lj 1474 (sc)). in the present case, there is no whisper that the detaining authority had in mind any activity other than that connected with the 'authorised fair price shop'.concerned as we are with the liberty of the citizen and that most cherished of all fundamental rights, we do not think that we..........to the community.3. sri t. venugopal reddy, learned counsel for the petitioner urged that the detaining authority had alleged that the petitioner had indulged in black-marketing without citing a single instance in the grounds of detention. he argued that none of the instances cited related to blackmarketing. we do not agree with the submission of the learned counsel. the nine instances mentioned in the grounds of detention show that the petitioner had made entries in the 'rice issue register' as if he had sold the quantities of rice mentioned there to card-holders who were entitled to rice when in fact he had not effected any such sales. the rice covered by the entries was not available with the petitioner. the irresistible inference was that the rice had been sold in the.....
Judgment:

Chinnappa Reddy, J.

1. The petitioner holds a licence under the Andhra Pradesh Food Grains Dealers' Licensing Order and was an 'authorised fair price shop' under and as defined in the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Commodities (Regulation of Distribution by Card System) Order 1973, until such authorisation was cancelled by the Sub-Collector's proceedings dated 10-9-1974. Pursuant to an order made on 15-8-74 under Section 3 (1) (a) (iii) of the Maintenance of Internal Security Act the petitioner is detained in the Central Jail. Warangal. He claims his liberty and seeks a Writ of Habeas Corpus under Article 226 of the Constitution.

2. The 'grounds of detention' supplied to the petitioner alleged that the petitioner, a 'Fair Price Shop dealer in rice', was allotted 75 quintals of rice by the Sub-Collector to be distributed to consumers in Blocks Nos. 7 to 12 of Dhowleswram through his fair price shop. The petitioner took delivery of 50 quintals on 25-7-1974. The Assistant Collector Rajahmundry and the Special Deputy Tahsildar, Rajahmundry enquired into the functioning of the petitioner's Fair Price Shop and discovered that the petitioner was 'indulging in fraudulent transactions in rice by recording fictitious sales in the 'Rice Issue Register' maintained by him. Nine instances of such transactions were mentioned in the 'grounds of detention'. According to the instances cited entries were made in the 'Rice Issue Register' as if rice had been gold to card-holders though no rice was in fact sold to the card-holders as revealed by the statements of the card-holders. Some of the cards contained no endorsements relating to the alleged sales. Some cards contained false endorsements which the petitioner managed to make by parting with small sum of money to card-holders. After enumerating the nine instances of 'fictitious and fraudulent transactions' the 'grounds of detention' went on to allege that the petitioner had thus denied rice to the card-holders who were entitled to be supplied rice at a fair price and indulged in black-marketing of rice. Fictitious entries were made in the 'Rice Issue Register' to cover up the sales in the black-market. It was said that the detention of the petitioner had become necessary with a view to prevent him from further acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community.

3. Sri T. Venugopal Reddy, learned Counsel for the petitioner urged that the detaining authority had alleged that the petitioner had indulged in black-marketing without citing a single instance in the grounds of detention. He argued that none of the instances cited related to blackmarketing. We do not agree with the submission of the learned Counsel. The nine instances mentioned in the grounds of detention show that the petitioner had made entries in the 'Rice Issue Register' as if he had sold the quantities of rice mentioned there to card-holders who were entitled to rice when in fact he had not effected any such sales. The rice covered by the entries was not available with the petitioner. The irresistible inference was that the rice had been sold in the blackmarket. The material before the detaining authority amply justified his conclusion that the petitioner had indulged in blackmarketing.

4. Sri T. Venugopal Reddy, learned Counsel for the petitioner next urged that all the instances cited in the grounds of detention related to the two days, 27-7-1974 and 28-7-1974. There was no prior or later incidents and therefore the detaining authority was not right in concluding that the petitioner was likely to act in a manner prejudicial to the supply of commodities essential to the community. There is no substance whatever in this submission. It is not necessary that there should be continuous course of conduct over a long period in order to justify an order of detention.

5. It was finally argued by Sri Venugopal Reddy that the petitioner's authorisation was cancelled on 10-9-1974 and since it was no longer possible for the petitioner to indulge in the activity contemplated by the grounds of detention his further detention was illegal. He relied On our decision in W. P. No. 4990/74 : (reported in 1975 Cri LJ 1512) (Andh pra).

