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Patna High Court
Subhash Kumar Agarwal vs State Of Bihar And Ors. on 13 September, 2000
Equivalent citations: 2000 (48) BLJR 2405, 2001 CriLJ 415
Author: D N Prasad
Bench: D N Prasad


ORDER

Deoki Nandan Prasad, J.

1. This application under Section 482, Cr.P.C. has been filed for quashing of the entire criminal prosecution in connection with Jharia PS Case No. 286 of 1998 registered under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act.

2. The short facts giving rise to this application is that one Rakesh Verma, Supply Inspector, Jharia inspected the shop of the petitioner on 29-8-1999 at about 12 noon and found the following irregularities :

(i) No Board was found displayed;

(ii) 660 Kg and 22 tins having 330 litres edible oil including Vanaspati were found stored; and

(iii) ten quintals of sugar also found stored;

For the aforesaid articles, neither the licence nor the purchase vouchers were shown by the petitioner. Accordingly, the FIR was lodged.

3. The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner submitted that the petitioner is a Retail licensee in foodgrains and edible oil having licence No. 17/JPA/90 and the renewal fee in respect thereof for the year 1999 has already been deposited by the petitioner and without verifying this fact, this false case has been registered against the petitioner. It is further argued that the Central Government delegated its power to the State Government vide GSR-800 dated 9th June, 1978 in relation to food stock, subject to the condition that the said delegated powers may be exercised by the State Government as per direction issued by the Central Government in this behalf, and in exercise of the said delegation the State of Bihar enacted Bihar Trade Articles (Licences Unification) Order, 1984. It is further argued that by the said Notification No. GSR 49 dated 17-10-1985, the storage limit was fixed in respect of B Class and C Class cities which have not been defined anywhere in the Unification Order in respect of a particular trade and as such the said Unification Order is not workable. It is also argued that the Central Government made certain amendment in the Central Order by deleting certain provisions in respect of edible oils and edible oil seeds vide S.O., 772(E) dated 10-11-1997 and the words edible oil and edible oil seeds were deleted from the Central Order, 1977 and as such no licence is required for dealing with the edible oil or edible oil seeds.

It is further argued that the petitioner is the owner of only five quintals of sugar which he had purchased from M/s. Deo Bhandar, Agricultural Produce Market Yard, Barwadda vide Cash Memo No. 1121 dated 28-8-1998 and the petitioner’s brother, namely, Murari Agarwal, who is also a petty dealer and whose shop is situated near the shop of the petitioner and is carrying on business under the name of M/s. Krishna Traders and he had purchased six bags of sugar weighing 5 quintals from M/s. Deo Bhandar vide Cash Memo No. 1124 dated 28-8-1998 and as such there is no violation of any Order of the Essential Commodities Act as well as sanction as required under the provisions of Section 6 of the Bihar Essential Articles (Display of Prices and Stocks) Order, 1977, has not been obtained before initiation of the prosecution which is essential for the prosecution and as such there is no violation of the provisions of the Display Order.

4. On the other hand, the learned J.C. to G.P.I. contended before me that the edible oils as well as sugar weighing 10 quintals were recovered and seized from the shop of the petitioner and the petitioner did not produce any document in respect of the seized articles and there is no illegality in initiation of the prosecution against the petitioner.

5. Undoubtedly, by Notification No. S.O. 772(E) dated 10th November, 1977, the Central Government omitted the words edible oil and edible oil seeds in exercise of the power conferred by Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. It is evident that the Class-B and Class-C cities have not been defined and it has been held in the case of Vijay Kumar v. State of Bihar, reported in (1992) 1 Pat LJR 605 and also in the unreported judgment of this Court dated 24-6-1996 in Cr. Misc. No. 1045 of 1987 (R) that Unification Order is not workable for the reason that Class-B and Class-C cities have not been defined in the Unification order.

6. As regards the sugar said to have been seized, it has specifically been stated that five quintals sugar belonged to the petitioner whereas the rest five quintals belonged to his brother and for which respective receipt have also been filed vide Annexure-3. It further appears from Annexure-2/1 that the said Amendment made by the Central Government by S.O. 772(E) dated 10th November, 1977, the State Govt. also circulated the said Notification to all the concerned of the district vide letter No. 283A dated 14-6-1998. Obviously, there is no sanction obtained in the instant case before initiation of the prosecution as required under the proviso of Section 6 of the Display Order, The proviso of Section 6 reads as follows :

No prosecution shall lie against a person for contravention of any of the provision of this Order unless the same has been sanctioned by the District Magistrate or Special Officer-in-charge, Rationing or Additional District Magistrate Supply or Sub-Divisional Magistrate within limits of their respective local jurisdiction.

7. There appears that sanction by the competent authority as laid down under the proviso is essential for prosecuting any person against the violation of the Display of Prices and Stocks Order, 1977, which is lacking in the instant case.

8. Having regard the whole facts and circumstances of the case, coupled with the discussions made above, I find merit in the application, which is accordingly allowed. Thus, the entire criminal proceeding in connection with Jharia PS Case No. 286 of 1998 against the petitioner (Subhash Kumar Agarwal) only is quashed.


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