V.R. KRISHNA IYER, J.
1. Shri O.P. Verma, counsel for the petitioners, strenuously contended that the notification by which the Haryana Control of Bricks Supplies Order, 1972 was issued, was bad in law. He relied on two grounds, neither of which has any substance.
2. Firstly, he argued that an order similarly worded, had been earlier struck down by the High Court and that, therefore, a repeat performance by the State Government, could not stand on a higher footing. This is a thorough misconception of the situation to say the least. The High Court in the first round of litigation had specifically pointed out that the order was being struck down on the sole ground that the satisfaction of the statutory authority had not been made out and the High Court further made it clear that it was perfectly open to the State Government to issue a fresh order under Section 3 (i) of the East Punjab Control of Bricks Supplies Act, 1949 after applying its mind. What has been done now is to issue a fresh order on a reconsideration of the matter in fulfilment of the High Courts mandate. Obviously this ground fails.
3. So far as the present order is concerned, there is a specific recital that government “are of the view that it is necessary so to do for securing the proper distribution and availability of bricks at reasonable price”. That nails the argument and nothing remains on that score.
4. In passing we must mention that even in the first round of litigation before the High Court when the question of the satisfaction of the State Government was at issue the concerned file was found missing, which led to the High Court striking down the order. It is unfortunate, even suspicious, how a government file so crucial to the sustenance of the validity of the order can disappear at a strategic time and after the High Court had struck it down, make it reappear. This is a matter for investigation and the public has a right to know the functioning of the Government in such matters. We are distressed that an order made for the benefit of the public should fail in court merely because the relevant file is lost at a strategic time and recovered after the disposal of the case by the Court.
5. The second ground urged by Shri Verma, is that bricks have not been declared as an essential commodity under the Essential Commodities Act, a central statute. He apparently overlooked the fact that the statutory power was not under that Act at all. The misconception is apparent when one reads the notification in question. The impugned order expressly recited that it is issued in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the East Punjab Control of Bricks Supplies Act, 1949. The Essential Commodities Act has nothing to do with the impugned order.
6. The petitioners are apparently reckless in their allegations because in the year of grace 1980 they are challenging through the present special leave petitions the vires of Sections 3 and 4 of the Essential Commodities Act. Apart from irrelevance of that point there is not the slightest doubt that during the last two and a half decades this Act has been enforced as valid and upheld in Court. We are satisfied that these special leave petitions deserve to be dismissed with costs because these are not merely devoid of substance but verge on sharp practice on the Court. The dismissal is necessarily to be complete by cost which is quantified at Rs 3000 in each special leave petition. Counsel Shri R.N. Sachthey, appearing for the State of Haryana, fairly conceded that having regard to the general policy of the State and with special reference to Article 39(a) of the Constitution, half the lawyer's fee will go to the credit of Indian Council of Legal Aid and Advice, of which Mr Sachthey is a member.