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Gujarat High Court
Shradha vs District on 21 March, 2011
Author: R.M.Doshit,&Nbsp;
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SCA/3150/1996	 7/ 7	JUDGMENT 
 
 

	

 

IN
THE HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT AT AHMEDABAD
 

 


 

 


 

SPECIAL
CIVIL APPLICATION No. 3150 of 1996
 

 
 
For
Approval and Signature:  
 
HONOURABLE
MS. JUSTICE R.M.DOSHIT
 
=========================================================

 
	  
	 
	  
		 
			 

1
		
		 
			 

Whether
			Reporters of Local Papers may be allowed to see the judgment ?
		
	

 
	  
	 
	  
		 
			 

2
		
		 
			 

To be
			referred to the Reporter or not ?
		
	

 
	  
	 
	  
		 
			 

3
		
		 
			 

Whether
			their Lordships wish to see the fair copy of the judgment ?
		
	

 
	  
	 
	  
		 
			 

4
		
		 
			 

Whether
			this case involves a substantial question of law as to the
			interpretation of the constitution of India, 1950 or any order
			made thereunder ?
		
	

 
	  
	 
	  
		 
			 

5
		
		 
			 

Whether
			it is to be circulated to the civil judge ?
		
	

 

 
=========================================================

 

SHRADHA
PETROLIUM - Petitioner(s)
 

Versus
 

DISTRICT
COLLECTOR & 1 - Respondent(s)
 

=========================================================
 
Appearance
: 
MR
BA SURTI for
Petitioner(s) : 1, 
MS MINI NAIR, AGP for Respondent(s) : 1 -
2. 
=========================================================


 
	  
	 
	  
		 
			 

CORAM
			: 
			
		
		 
			 

HONOURABLE
			MS. JUSTICE R.M.DOSHIT
		
	

 

 
 


 

Date
: 05/10/2007 

 

 
ORAL
JUDGMENT

The
petitioner, a dealer in petrol and diesel, challenges the order dated
2nd February, 1994 made by the District Collector,
Vadodara under Section 6A of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955
(hereinafter referred to as, ?Sthe Act??)
and the order dated 1st January, 1996 made by the State
Government in Revision Application No.161/1994. The petitioner runs a
petrol pump at Vadodara. On
28th March, 1988 he had been given licence
to deal in petrol and diesel. The said licence was valid upto 31st
December, 1992. Since 1st January, 1993 the petitioner
continued to deal in petrol and diesel without the licence. On 1st
December, 1993 the officers of the Civil Supplies Department carried
out inspection at the concerned petrol pump and found that the
petitioner had continued to deal in petrol and diesel without a valid
licence till the date i.e. 1st December, 1993. In view of
the said illegality committed by the petitioner, the articles i.e.
the petrol and the diesel worth Rs.3,05,149=35 in aggregate were
seized. After giving notice to show-cause why the said articles be
not confiscated, the District Collector, by impugned order dated 2nd
February, 1994, ordered confiscation of the seized articles. Feeling
aggrieved, the petitioner preferred Revision Application No.161/1994
before the State Government, which came to be rejected by the Deputy
Secretary to the Government of Gujarat (Civil Supplies Department) on
1st January, 1996. Therefore, the present petition.

It
is not in dispute that petrol and diesel are essential articles
within the meaning of the Act. It is also not in dispute that no
person can legally deal in the essential articles without a valid
licence issued by the concerned authority. Sub-clause (1) of Clause 5
of the Gujarat Essential Articles (Licensing, Control and Stock
Declaration) Order, 1981 (hereinafter referred to as, ?Sthe
Order??) provides, inter alia, that ?SEvery licence granted
under this Order shall be valid for a period of five years from the
1st January of the year in which it is issued and may be
renewed for a period of five years if an application for the renewal
thereof is made within a period of its validity:?? In the
present case, licence was issued to the petitioner on 28th
March, 1988. In accordance with the above sub-clause (1) of Clause 5
of the Order, it was valid for a period of five years from 1st
January, 1988 i.e. upto 31st December, 1992. Admittedly,
the petitioner had not made application for renewal of licence before
its expiry i.e. before 31st December, 1992. According to
the petitioner, it had made application for renewal of licence on
19th April, 1993. The only explanation that came forth
from the petitioner was that as the licence was issued on 28th
March, 1993 he was under impression that the licence was valid for a
period of five years from the date of its issuance i.e. 28th
March, 1988 to 27th March, 1993. The petitioner,
therefore, did not make application for renewal of licence during its
subsistence i.e. prior to 31st December, 1992. However,
such application was made on 19th April, 1993. The said
mistake had occurred on account of ignorance of law and through
oversight. As it was a bonafide mistake, the articles seized should
be released and no order for confiscation be made. Nevertheless, the
District Collector made the impugned order dated 2nd
February, 1994 to confiscate the articles seized on 1st
December, 1993. The said order has been confirmed in Revision
Application by the State Government by impugned order dated 1st
January, 1996.

Mr.Surti
has submitted that the impugned order of confiscation of the articles
is not sustainable. He has submitted that except want of valid
licence, no irregularity was found by the Civil Supplies authority.
Pursuant to the application made on 19th April, 1993, the
licence was renewed with effect from 1st January, 1993. In
support thereof, he has produced a challan indicating licence renewal
fee of Rs.35=00 paid on 24th June, 1993 and a challan
indicating payment of Rs.35=00 made on 2nd December, 1993
for issuance of fresh licence. He has also produced copy of the
licence.

The
said licence was issued on 16th December, 1993 in favour
of one Bharatbhai Ramanbhai Patel and Ramalbhai Shamalbhai Patel. The
said licence to deal in petrol and diesel was given for the period
from 16th December, 1993 to 31st December,
1998. The same has since been renewed for the period from 1st
January, 1999 to 31st December, 2003 and from 1st
January, 2004 to 31st December, 2008. There is nothing on
the record to show that the petitioner was granted licence to deal in
petrol and diesel with retrospective effect from 1st
January, 1993 till 15th December, 1993. Evidently, the
licence which had expired on 31st December, 1992 was not
renewed as the petitioner had not applied for renewal of licence
during its subsistence. Application for a fresh licence was made on
2nd December, 1993 after search and seizure was carried
out on 1st December, 1993.

It
cannot be gainsaid that the petitioner continued to deal in petrol
and diesel without a valid licence from 1st December, 1993
to 16th December, 1993 contrary to the provisions of the
Act and the Order. Section 6A of the Act empowers the Collector to
order confiscation of the seized essential articles in case there has
been a contravention of the order. It is indisputable that the
petitioner did continue to deal in the essential articles namely
petrol and diesel without a valid licence for the period from 1st
January, 1993 to 16th December, 1993.

In
the circumstances, the respondent authority was wholly justified in
directing confiscation of the seized articles. The impugned order,
having been made in exercise of power conferred by the Act, no
interference is warranted. Petition is dismissed with cost. Rule is
discharged. Interim relief stands vacated. The registry shall issue
the writ forthwith.

Mr.Surti
requests that the interim relief be continued for a period of eight
weeks. Request is granted. Interim relief granted pending the
petition be continued for a period of eight weeks from today.

(Ms.

R.M.Doshit, J.)

/moin

   

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