Decided on July 10,1953

P.P.KUTTI KEYA Appellant


Venkatarama Aiyar, J. - (1.) The common question of law that is raised in these petitions is whether the Madras Commercial Crops Markets Act 20 of 1933 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) and the rules framed thereunder have become void and unenforceable as being repugnant to the Constitution. In C. M. P. No. 13169 of 1950 the facts are that the Government of Madras in exercise of the powers conferred on them by Section 2 (i-a) of the Act issued on 27-6-1949 a notification declaring cocoanuts, copra and arecanuts as commercial crops. On 15-11-1949, a further notification was made under Section 4 of the Act declaring the district of Malabar as notified area under the Act in respect of the above commodities. In May 1950, a Market Committee was constituted under Section 4-A of the Act and on 26-11-1950 and 27-11-1950 the Committee published certain notices marked as Exs. A, B, B-1 and B. 2 and it is the Validity of these notices that is in question in this petition. Exhibit A provides that the merchants must, in order to do business in cocoanuts, copra and arecanuts, obtain licences on payment of fees as provided therein and register their names with the Market Committee and that they should execute an agreement undertaking to do business in accordance with the terms contained therein. Exhibit B is the form of the agreement to be executed by the merchants in favour of the Market Committee; Clause 2 thereof provides that the licencee should "confine his purchases and sales to the licensed premises." Exhibit B. 1 is the application form for obtaining licences for selling and buying and Ex. B. 2, for storing and processing the commodities. The place or places where the business is to be carried on are to be specified. The petitioner is a merchant carrying on business as purchaser and seller of cocoanuts, copra and arecanuts in Calicut in the district of Malabar and his contention is that the Act and the Rules are repugnant to the Constitution and have become void & that accordingly a writ of mandamus should be issued prohibiting the respondents from enforcing them, as threatened in their notice.
(2.) The petitioners in W. P. No. 854 of 1952 are merchants carrying on business in tobacco at various places in the District of East Godavari. On 1-11-1948, the Government notified the area under Section 4 of the Act in respect of tobacco; & on 5-12-1950, a further notification was made under Section 4-A, establishing a Market Committee. On 3-9-1952, the Committee issued a notice to the petitioners that they should obtain a licence under Rule 48 and that in default, they would be prosecuted under the Act. The validity of this notice is challenged on grounds similar to those put forward in C. M. P. NO. 13169 of 1950.
(3.) The petitioners in W. P. No. 75 of 1953 are merchants carrying on business in cotton and they are also trustees of a charity known as "Virudhunagar Nadar Abhivridhi Panjikadai mahimai" which owns a market in Vridhunagar available for use by all merchants. On 5-6-1951, the Government issued a notification under Section 4 extending the operation of the Act to the district of Ramnad with reference to cotton and groundnuts. On 18-3-1952, a notification was issued under Section 4-A of the Act appointing a Market Committee, with directions that they should establish markets in Virudhunagar, Rajapalayam and Sattur. On 9-1-1953, the market Committee issued a notice that the Acts and rules had come into operation on 1-1-1953 that persons who did business in cotton & groundnuts should take out licences as provided therein & that in default actions will be taken against them. A further notice dated 17-1-1953 required that licences should, on pain of prosecution, be taken on or before 15-2-1953. The petitioners have taken out this application both as merchants and trustees of the charity aforesaid for a Writ prohibiting the respondents from enforcing the provisions of the Act and the rules on the ground that they are repugnant to the Constitution and void.;

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