SAT PAL GUPTA Vs. STATE OF HARYANA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PUNJAB & HARYANA)
SAT PAL GUPTA
STATE OF HARYANA
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Chandrachud, C. J. -
(1.) The appellants, in this appeal by special leave, are dealers in rice, paddy and rice bran. They also have an associate rice milling and husking plant which is run under the name and style of Jagdamba Rice Mills, Traori.
(2.) Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 10 of 1955, empowers the Central Government, under the circumstances stated in that section, to issue notified orders providing for the regulation of production, supply and distribution of any essential commodity. Under S. 5, the Central Government can delegate its powers to a State Government or an officer or authority subordinate to it. In exercise of that power, the Central Government issued a notification on July 24, 1967 delegating to the State Governments the power conferred upon it by S. 3 of the Act. In exercise of such delegated power, respondent 1, the State of Haryana, promulgated the Haryana Rice Bran (Distribution and Price) Control Order, 1967. Clause 3 of the said Order provides that no dealer or owner of a rice mill shall sell or offer to sell or supply rice bran save against a permit granted by the Director, Food and Supplies, or the District Magistrate or any other officer authorised by the Director in that behalf. The appellants filed a writ petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. challenging Cl. 3 of the aforesaid Control Order, on the ground that rice bran is not an essential commodity and, therefore, the power conferred by S. 3 of the Act cannot be exercised for the purpose of regulating its sale or supply. This contention has been negatived by the High Court.
(3.) It is true that the power conferred by S. 3 (1) of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, can be exercised by the Central Government or its delegate, only if it is of the opinion that it is necessary or expedient to provide for the regulation of any 'essential commodity'. The only sub-clauses of S. 2 (a) which are relevant for the purpose of deciding whether rice bran is an essential commodity, are sub-cls. (i) and (v). Sub-cl. (i) of S. 2 (a) defines an 'essential commodity' to mean "cattle fodder, including oilcakes and other concentrates". By sub-cl. (v). an 'essential commodity' means "foodstuffs including edible oilseeds and oils". If rice bran is either cattle fodder or foodstuff, it would be an essential-commodity and the Central Government or its delegate, the State Government, would have the power to regulate its production, supply and distribution, and trade and commerce therein.;
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