KARUNAKAR MATGAJ AND ANR. Vs. STATE
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
Karunakar Matgaj And Anr.
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S. Acharya, J. -
(1.) THE Petitioners stand convicted under Section 13 of the Orissa Rice Milling Industries Regulation Act, 1958 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act ') and each of them has been sentenced thereunder to S. I. for one month and to pay a fine of Rs. 50/ - each, in default each to undergo S. I. for a further period of 10 days more.
(2.) THE Petitioners were prosecuted for the above offence on the allegation that they were operating a rice huller at Iswarpur without possessing a valid licence for the same. It was also found by the Inspector of Civil Supplies that they were actually milling paddy on the date of detection. It is contended by Mr. Mohanty, the learned Counsel for the Petitioners, that in view of the provisions of Section 15 of the Act the trial Court could Dot have taken cognizance of the alleged offence against the accused persons, as the prosecution report in respect of this case was not filed by the licensing officer, and it is not established in this case that P.W. 4, who actually filed the prosecution report, had the authority of the Central Government or the licensing officer to file that prosecution report.
Section 15 of the Act is as follows:
15. Cognizance of offence -
No Court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act except on a report in writing of the facts constituting such offence made by the licensing officer or any person duly authorised by the Central Government or the licensing officer in this behalf.
P.W. 4 states that he filed the prosecution report. The prosecution report at page 7 of the lower Court records is in pencil. The signature in ink on the second page of that report has not been proved. P.W. 4 however states in his deposition that he filed the prosecution report in this case. So it can be said that he possibly filed the said prosecution report. In that prosecution report there is no averment to the effect that the person who filed the said report was the licensing officer as defined in Section 3 read with Section 4 of the Act, or that the said report was filed after obtaining the authority required under Section 15 of the Act. P.W. 4 does not state in his deposition that he was the licensing officer or that he filed the prosecution report after obtaining the authority required under Section 15 of the Act. There is also no other evidence on record to establish any of the above requirements.
(3.) THE learned Additional Standing Counsel appearing for the State drew my attention to two documents in the lower Court record. These documents have not been marked as exhibits in the case. Though one of them appear& to be an authority enabling P.W. 4 to file the prosecution report in writing in this case, the signatures in the said document have not been proved, and it does not bear the seal of any Government department. P.W. 4 does not even say that on the authority of that document he filed the prosecution report. Moreover, that document purports to have been issued by the Subdivisional Officer, Nilgiri in exercise of powers conferred on him by Section 15 of the Act read with notification No. 26151 dated 2 -10 -1959 of the Government of Orissa, Supply Department. From the notification No. 26151 dated 2 -10 -1959 published by the Government of Orissa in the 'Hand Book ' of Acts, Rules and Control Orders of Central and State Governments relating to Civil Supplies Administration in Orissa, it is seen that only the Collectors of the districts within their respective jurisdiction and the Deputy Director of Food Supplies, Orissa, had been empowered for the entire State of Orissa as licensing officers under the Act. There is nothing on record to show that the said Subdivisional Officer or the Subdivisional Officers in general had, by any other notification, been appointed 'licensing officer ' under the Act, and nothing also has been shown as to under what authority the said Subdivisional Officer, if at all, issued the said authority. The other document (letter No. 104 -CS dated 22 -1 -1975) purports to be a letter issued by the Subdivisional Officer, Nilgiri forwarding the prosecution report with its enclosures to the Subdivisional Magistrate (Judicial), Nilgiri. That letter has also not been proved in accordance with law. Moreover, that document does not authorise P.W. 4 to file the prosecution report. Neither P.W. 4 nor any other prosecution witness at all refers to the above -mentioned two documents in their deposition in Court.;
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