D.L. Mehta, J.
1. Courts are facing trial and the economic offences are on the increase, Grant of bail is a rule and refusal is an exception under the ordinary law. However, with regard to the economic offences, the position is quite different wherein refusal of bail should generally be a rule and grant of bail should be an acception. The economy of the nation is at stake. People arc starving and there is scarcity of essential commodities. The persons who are dealing in essential commoditities have taken the nation's economy in their hands & are converting the black money into white money. With a view to curb this tendency, the Legislature in its wisdom has amended the Essential Commodities Act from time to time, but failed to achieve the object. Keeping in view the failure and to achieve some results, the Essential Commodities (Special Provision) Act, l96l has been enacted. Special Courts have been created under the said Act and the general law of granting bail under Section 437 and 439, Cr. PC has been given a go-by. Section 12AA of the Act reads as under:
12AA. Offences triable by Special Courts:
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code:
(a) all offences under this Act shall be triable only by the Special Court constituted for the area in which the offence has been committed or where there are more Special Courts than one lor such area, by such one of them as may be specified in this behalf by the High Court;
(b) where a person accused of or suspected of the commission of an offence under this Act is forwarded to a Magistrate under sub-sec (2) or sub-s.(2-A) of Sections 167 of the Code, such Magistrate may authorise the detention of such person in such Custody as he thinks fit for a period not exceeding fifteen days in the whole where such Magistrate is a Judicial Magistrate and seven days in the whole where such Magistrate is an Executive Magistrate;
XXX XXX XXX(c) the Special Court may, subject to the provisions of clause (d) of this sub-section, exercise, in relation to the person forwarded to it under clause (b), the same power which a Magistrate having jurisdiction to try a case may exercise under Section 167 of the Code in relation to an accused person in such case who has been forwarded to him under that section;
(d) save as aforesaid no person accused of or suspected of the commission of an offence under this Act shall be released on bail by any court other than a Special Court or the High Court;
Provided that a Special Court shall not release any such personon bail:
(i) without giving the prosecution an opportunity to oppose the application for such release unless the special Court, for reasons to be recorded in writing, is of opinion that it is not practicable to give such opportunity; and
(ii) where the prosecution opposes the application, if the Special Court is satisfied that there appear reasonable grounds for believing that he has been guilty of the offence concerned;
Provided further that the Special Court may direct that any such person may be released on bail if he is under the age of sixteen years or is woman or is a sick or infirm person, or if the Special Court is satisfied that it is just and proper to do so for any other special reason to be recorded in writing.
2. The learned Public Prosecutor has opposed the bail application and invited the attention of the Court to the prevailing condition in the country. He submits that there is a prima facie case against the accused-petitioner, which is on record. He further submits that if the Court is satisfied that there appears to be reasonable ground for believing that the accused petitioners are guilty of the offence charged and that there are reasonable grounds that the provisions of the Act will not apply, the bail application should be rejected.
3. Mr. Garg, appearing on behalf of the accused-petitioners' submits that the petitioners are of tender age and there is no prima facie case against the petitioner. It has come on record that Pawan Kumar had 20 Kattas of cement in his shop with word 'levy' written on them. It is a further alleged that he sold those 20 Kattas for a sum of Rs. @ 1200/- which is for exceeding the puce of levy. There are also the statements of Motilal and Mangi Lal in the matter. There is evidence also against the accused-petitioner, Vipin Behari, that he was a contractor in the Housing Board and he was given levy cement for construction purposes. Out of the cement supplied to him he sold 25 Kattas to Pawan Kumar.
4. Taking a conspectus picture of the case, I think that the Court below was justified in rejecting the bail apalication of the accused petitioner.
5. So far as the question of tender age of the accused-petitioners is concerned, it is rot so. Even if it is so, Section 12AA provides that the , person below the age of sixteen could be released on bail. But, it is not an admitted position that both the accused-petitioners are below the age of 16 years. There is no allegation that they are infirm or sick. So the provision of the Act does not apply so far as the present accused-petitioners are concerned. I consider if proper also in the prevailing economic condition of the nation that such person against whom there are prima facie allegations, should not be given a free hand in the society so as to save the nation and nations economy.
6. Keeping in view all these cicumstances, the rule of law that the grant of hail should be an exception in such matters and rejection a rule of law, I reject the bail application of the accused petitioners.