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Kharaiti Lal and anr. Vs. State of Haryana - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1984CriLJ133
AppellantKharaiti Lal and anr.
RespondentState of Haryana
Excerpt:
.....knowledge of passing of the said order. - the intention of the legislature clearly runs counter to the contention raised by the learned counsel for the accused persons......0003. learned counsel for the accused contended that the penal consequences of not maintaining the stock register correctly could not be extended to the forfeiture of the entire stock recovered from them; instead, the stock found in excess could have been forfeited. reference was made to section 7(1)(b) of the essential commodities act, which lays down that if any person contravenes any order made under section 3, any property in respect of which the order has been contravened shall be forfeited to the government. then the contention raised was that the contravention being only in respect of the excess stock recovered from the accused persons, forfeiture of the excess stock was permissible. the argument has not impressed me inasmuch as clause (3) (i) of the order requires a licensee to.....
Judgment:
ORDER

S.C. Mital, J.

1. Kharaiti Lal and his brother Kishan Lal were convicted under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act read with Rule 114 of the Defence of India Rules, 1971, and sentenced to terms of imprisonment and fines by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ambala City. The quantities of wheat, barley and grams seized from them were ordered to be forfeited to the State. Their appeal having been dismissed by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Ambala, they have preferred this revision petition. At the motion hearing, no ground for interference with the conviction and sentences imposed on them was made but. However, notice was issued to the State regarding the confiscation of the said foodgrains.

2. Admittedly, the accused persons were licensees under the Punjab Food-grains Dealers Licensing Order, 1963(for short 'the Order'). Clause 3(i) of the Order requires that a licensee shall maintain a register of daily accounts for each of the foodgrains showing correctly, inter alia, the opening stock on each day. For the violation of this provision the accused persons have been convicted. The following table will clarify the case against them:-

Commodity Entry in. Stock Actually Excess

Register Recovered

Q. - Kgs. - Gms. Q. - Kgs. - Gms. - Q. Kgs. Gms.

Wheat 18 - 40 - 250 27 - 98 - 250 - 9 - 52 - 000

Gram 00 - 00 - 500 7 - 5 - 500 - 7 - 00 - 500

Barley 14 - 6 - 000 37 - 92 - 00 - 23 - 86 - 000

3. Learned counsel for the accused contended that the penal consequences of not maintaining the stock register correctly could not be extended to the forfeiture of the entire stock recovered from them; instead, the stock found in excess could have been forfeited. Reference was made to Section 7(1)(b) of the Essential Commodities Act, which lays down that if any person contravenes any Order made under Section 3, any property in respect of which the Order has been contravened shall be forfeited to the Government. Then the contention raised was that the contravention being only in respect of the excess stock recovered from the accused persons, forfeiture of the excess stock was permissible. The argument has not impressed me inasmuch as Clause (3) (i) of the Order requires a licensee to maintain the relevant register 'showing correctly the opening stock on each day'. The commission of offence lies in the breach of this provision of the Order. From its plain reading the quantity of the foodgrains regarding which the register was not correctly maintained cannot be spelt out.

4. Besides, Section 7(1)(b) of the Essential Commodities Act lays emphasis on the 'property in respect of which the Order has been contravened' and not on the quantity thereof. Thus, the entire property is liable to be forfeited to the Government. The matter can be viewed from another angle. Before the 1976 amendment of the Act, Section 7(1)(b) read:

(b) any property in respect of which the Order has been contravened or such part thereof as the Court may deem fit including any packages, coverings or receptacles in which the property is found and any animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance used in carrying the property, shall be forfeited to Government : * * * *

It is manifest that the discretion of the Court in forfeiting the entire property or any part thereof has been taken away by the 1976 amendment of the Act. The intention of the Legislature clearly runs counter to the contention raised by the learned Counsel for the accused persons.

5. For the foregoing reasons the revision petition fails and the same is hereby dismissed.


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