Yahya Ali, J.
1. The petitioner was convicted by the Sub-divisional First Class Magistrate, Koondapur, of offences under Clause 3-A of the Madras Rationing Order, 1943, and Clause 19(b) of the same order and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 1,000 on cash on the two counts. On appeal, the Sessions Judge of South Kanara confirmed the conviction under Clause 3-A and set aside the conviction under Clause 19(b).
2. The contention raised by Mr. V. T. Rangaswami Aiyangar is that having regard to the reasoning employed by the learned Sessions Judge in acquitting the petitioner of the offence under Clause 19(b) of the order he ought to be acquitted under Clause 3-A also. The point made by the learned Sessions Judge in acquitting him under Clause 19(b) was that it appeared from the evidence that to attend to the secular matters concerning the mutt and its properties the petitioner who is the head of the mutt had appointed a manager who was signing the necessary returns and keeping the accounts and that he was the ' authorised establishment ' within the meaning of Clause 19. The definition of ' authorised establishment ' in Clause 2(3) of the Madras Rationing Order includes a person in charge of an establishment authorised under the provisions of Sub-clause (2) of Clause 3. In view of those provisions it was held that a manager was a person in charge of the authorised establishment and he alone could be prosecuted and not the petitioner. The language of Clause 3-A is however different. It reads thus:
No person other than an authorised wholesale distributor shall on or after the rationing date import into or export outside any rationed area any rationed article except under and in accordance with the provisions prescribed by or under this order.
According to the language and spirit of this provision every person other than an authorised wholesale distributor is prohibited from importing into a rationed area any rationed article. The charge against the petitioner was that he imported 2291/2 muras of rice between the 23rd April, 1944, and 14th May, 1944, into Udipi which became a rationed area on the 12th March, 1944. The argument of Rangaswami Aiyangar is that the word used in Section 3-A is 'person' and that word should be understood as meaning a ' person in charge of an authorised establishment ' within the meaning of that expression as defined in Clause 2(3) and that being so, having regard to the finding of the learned Judge that the manager was the person in charge of the authorised establishment and not the petitioner, the same finding should have been given with reference to the count under Clause 3-A. For this purpose he relies upon the charge framed under Clause 3-A that he (the petitioner) being the head and in charge of the Sri Krishnapur Mutt, which is an authorised establishment as per ration authorisation No. 92 imported, etc. Obviously the description given of the petitioner in the charge is a superfluity as no such description is contemplated or required under Clause 3-A though such a description was necessary with reference to Clause 19(b). Under Clause 3-A there can be no doubt that every person other than an authorised wholesale distributor is liable if it is found that he imported rice within the rationed area contrary to the prohibition contained in that section. In the present case there is evidence that rice was imported into the mutt and whether it was done by the principal or by his agent, the manager, the petitioner is liable as the head of the mutt under Clause 3-A. The conviction under Clause 3-A is confirmed. The sentence of Rs. 1,000 appears to be excessive. The contravention of the rule appears to have been committed more by the manager than by the head of the mutt and having regard to the course that the proceedings have taken (the mutt having also come to this Court at some stage previously) it is in my opinion sufficient in the interests of justice to reduce the fine to Rs. 100, in default to suffer simple imprisonment for one month. The excess fine if paid will be refunded.