Skip to content


Md. Zazmul Ahasen Vs. State of West Bengal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberC.R. No. 10811 (W) of 1981
Judge
Reported inAIR1982Cal546
ActsEssential Commodities Act, 1955 - Sections 3 and 7; ;West Bengal Food Grains Control Order, 1951; ;Constitution of India - Article 226
AppellantMd. Zazmul Ahasen
RespondentState of West Bengal and ors.
Appellant AdvocateJ. Islam, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateM.K. Ghosh, Adv.
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredMahabir Prasad v. State of U. P..
Excerpt:
- .....framed by the west ben-bal government for distribution of foodstuffs to consumers and runs a modified ration shop in dhalhara, p.s. tandu, midnapore. the petitioner is working as a modified ration dealer since 17th may, 1967.2. the petitioner's licence was renewed from time to time. the last such renewal was on 5th sept., 1975, and the licence was valid up to 4th sept., 1980.3. on or about 18th july, 1980, the circle inspector, food and supplies, tamuluk and the inspector of food and supplies, tamuluk, the respondents nos. 6 and 7 herein visited the shop of the petitioner for inspection. it is alleged that during inspection the petitioner could not produce hooks of accounts relating to rationed commodities. stock books, daily sales register, non-drawal register and cash memos could.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Suhas Chandra Sen, J.

1. The petitioner, Modammad Zazmal Ahasen, is a modified Ration Dealer under the Scheme framed by the West Ben-bal Government for distribution of foodstuffs to consumers and runs a modified Ration Shop in Dhalhara, P.S. Tandu, Midnapore. The petitioner is working as a modified Ration Dealer since 17th May, 1967.

2. The petitioner's licence was renewed from time to time. The last such renewal was on 5th Sept., 1975, and the licence was valid up to 4th Sept., 1980.

3. On or about 18th July, 1980, the Circle Inspector, Food and Supplies, Tamuluk and the Inspector of Food and Supplies, Tamuluk, the respondents Nos. 6 and 7 herein visited the shop of the petitioner for inspection. It is alleged that during inspection the petitioner could not produce hooks of accounts relating to rationed commodities. Stock Books, Daily Sales Register, Non-drawal Register and Cash Memos could not be produced for the period of six months up to 19th July, 1980. On enquiry from the Ration-card-holders present in the shop it was discovered that the petitioner did not issue any Cash Memos to consumers and books of accounts were not maintained. The petitioner was given time for production of books of accounts in the Office of the Sub-Divisional Controller (Food and Supplies), Tamuluk, the respondent No. 5 herein. The petitioner appeared in person but did not produce the books of accounts. On 22nd July, 1980, the petitioner produced books of accounts relating to the period 17th July,1980, to 20th July, 1980, but the books of accounts prior to that period were not produced. There was a further allegation that the petitioner had inflated falsely the quantity of rationed commodities distributed by the petitioner in his weekly returns and that the petitioner had shown bogus distribution and had made unauthorised disposal of stocks of modified rationed commodities. A notice to show cause why the dealership of the petitioner should not be terminated was issued by the respondent No. 5 on 28th July, 1980. On 29th August, 1980, the petitioner submitted a detailed reply in which he dealt with the allegation made against him in the show cause notice point by point.

4. The petitioner also made a writ petition challenging the proceedings commenced by the Sub-Divisional Controller (Food and Supplies), Tamuluk, the respondent No. 5 herein. The said writ petition was disposed of by D.K. Sen J. on 9th Sept., 1980. By his order D.K. Sen J. gave liberty to the respondents to continue with the proceedings initiated by the show cause notice but the order of suspension was stayed till disposal of the said proceedings. Thereafter on 25th Sept., 1981, the Sub-Divisional Controller (Food and Supplies), Tamuhik, by an order dated 25th Sept., 1981, with the approval of the District Magistrate, Midnapore, cancelled the modified ration agreement/dealership under para 17 of the agreement. The order was made effective from 28th Sept., 1981.

5. The petitioner in the writ petition made herein has challenged the legality and validity of the order dated 28th Sept., 1981, passed by the respondent No. 5. The petitioner has urged that the respondents have acted mala fide against the petitioner and the respondents have stopped supply of modified ration articles to the petitioner on and from 22nd July, 1980, even before the show cause notice was issued. It was further alleged that no fresh notice of hearing was given and the impugned order was passed without giving an opportunity of being heard to the petitioner.

6. Supply of foodstuff was resumed to the petitioner on 25th Aug., 1980. The petitioner applied on 12th Aug., 1980, for two months' time to reply to the show cause notice. On 29th Aug., 1980, the petitioner submitted his answers to the show cause notice and thereafter the case was heard.

7. In view of the aforesaid facts it cannot be said that the respondents have acted mala fide or that the petitioner was not given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause in this case.

8. The petitioner has also urged that the impugned order is not a speaking order. Although the charges have been dealt with in detail by the petitioner, the respondents had merely held 'But after careful consideration of your written explanation it appears that your reply to the aforesaid charges are fully unsatisfactory. Also at the time of personal hearing you failed to refute any of the charges framed against you.' Although the charges have been set out in detail the petitioner's reply to the said charges have not been set out nor dealt with anywhere in the order.

9. In my opinion, the petitioner should succeed on this point. The respondent No. 5 did not give any reason why he held the charges proved and the explanations given by the petitioner unacceptable. The Supreme Court in the case of Mahabir Prasad v. State of U. P.. ATR 1970 SC 1302 observed at pages 1303-1304 'The case discloses a disturbing state of affairs. The Authorities have disclosed by their conduct a reckless disregard of the rights of the appellants. The order passed by the District Magistrate cancelling the licences was quasi-judicial; it could be made only on a consideration of the charges and the explanation given by the appellants. That necessarily implied that the District Magistrate had to give some reasons why he held the charges proved, and the explanation unacceptable.'

10. S. A. de Smith in his Judicial Review of Administrative Action, Third Edition, has stated at p. 197 'Unless the licensee has already been given to understand when he was granted the licence that renewal is not to be expected, non-renewal may seriously upset his plans, cause him economic loss and perhaps cast a slur on his reputation.'

11. In this case serious allegations have been made against the petitioner in the show cause notice. The petitioner has answered the allegations point by point. The respondent No. 5 should have given some reasons in his order for coming to the conclusion that the petitioner's explanation was not acceptable.

12. In the facts and circumstances of this case the impugned order dated 28th Sept., 1981, is quashed. The rule is made absolute. The respondents will, however, be at liberty to pass a fresh order in accordance with law in this case.

13. The respondents are directed to resume supply of ration articles to the peti-tioner immediately. Where will be no order as to costs.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //