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The State of Himachal Pradesh and ors. Vs. Himachal Rice Mills - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtHimachal Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.C.A. No. 6 of 1976 and C.M.P. No. 271 of 1976
Judge
Reported inAIR1977HP12
ActsConstitution of India - Article 133(1); ;Himachal Pradesh Rice Procurement (Price Control) Order, 1974 - Section 3(3B); ;Essential Commodities Act
AppellantThe State of Himachal Pradesh and ors.
RespondentHimachal Rice Mills
Appellant Advocate B. Sita Ram, Adv. General and; D.K. Khanna, Adv.
Respondent Advocate B.R. Tuli and; Chhabil Dass, Advs.
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredNewDelhi Municipal Committee v. State of Andhra Pradesh
Excerpt:
- .....pradesh. by one notification the governor had promulgated the himachal pradesh rice procurement (price control) order, 1974, and under clause 3 thereof the procurement price for raw and boiled rice of the varieties specified in column 1 of the schedule to be procured from any dealer by the state government was not to exceed the price specified in column 2 thereof with respect to each variety. by the other notification the governor promulgated the himachal pradesh rice procurement levy order, 1974. under clause 3 of that levy order every licenced miller was required to sell to the state government or the agencies nominated by the government at the controlled price (a) 85% of the quantity of rice held in stock by him at the commencement of this order, and (b) 85% of the total quantity of.....
Judgment:

C.R. Thakur, J.

1. M/s. Himachal Rice Mills, Thakurdwara, Nurpur, filed awrit petition challenging the validity of two notifications dated November 4, 1974, issued by the Governor of Himachai Pradesh. By one notification the Governor had promulgated the Himachal Pradesh Rice Procurement (Price Control) Order, 1974, and under Clause 3 thereof the procurement price for raw and boiled rice of the varieties specified in column 1 of the Schedule to be procured from any dealer by the State Government was not to exceed the price specified in column 2 thereof with respect to each variety. By the other notification the Governor promulgated the Himachal Pradesh Rice Procurement Levy Order, 1974. Under Clause 3 of that Levy Order every licenced miller was required to sell to the State Government or the agencies nominated by the Government at the controlled price (a) 85% of the quantity of rice held in stock by him at the commencement of this order, and (b) 85% of the total quantity of rice milled, produced or manufactured by him out of his own stock of paddy in his rice mill every day beginning with the date of commencement of this order until such time as the State Government otherwise directed. While allowing the writ petition on December 1, 1975, this Court held, inter alia, that the procurement price fixed by the Himachal Pradesh Rice Procurement (Price Control) Order could not be described as the 'controlled price' of rice within the meaning of Section 3 (3B) (i) of the Essential Commodities Act, and therefore recourse had to be had to Section 3 (3B) (ii) of the Act for determining the price payable to the petitioner. The Court observed that the Procumement Order did not show how the purchase price mentioned in the Schedule to that Order had been fixed and whether it complied with Section 3(3B) (ii) of the Essential Commodities Act. The Court, therefore, quashed the Procurement (Price Control) order fixing the procurement price so far as it affected the varieties of foodgrain held by the petitioner in its stock.

2. The State has now filed this petition under Article 133 (1) of the Constitution for a certificate to file an appeal to the Supreme Court. The requirements for the grant of a certificate as provided under the aforesaid Article are (a) that the case involves a substantial question of law of general importance and (b) that in the opinion of the High Court the said question needs to be decided by the Supreme Court.

3. A preliminary objection has been raised by the respondent. It is pointed out that the petitioner has not specifically indicated what is the question of law of general importance which needs to be decided by the Supreme Court. The respondent contends that the petition must therefore, be rejected. Reliance is placed on Raja Bahadur Motilal Bombay Mills Ltd. v Life Insurance Corporation of India, AIR 1973 Bom 24. The learned Advocate General submits that the petition for certificate read with the proposed grounds of appeal makes it manifestly clear what is the substantial question of law of general importance. In our opinion, the learned Advocate General is right. The question of law in respect of which the certificate is sought clearly appears from the petition and the proposed grounds of appeal. The question is whether the procurement price fixed by the Himachal Pradesh Rice Procurement (Price Control) Order 1974 can be described as the controlled price of rice and, therefore, whether the case falls under; Clause (i) or Clause (ii) of Sub-section (3B) of Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, and in case it falls under Clause (ii) then whether the provisions of that clause have been satisfied by the procurement price mentioned in the order. The preliminary objection fails. It seems to us that this is a substantial question of law of general importance. It affects not only the petitioner, but also all cases where the State Government procures rice from other dealers.

4. It is also urged for the respondent that even if the question be described as a substantial question of law of general importance it is not necessary that it should be decided by the Supreme Court, Reference has been made to NewDelhi Municipal Committee v. State of Andhra Pradesh, AIR 1976 Delhi 1. As we have observed, the question is of great importance for all dealers in the State and is a controversial one There is no direct decision by the Supreme Court on the point. We are of opinion that a decision by the Supreme Court is called for.

5. Accordingly we hold that the case raised a substantial question of law of general importance which needs to be decided by the Supreme Court. A certificate under Article 133 (1) of the Constitution is granted accordingly.


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