H.R. Krishnan, J.
1. This is a reference by the learned-Sessions Judge, Ratlam, made on an application' by one of the persons on trial before the Magistrate 1st Class., for contravention of the provisions of paras 4, 5 and 15 (3) of the Iron and' Steel Control Order and notifications issued under it, in exercise of the powers conferred on the Central Government under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. The learned Sessions Judge was probably influenced by a ruling of this High Court which it has since been set aside by the Supreme Court. He has also not looked into the implications of paragraph 5 of the said. Order.
2. Iron and Steel being essential commodities as defined in the Essential Commodities Act! of 1955, the Central Government has promulgated the Iron and Steel Control Order, 1956. Under Para 4 of the Order, Iron and Steel can be acquired on permits, subject to the conditions mentioned in them. In addition the' Iron and Steel Controller is empowered under Rule 15 to fix the price from time to time; any sales over the moximum price fixed by him is punishable under para 15 (3).
3. The allegation against the applicant Fidahussain is that for one thing he was disposing of iron and steel in contravention of parti 5, and for another, of para 15(3) as he was selling at a price higher than the one fixed by the Controller. His case is that para 5 is not applicable as he was neither producer nor stock-holder; as for para 15 (3) the Controller was not competent to fix the prices and under para 15 (3) as such the rule itself was ultra vires.
4. Hut it is to be noted that the iron and steel were obtained by certain permit holders, who in contravention of the conditions in the permit disposed them of through the applicant. So the latter was abetting, by conspiracy or by aiding, the permit holders in their disposing of the goods in violation of the conditions under which they had been given to them. Whether or not the permit holders are tried along with this offender the prirna facie case on this offence is quite clear.
As for the second, some confusion was possible in view of the ruling reported in : AIR1957MP179 , State v. Ilaidarali however that ruling has been set aside by the Supreme Court in Criminal Appeal No. 162 of 1957, State v. Haidarali by the State of Madhya Pradesh and it has been held in the judgment delivered on 16-12-1959 that the Controller was legally competent to fix the price. The order in that case had been made under the Essential Supplies Temporary Powers Act, 1946 but it is analogous to paragraph 15 of the Iron and Steel Control Order of 1956.
Any way it is clear now that para 15 of the latter Order is intra vires, the Controller is competent to fix the price. Sub-paragraph (3) provides for the punishment for selling at a price exceeding the maximum, whether or not the seller is a producer or stock holder or 'any other person'. Thus the fact that the present applicant is neither producer nor stock holder does not help him because the words of the paragraph are wide enough. In fact the prima facie case is that there is a ring, certain members obtaining iron and steel permits for this or that purpose, and accomplices like the applicant selling them at a price higher than the legal maximum. All of them are liable.
5. In the result the reference is dismissed ind the case is sent back for disposal on merits after framing charge or charges.