Food grains are synonymous not only with cereals but pulses as well, the Delhi High Court has held.
The ruling came on a plea challenging a Delhi government notification which exempted vehicles carrying food grains from the Environment Compensation Charge (ECC), but not those transporting pulses.
Disagreeing with the government’s stand, Justice Vibhu Bakhru said, “The word grains in the context of food stuffs would obviously imply food grains and the said term plainly includes pulses. There is no basis to assume that the expression food grains are synonymous to cereals”.
“Vehicles carrying pulses would not be subject to levy of ECC,” the court said.
It reasoned that pulses fall under the category of food stuffs as per the Essential Commodities Act and the Supreme Court in October 2015 had held that vehicles carrying essential commodities, including food stuffs would be exempted from the ECC.
It said that even Government of India treats pulses as a part of food grains in the data published in this regard.
“On the website of Government of India, data.gov.in, the statistics pertaining to the ‘Agricultural production of different food grains from year 2003 to 2014 at all India level’ includes data pertaining to production of pulses,” the court said.
The observations of the court came in its judgement on a plea by an association representing food processing industries which was aggrieved by the collection of the ECC from vehicles carrying pulses by the toll agencies.
The Delhi government had claimed during the proceedings that “the expression food grains is used interchangeably and the term grains would not include pulses”.
Rejecting the argument, the court said, “In terms of logic, this is akin to a fallacy of ‘illicit major’ — a formal fallacy in categorical syllogism that arises because a major term is undistributed in the major premise but distributed in the conclusion (All A are B; no C are A; therefore, no C are B).
“For example, all dogs are mammals; no cats are dogs; therefore, no cat is a mammal,” it said.
“Whilst, it is correct that cereals are food grains, however, that does not mean that pulses are not. Food grains, is a larger group and would include both cereals and pulses,” the court also said.
( Source – PTI )