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Secretary, Malabar Market Committee Vs. A.V. Bapputty - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1962CriLJ549
AppellantSecretary, Malabar Market Committee
RespondentA.V. Bapputty
Cases ReferredState v. Gopal Singh A.I.R.
Excerpt:
- - on 1-1-1960 the complainant sent a registered notice to the respondent calling upon him to furnish returns of his transactions for the year 1959 in compliance with bye-law 25(6). since the respondent did not furnish the returns a further notice was sent to him intimating that a prosecution will be launched in case he failed to submit the returns within ten days. as the respondent failed to furnish the returns even then, the complainant filed c......19(2) of the madras commercial crops markets act read with bye-laws 25(6) and 25(18) of the bye-laws framed under the said act. the respondent had no case that he' furnished the returns or that there was any ground to exempt him from the liability to furnish the returns. the only defence setup by the respondent was that the prosecution launched by the appellant as secretary of the committee was not maintainable since there was no proper proof of the appellant's authority to prosecute. this objection seems to have been put forward on the ground that the certified copy of the resolution authorising the secretary to launch the prosecution filed before the magistrate is not admissible in evidence. the sustainability of the prosecution appears to have been challenged on the further ground.....
Judgment:

Anna Chandy, J.

1. The Secretary of the Malabar Market Committee, Kozhikode, is the appellant. The respondent is a licensee under the Malabar Market Committee dealing in arecanuts and having business within five miles of the regulated market at Vattamkuiam. Under by-law 25(6) framed under the Madras Commercial Crops Markets Act XX of 1933, every such licensee is bound to submit the returns of his business transactions in the prescribed form to the Secretary of the Market Committee as and when required by him. On 1-1-1960 the complainant sent a registered notice to the respondent calling upon him to furnish returns of his transactions for the year 1959 in compliance with bye-law 25(6). Since the respondent did not furnish the returns a further notice was sent to him intimating that a prosecution will be launched in case he failed to submit the returns within ten days. As the respondent failed to furnish the returns even then, the complainant filed C.C. No. 14 of 1960 on the file of the Munsiff-.Magistrate of Ponnani Under Section 19(2) of the Madras Commercial Crops Markets Act read with bye-laws 25(6) and 25(18) of the bye-laws framed under the said Act. The respondent had no case that he' furnished the returns or that there was any ground to exempt him from the liability to furnish the returns. The only defence setup by the respondent was that the prosecution launched by the appellant as Secretary of the Committee was not maintainable since there was no proper proof of the appellant's authority to prosecute. This objection seems to have been put forward on the ground that the certified copy of the resolution authorising the Secretary to launch the prosecution filed before the Magistrate is not admissible in evidence. The sustainability of the prosecution appears to have been challenged on the further ground that the bye-laws which formed the basis of it are not proved.

2. Both these objections were accepted by the Magistrate and the accused was acquitted. On the first objection the Magistrate held that the minutes book Is not a. public document as defined in Section 74 of the Indian Evidence Act and no ground is made out as contemplated' in Section 65 of the Act to allow secondary evidence to be given. Regarding the second objection the learned Magistrate took the view that as the bye-laws of the committee cannot claim any statutory force the court cannot take judicial notice of them.

3. I shall first consider the question whether the court could have acted upon the bye-laws in the absence of proof or in other words whether judicial notice of the bye-laws could have been taken Under Section 57 of the Evidence Act.

4. Under Section 57 of the Evidence Act the court 13 required to take Judicial notice of the facts specified in clauses 1 to 13 and Clause 1 is 'all laws in force in the territory of India.' In Edward Mills Co. Ltd. v. State of Ajmer : (1954)IILLJ686SC while interpreting the words 'Law in force' as used in Article 372 of the Constitution their Lordships observed that:.the words 'law In force' as use in Article 372 are wide enough to include not merely a legislative enactment but also any regulation or order which1 has the force of law. However, an order must be a legislative and not an executive order before it can come within the definition of law.

In State of Bombay v. F. N. Balsara A.I.R. 1951 SC 318 a notification issued by the Government under the Bombay Excise Act was held to be one having the force of law and as if made by the legislature itself. Following these : decisions the Madhya Bharat High Court in State v. Gopal Singh A.I.R. 1956 Madh-B 138, in dealing with the question whether judicial notice of a Government notification can be taken Under Section 57 of the Evidence Act held that:

Judicial notice can, therefore, be taken of a notification issued by the Government or any competent authority in the exercise of delegated power of legislation, as such a notification is a part of the law itself. Judicial notice cannot, however, be taken of a notification issued by any authority in the exercise of its executive functions.

5. So, the question that has to be considered is whether the bye-laws framed under the Madras Commercial1 Crops Markets Act were issued by the Government or any competent authority in exercise of delegated power of legislation.

6. The bye-laws are passed Under Section 19 of the Act which reads as follows:

19(1) Subject to any rules made by the State Government Under Section 18 and, with the previous sanction of the Director of Agriculture, Madras a market committee' may In respect of the notified area for which it was established make bye-laws for the regulation of the business and the conditions of trading therein:

Provided that where a market committee fails to make by-laws under this sub-section within one month from the date of its establishment the Director of Agriculture, Madras, may make such bye-laws as he thinks fit and the bye-laws so made shall remain in operation until the market committee has made bye-laws under this subtraction.2. Any bye-law made under this Section may provide that contravention thereof shall be punishable with fine which may extend to fifty rupees.

The preamble to the bye-laws states that they were framed in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 19 of the Act by the Malabar Market Committee having been approved by the Director of Agriculture as required in Section 19 of the Act aforesaid. It is not disputed before me that the bye-laws were framed by the Malabar Market Committee 'and that the same has been approved by the Director of Agriculture as mentioned in the preamble. The bye-laws were framed by the Committee in the exercise of delegated power of legislation and have the force of Jaw and as such Courts can take judicial notice of them.

7. The next question arising for determination is whether the minutes book which contains the 'resolution authorising the complainant to launch the prosecution in his capacity as the Secretary is a public document as defined in Section 74 of the Indian Evidence Act.

Section 74 of the Evidence Act says that the following documents are public documents

(1) documents forming the acts or records of the acts:

(i) ....

(ii) of official bodies and tribunals, and...

The Market Committee is constituted under the provisions of Section 4(a) of the Act and it is hot disputed that it is an official body Within the definition of Section 74 of the Evidence Act. Section 65(e) permits secondary evidence to be given when the original is a public document within the meaning, of Section 74. Section 77 of the Act permits proof of public documents by production of certified copies. The minutes book was kept as per the provisions of Rule 18 of the Madras Commercial Crops Market Rules, 1948. Hence It is clear that the minutes book which is a record of the proceeding of the meetings of the Market Committee is a public document which could be proved by production of a copy. This is also the view taken by this Court in Criminal Appeal 240 of 1960.

8. The order of acquittal passed on two such erroneous assumptions is unsustainable and has to be set aside. The order is therefore set aside and the accused found guilty under Sees. 25(6) and 25 (18) of the Bye-laws framed under the Madras Commercial Crops Markets Act, XX of 1933 and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 25/- or in default, to suffer simple imprisonment for one week. Time for payment of fine one month from this date.


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