SHIBSHANKAR DOKANIA OIL RICE AND FLOUR MILLS BARHARWA Vs. STATE OF BIHAR
HIGH COURT OF PATNA
SHIBSHANKAR DOKANIA OIL, RICE AND FLOUR MILLS, BARHARWA
STATE OF BIHAR
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Nagendra Prasad Singh, J. -
(1.)The petitioner in this writ application has questioned the authority of the respondent Sub-divisional Officer who has issued notices to the petitioner directing him to deliver rice to the Bihar State Food and Civil Supplies Corporation in accordance with the provisions of the Bihar Rice and Paddy Procurement Order, 1980 (hereinafter to be referred to as 'the Procurement Order').
(2.)The petitioner owns and runs a single huller rice mill. It is the case of the petitioner that on 15-1-1980 he was served with a notice issued by the respondent Sub-divisional Officer stating therein that according to the aforesaid Procurement Order the petitioner should deliver 40% of the rice produced by it each day to the Bihar State Food and Civil Supplies Corporation, in the alternative he may enter into compounding agreement to deliver 2000 quintals of rice for the Kharif year 1980-81, failing which legal action shall be taken against the petitioner. According to the petitioner, as the Procurement Order itself is invalid having no force in law, the petitioner is not liable to deliver any paddy or rice as required by the said order.
(3.)Section 3 (1) of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (hereinafter to be referred to as 'the Act') prescribes that whenever the Central Government is of the opinion that it was necessary and expedient for maintaining or increasing supply of essential commodities or for securing equitable distribution and availablity of such commodities at fair price it may by order provide for regulating supply and distribution of such essential commodities. Sub-section (2) of Section 3 enumerates some of the purposes for which such order can be made. Clause (f) of Sub-section (2) of Section 3, with which we are concerned in this writ application, vests power in the Central Government to make order requiring any person to sell any part of the essential commodity held in stock or produced or received by him to the Central Government or the State Government or to any Corporation owned and controlled by such Government. Under that very clause, the Central Government has been authorised to fix the price, if an order to be made in relation to foodgrains. In view of Section 3 (5), an order made under Section 3, if it is of a general nature or affecting a class of persons, has to be notified in the official Gazette. Section 5 is the provision regarding delegation of the powers by the Central Government to officers or authorities subordinate to the Central Government or to State Government and its officers, the relevant portion whereof is as follows:--
"5. The Central Government may, by notified order, direct that the power to make orders or issue notifications under Section 3 shall, in relation to such matters and subject to such conditions if any, as may be specified in the direction, be exercisable also by - (a) xx xx xx Or (b) such State Government or such officer or authority subordinate to a State Government as may be specified in the direction."
On a plain reading of the aforesaid Section 5 it will appear that the Central Government can direct the State Government to make order under Section 3 in relation to such matters and subject to such conditions as may be specified in the order of delegation. From time to time the Central Government in accordance with the aforesaid section by notified orders, has directed that the power under Section 3 (1) may be exercised by different State Governments, including the State of Bihar, in respect of different essential commodities.
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