Decided on September 12,1950

STATE Respondents


- (1.) THIS application under Section 23, Press (Emergency Powers) Act, XXIII [23] of 1931, is directed against a notification issued by the Chief Commissioner, Delhi, on 5-4-1950, by which it was declared that all copies of a book entitled "now It Can be Told" were forfeited. The forfeiture was ordered on the ground that the book contained "matter of the nature described in Clause (h) of Sub-section (1) of Section 4" of Act XXIII [23] of 1931 to which I shall hereafter refer as the Act. The petitioner is the author of this offending book and seeks to set aside the order of forfeiture
(2.) BEFORE stating the arguments advanced in support of the petition it is necessary to quote the notification of the Chief Commissioner. It is in the following terms: Notification S. 8 (41) 50 Press. In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 19, Press (Emergency Powers) Act, 1931, the Chief Commissioner, Delhi, hereby declares to be forfeited to. His Majesti, all copies, wherever found of the book in English "now IT CAN BE TOLD", written by Shri A. N. Bali, published by Akaslivani Prakashan Ltd. , Gopalnagar Jullundur City (Punjab), and printed at the Bharat Mudranalaya, Delhi Gate, Delhi, and all other documents containing copies or translations of, or extracts from the aforesaid book inasmuch as it contains matter of the nature described in Clause (h) of Sub-section (1) of Section 4 of the said Act. Shankar Pra 5-4-1950. Chief Commiss Delhi
(3.) IT will be noticed that the grounds on which forfeiture was ordered are merely a repetition of the phrase employed in Section 19 of the Act. It is farther clear that the copies of the offending book were forfeited to His Majesty. This notification was issued on 5-4-1950 and the present petition was filed on 31-5-1950. On 19-6-1950 an affidavit of the Homo Secretary to the Chief Commissioner, Delhi, was sworn and presented to this Court. In this affidavit the grounds on which forfeiture had boon ordered were amplified and the error in using the expression "his Majesty" instead of the [word "government" in the notification was pointed out. This was obviously done in order to forestall an argument regarding the validity of the notification which it was anticipated would be raised. In fact, the argument was raised and the validity of the notification was challenged on the ground that after 26-1-1950 the expression "his Majesty" had no meaning in reference to anything done in India.;

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