6. Our decision in W. P. 4990 of 1974 : (reported in 1975 Cri LJ 1512) (Andh Pra) undoubtedly supports the submission of the learned Counsel. The learned Public Prosecutor, however, argued that though the authorisation of the petitioner was cancelled his licence under the Andhra Pradesh Food Grains Dealers' Licensing Order was not cancelled and, therefore, he was at liberty to carry on trade in foodgrains. It was, therefore, necessary to detain him in order to prevent him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the supply of commodities essential to the community. The learned Public Prosecutor also argued that neither the cancellation of authorisation nor even the cancellation of the licence could prevent the petitioner from operating in the black market. We will presently consider the submissions of the learned Public Prosecutor.

7. Under the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Commodities (Regulation of Distribution by Card System) Order, 1973 an 'authorised fair price shop' means a retail dealer appointed or authorised or approved by or on behalf of the State Government for sale of all or any of the scheduled commodities. Clause 4 of the order provides that no 'authorised fair price shop' shall sell or agree to sell or supply or agree to supply essential commodities to any person except under and in accordance with the provisions of the order. Clause 16 (1) (b) further provides that every 'authorised fair price shop' shall not sell scheduled commodities obtained from sources other than the State Government godown or any agency appointed by the Collector except under and in accordance with the conditions of a special permission granted by the Collector. It is thus clear that no 'authorised fair price shop' can carry on any business in any scheduled commodities received from a source other than the authorised source except with the special permission of the Collector. The petitioner, therefore, could not carry on business in any of the scheduled commodities received from any source other than a Government source. Nor is it alleged either in the grounds of the detention or in the counter filed by the detaining authority that the petitioner was receiving or may receive rice or other scheduled commodity from a source other than a Government source. The cancellation of his authorisation under the Scheduled Commodities (Regulation of distribution by card system) Order meant that the ground was cut under his feet and he ceased to have any opportunity for indulging in the activities mentioned in the grounds of detention.

The argument of the learned Public Prosecutor was that the petitioner had shown a tendency to operate in the black market and therefore even if the authorisation was withdrawn there was a likelihood of his continuing to operate in the black market in some other manner. We are not concerned here with any vague apprehension or speculation as to what the petitioner may do hereafter. We are concerned here with that activity which the detaining authority wanted to prevent. If the detaining authority had in mind the possibility of the petitioner operating in the black market with or without the facility of the authorisation under the Control Order or a licence under the Foodgrains Dealers' Licensing Order and if there existed grounds of detention relevant for entertaining such an apprehension an order of detention may well be justified. But in every case, and this we wish to emphasise, what we must consider is what activity it was that detaining authority wanted to prevent. If the detaining authority had in mind a certain activity only and wanted to prevent that activity but did not have in mind a different type of activity and if the first type of activity could not any longer be pursued on account of supervising circumstances we do not see how a detenu can be continued to be detained on the ground that he may indulge in the second type of activity which was never in the mind of the detaining authority.

The recital in the grounds of detention that a person is being detained with a view to prevent him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the supply of essential commodities is not to be treated as a formula or 'mantra' which would cover every type of prejudicial activity whether contemplated by the detaining authority or not. In every case we are concerned with what was in the mind of the detaining authority at the time when he made the order of detention. The learned Public Prosecutor argued that, in the present case the authorisation had not been cancelled when the order of detention was made and hence no reference was made in the grounds of detention to the likelihood of the petitioner acting in a prejudicial manner de hors the authorisation. True, but we are concerned with the continued detention of the 'petitioner' after the cancellation of the authorisation. There is no indication even in the counter-affidavit that the detaining authority had in contemplation any activity on the part of the petitioner, de hors the authorisation. The other day we came across a decision of the Supreme Court where a detention order made when the detenu had already been arrested in connection with a Criminal Case was upheld because the detaining authority expressly stated in his counter-affidavit that the order of detention was made because of the possibility of the petitioner being enlarged on bail (Kartic Chandra Guha v. State of West Bengal W.P. No. 12 of 1973 : reported in 1974 Cri LJ 1474 (SC)).

In the present case, there is no whisper that the detaining authority had in mind any activity other than that connected with the 'authorised fair price shop'. Concerned as we are with the liberty of the citizen and that most cherished of all fundamental rights, we do not think that we have to be too astute to discover reasons for upholding the detention of a prisoner in cases like the present. We are therefore of the view that the further detention of the petitioner is illegal. He will be set at liberty forthwith. Advocate's see Rs. 250/-.


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