Decided on July 25,1946

EMPEROR Appellant

Referred Judgements :-



Leonard Stone, Kt. , C. J. - (1.)THIS is an appeal from a judgment of the learned Presidency Magistrate, Second Additional Court, Mazagaon, delivered on February 27, 1946, whereby he convicted both the appellants of an offence under one of the notifications with regard to supplies made under Rule 81 (4) of the Defence of India Rules, 1939, and he imposed a fine on appellant No.1, which is a company, of Rs. 10,000 and on appellant No.2, who is the branch manager of the company in Bombay, of Rs. 1,000 and in default two months' simple imprisonment.
(2.)THE question involved is an extremely short one, though it is by no means free from difficulty. THE notification which it is alleged has been infringed is dated May 21, 1943, and it bears the No.48-IV, and it is in these terms: In exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-rule (2) of Rule 81 of the Defence of India Rules, the Government of Bombay is pleased to direct that no person holding on his own account, or on account of, or in partnership with any other person, any stocks of groundnuts (in shell) and groundnut seeds exceeding 5 Bengal Maunds in quantity at any godown or other place of storage in the City of Bombay or in the Bombay Suburban District, shall remove from the said godown or place or dispose of the said stocks or any portion thereof, without the written permission of the Government of Bombay.
What happened was that in the month of March, 1945, this company, which held large stocks of groundnuts, having got a permit, to which 1 will presently refer, to crush 3,200 bags of groundnuts, in fact crushed an additional 12,595 bays, and it is alleged thereby committed an offence under this notification.

Now the effect of crushing groundnuts is to separate the oil from the solid matter and it results in two commodities with no residual waste, that is to say oil and what are known as "seed cakes. " It is alleged by the learned Advocate General on behalf of Government that the appellant, thereby "disposed of" these 12,595 bags of groundnuts, We have had the advantage of an extremely able argument on both sides during the course of which we have been referred to various dictionary meanings of the expression "dispose of", from which it appears that the primary meaning is "to alienate", "to sell"' or "to transfer", whereas the secondary meaning of "dispose of" is "to get rid of" or "to part with", in the sense of bringing something to an end or causing it to cease to exist.

(3.)QUITE clearly if the words in this notifiaction are to be construed in the sense of their primary meaning "to alienate" or "to sell" or "to transfer", no offence has been committed; on the other hand, if they are to be construed in the sense of "getting rid of", then it could not be said that the appellants, after they had crushed these 12,595 bags, still had in stock 12,595 bags of groundnuts in shell.
Dealing with the construction of emergency legislation, Viscount Maughan in the well known case of Liversidge v. Sir John Anderson [1942] A. C. 206, said this (p. 219) : My Lords, I think we should approach the construction of reg. 18b of the Defence (General) Regulations without any general presumption as to its meaning except the universal presumption, applicable to Orders in Council and other like instruments, that, if there is a reasonable doubt as to the meaning of the words used, we should prefer a construction which will carry into effect the plain intention of those responsible for the Order in Council rather than which will defeat that intention.


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