HAZARI LAL BHANNA MAL Vs. STATE OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
HIGH COURT OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
Hazari Lal Bhanna Mal
STATE OF HIMACHAL PRADESH
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CHOUDHRY, J. -
(1.) THIS is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution by Messrs. Hazari Lal Bhanna Mal, a firm of cloth merchants at Chamba, for the issue of suitable writs and directions to the respondents, the State of Himachal Pradesh, the District Civil Supplies Officer Chamba, the District Magistrate Chamba and the Director of Civil Supplies Himachal Pradesh, for the enforcement of the fundamental right of carrying on its cloth business, guaranteed by Article 19(1)(g), which is alleged to have been not only unreasonably restricted but totally prohibited by the respondents.
(2.) THE impugned acts of the respondents relate to control of supply and distribution of cloth. The relevant controlling law may therefore be briefly set forth, to begin with. The main enactment, hereinafter referred to as the Act, is the Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act, 1946, and it is in force in Himachal Pradesh. In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of that Act, as delegated to him by the Central Government under Section 4 by means of the Ministry of Industry and Supply Notification No. 90/20 Tex. 1/48(1), dated 16 10 1948, the Chief Commissioner of Himachal Pradesh made three orders in relation to cloth, that being one of the essential commodities covered by the Act. These were the Himachal Pradesh Cloth Distribution Order, 1948, the Himachal Pradesh Cotton Cloth Dealers Licencing Order, 1948, and the Himachal Pradesh Cotton Cloth and Yarn (Regulation of Movements) Order, 1948, all of which came into force on 15 12 1948.
The requisite control is exercised in three ways by means of these Orders. Under the Licencing Order sale of certain kinds of cotton cloth is prohibited except under and in accordance with the conditions of a licence granted under the Order on payment of a certain fee, which is either a wholesale dealer's licence or a retail dealer's licence. Under the Distribution Order the maximum wholesale and retail prices are fixed and a person or class of persons or the public generally can be prohibited from obtaining cloth except under, and upto the maximum quantity mentioned in, a 'distribution document'. Under the Movements Order both inter State and intra State movement of cloth can be prohibited except under a permit issued by a permit issuing authority. For purposes of this case only the other two Orders are relevant.
(3.) THE Government of India's scheme of distribution of cloth has been that controlled cloth manufactured by the mills is placed under the control of the Textile Commissioner, each State is allotted a quota, and, under orders of release issued by the Textile Commissioner, that quota is lifted by the nominee of the State. The lifted quota would then be passed on to the wholesale dealer, who might himself be the nominee, and then get distributed to the consumers through the retail dealers.;
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