1. The respondent in this case Onkar Singh was brought to trial in the Court of a Magistrate at Jullundur on the allegation that on 3-3-1953 a test purchase was made at his shop at Benga by Nathu Ram P. W. acting under the instructions of the police, and the accused charged Nathu Bam Re. 1/- for 2 'seers' and 10 1/2 'chattaks' of maize-flour which is at the rate of Rs. 15/- per maund as against the price fixed by the Punjab Maize Products Price Control Order, 1948, which was Rs. 11-14-0 per maund.
2. In dealing with the case the learned Magistrate found that the facts alleged by the prosecution had been fully established by the evidence produced, and indeed he has observed in his judgment that the facts were not contested by the learned counsel for the accused. He acquitted the accused, however, on a point of law. Apparently before the case was tried in May 1953 the Punjab Maize and Maize Products Price Control Order had been cancelled with effect from 27-5-1953 by a Punjab Government notification dated 24-4-1953, In acquitting the accused the learned Magistrate relied on -- 'Fenton Charles Aubrey v. Kathleen May Aubrey', AIR 1947 Lah 414 (A) and -- 'B. Bansgopal v. Emperor', AIR 1933 All 669 (FB) (B) according to which unless there is a special provision to the contrary, after a temporary Act has expired, no proceedings can be taken' upon it and it ceases to have any further effect.
3. The State has appealed against the acquittal of the respondent on the ground that the law has not been correctly understood by the learned Magistrate, who has failed to appreciate the difference between a temporary Act which ceases to have effect after a certain date specified therein, and an Order similar to the Punjab Maize and Maize Products Price Control Order. Such an Order is brought into force under the provisions of a parent Act, which contains prevision for the punishment of . contraventions of Orders promulgated under it, and which also remains in force even after an Order promulgated under it has ceased to have effect.
There is in fact no doubt that in the present case the Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act. 1946, under which the respondent was prosecuted was still in force at the time of the trial and still is in force. It is contended on behalf of the State that the case is essentially similar to - 'J. K. Gas Plant . V. Emperor1, AIR 1947 FC 38 (C) in which the jurisdiction of ' special tribunal, constituted to try offences under the Defence of India Rules, to continue the trial of certainoffences consisting of contraventions of the Iron and Steel (Control of Production and Distribution) Order, 1941, was upheld, although the said Order had expired on 30-9-1946 and the Tribunal had framed charges only on 14-10-1946.
The Order which has been contravened in the present case would appear to bear the same relation to the Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act as the Iron and Steel (Control of Production and Distribution) Order bore to the Defence of India Rules under which it was promulgated. There is obviously a big difference between a self-contained Act which provides for its own expiry on a certain date, and a temporary Order of no fixed duration promulgated under a parent Act providing for the punishment of con-tiavention of Orders promulgated under its provisions.
4. The Order which has been contravened in the present case was not for any fixed period and was presumably cancelled when the Government thought that conditions no longer necessitated its continuance, and in my opinion there can be no doubt about the power of the Court to punish an offence under the provisions of Section 7 of the Act as long as the offence was com- mitted while the Order was in force in spite of the fact that the Order had been cancelled before the case was brought to trial.
5. On behalf of the respondent reliance was placed on a decision of the Supreme Court in -- 'Keshavan v. State of Bombay', AIR 1951 SC 128 (D), but I do not think that this case helps his argument, since the question which was being decided was whether the effect of Article 19(1) of the Constitution on existing laws hit by It was the same as the effect of the expiry of a temporary statute, and the question of cancelled or superseded Orders promulgated under a still continuing law containing provisions for the punishment of contravention of Orders was not considered at all.
6. In the circumstances I am of the opinion that the view taken by the learned Magistrate was wrong and that the respondent ought to have been convicted. I would accordingly accept the appeal of the state and convict Onkar Singh respondent under Section 7, Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act, but since the case is now more than a year old and his profiteering was on a small scale I would only sentence him to a fine of Rs. 100/- or in default one month's rigorous imprisonment. He must surrender to his bail-bond, which will be cancelled if he pays the fine. Otherwise he must serve the sentence in default.
7. I agree.