1. Of the present petitioners, one was put up on trial for an offence under Section 3 (1) and the other two for offence under Section 3 (1) read with Section 6, West Bengal Black Marketing Act, 1948. They were all acquitted of the charges. The Special Tribunal, however, passed an order direct, ing forfeiture by the Government of Umbrella Cloth Exs. II to VI in respect of which the offence under the Black Marketing Act was alleged to have been committed. This rule was directed against that order of forfeiture.
2. Mr. Das appearing in support of the rule has contended firstly that the order of forfeitures cannot clearly be made under the provisions of the Black Marketing Act and secondly, that no such order can be passed under the General provisions of Section 517, Criminal P. C. Section 3, Black Marketing Act which provides for the punishment for the offence of black marketing provides further that in addition to any other punishment, the Court before which a person is convicted of the offence of black marketing shall order the forfeiture to Government of the goods or things in respect of which the offence of black marketing was committed or an equivalent quality of the same or like goods or things belonging to the convicted person, or of a sum of money representing their value at the time of the order of forfeiture. Clearly when there has been no conviction, the provisions of this sub-section (viz., sub-s. 3 of Section 3, West Bengal Black Marketing Act) had no application.
3. The only other question is whether the Special Tribunal was competent to order forfeiture under the provisions of Section 517, Criminal P.C. It is contended by Mr. Das and in our opinion rightly that the very fact that the Legislature has made a special provision for forfeiture in case of conviction under the Black Marketing Act, indicates the intention of the legislature that the general provisions of Section 517, Criminal P. C, would not apply in cases under the Black Marketing Act, The correctness of this principle was recognised in connection with orders of forfeiture under the Essential Supplies Act in the case of Kedarnath Agarwalla v. The State, 54 C.W.N. 829, where it was held by a Division Bench of this Court that an order for confiscation could only be made in terms of Section 7 (1), Essential Supplies Act, which provides for confiscation when a particular order has been contravened and when there has been no contravention, no order for confiscation can be made. This decision clearly proceeded on the basis of the view of the law that the general provisions of Section 517, Criminal P. C., will not apply to cases under statutes in which special provisions for forfeiture have been made by the Magistrate. We are, therefore, of opinion that Mr. Das's contention that the order of forfeiture passed by the Special Tribunal is without any basis in law must succeed.
4. We accordingly set aside the order of forfeiture passed by the Special Tribunal and direct that Exs. II to IV be returned to the persons from whom they were seized. The rule is thus made absolute.