KRISHI UPAJMANDI SAMITI BHILWARA Vs. GANESH OIL MILLS BHILWARA
LAWS(RAJ)-1968-3-2
HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN
Decided on March 13,1968

KRISHI UPAJMANDI SAMITI BHILWARA Appellant
VERSUS
GANESH OIL MILLS BHILWARA Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

MAHARANI OF BURDWAN VS. MURTONJOY SINGH [REFERRED TO]
STATE VS. SATRAMDASS,AIR 1959 PUNJAB [REFERRED TO]
JUGALKISHORE VS. RAW COTTON CO.,LTD. [REFERRED TO]
INDIAN COTTON CO. LTD. VS. HARI POONJOO [REFERRED TO]
BHOLA SINGH VS. RAMAN MAL [REFERRED TO]
GURMUKH SINGH VS. COMMISSIONER OF INCOME TAX [REFERRED TO]
ASWINI KUMAR GHOSE INCORPORATED LAW SOCIETY CALCUTTA HIGH COURT INTERVENERS VS. ARABINDA BOSE [REFERRED TO]
THAKUR AMAR SINGHJI VS. STATE OF RAJASTHAN [REFERRED TO]
NIAZ AHMAD KHAN VS. PARSOTTAM CHANDRA [REFERRED TO]
LEWIS PUGH EVANS PUGH VS. ASHUTOSH SEN [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)THIS is a reference by the learned Sessions Judge, Bhilwara, recommending that the order dated 31-7-1967 of the City Magistrate, Bhilwara, be set aside. The facts leading to this reference may be stated as below On 24-2-1967 Shri Omprakash Gupta, Secretary, Krishi Upaj Mandi Samiti (hereinafter called the Samiti) Bhilwara, filed a complaint for contravention of sec. 4 punishable under sec. 28 of the Rajasthan Agricultural Produce Markets Act (Act No. 38 of 1961 hereinafter referred as the Act) in the Court of City Magistrate, Bhilwara, against Ganesh Oil Mills Bhilwara. The allegation made against the accused was that it was carrying on the purchase and sale of agricultural produce in the market area without obtaining any licence. The said Mill was asked by notices dated 29-11-1966 and 5-12-1966 to obtain a licence but with no effect. It was prayed that the accused be punished in accordance with law.
(2.)A preliminary objection was raised on behalf of the accused that the complaint was liable to be dismissed as no direction of the State Government or the Director for its prosecution had been obtained by the complainant as envisaged under sec. 9 (1) (f) of the Act. The learned City Magistrate upheld the contention of the accused and held that sanction of the Director or the State Government was a condition precedent for making the complaint. Against that order, the complainant preferred a revision in the court of session at Bhilwara. The learned Sessions Judge has opined that the Market Committee was authorised by law to bring, prosecute or defend or aid in bringing, prosecuting or defending any suit, action, proceedings, application or arbitration on its behalf. In this view of the matter, he has held that no sanction of, the Director or the State Government was necessary for the market Committee to bring action against the accused. The learned Sessions Judge has, therefore, recommended that the order dated 31-7-1967 of the City Magistrate be set aside and the case be sent back to that court to proceed further in accordance with law. It is in this way that the present reference has come before this Court.
Sec. 9 (1) (f) of the Act the interpretation of which is in dispute between the parties and which, according to them, has not been the subject matter of interpretation by this Court so far, runs as under "9 (1) A market committee shall (f) bring, prosecute or defend, or aid in bringing, prosecuting or defending, any suit, action, proceeding, application or arbitration on behalf of the market committee or otherwise, when so directed by the State Government or the Director; and. "

Its Hindi rendering published in Raj. Rajpatra dated 24-11-61 in Part IV in accordance with sec. 4 of the Official Language Act, 1956 reads as below ***

On behalf of the Samiti, it has been urged that the plain meaning of sec. 9 (1) (f) of the Act was that the Market Committee was competent to bring, prosecute or defend any suit, action, proceeding, application or arbitration on its behalf or otherwise and the State Government or the Director too can give such direction. On the other hand, it has been contended on behalf of Ganesh Oil Mills that the direction by the State Government or the Director was a condition precedent for the Market Committee to bring, prosecute or defend any suit, action, proceeding, application or arbitration.

It is an elementary duty of a court to give effect to the intention of the legislature as expressed in the words used by it and no outside consideration can be called in aid to find that intention. In Jugalkishore vs. Raw Cotton Co. , Ltd. (l) it has been observed by the Supreme Court that the cardinal rule of construction of statutes is to read the statute literally, that is by giving to the words used by the Legislature their ordinary, natural and grammatical meaning. If, however, such a reading leads to absurdity and the words are susceptible of another meaning the court may adopt the same. But if no such alternative construction is possible, the Court must adopt the ordinary rule of literal interpretation.

. Again, in Thakur Amarsinghji vs. State of Rajasthan (2) their Lordships of the Supreme Court observed that recourse to rules of construction would be necessary only when a statute is capable of two interpretations. Where the language is clear and the meaning plain, effect must be given to it.

Applying the above principles, the words used in sec. 9 (1) (f) do not appear to be capable of two constructions. The words used in sec 9 (1) (f), when analysed, spell out the following meaning: (1) A market Committee shall bring, prosecute or defend or aid in bringing, prosecuting or defending any suit action, proceeding, application or arbitration on its behalf. (2) A market Committee shall also bring, prosecute or defend, or aid in bringing, prosecuting or defending any suit, action, proceeding, application or arbitration on its behalf when so directed by the State Government or the Director.

The first part of this section casts a duty on the Market Committee to bring, prosecute or defend, or aid in bringing, prosecuting or defending any suit, action, proceeding, application or arbitration on its behalf. The later part of the section means that it shall also act in that manner when so directed by the State Government or the Director,

The scheme of the Act is to provide for better regulation of buying and selling of agricultural produce and the establishment of markets for agricultural produce in the State of Rajasthan. Chapter 2 of the Act deals with the constitution of markets, while Chapter 3 deals with the market committees. In this chapter are laid down how the market committees are constituted and what are their functions and duties. Sec. 9 in this chapter deals with the functions and duties of the market Committee. Under this section, management, control, regulation of the markets and other powers have been given to the market committees. In clause (f) of sec 9 (1), power has been given to the market committee to prosecute or defend etc. on its behalf or otherwise. From the scheme, it appears to be clear that the intention of the Legislature was that the market Committee shall prosecute, defend etc. all matters connected with it. While giving this power to the market committee, the Legislature has made a provision that the State Government or the Director may also direct it to do so and it shall be incumbent upon it to carry out their directions. Sec. 9 (l) (f) does not show that any action by the market committee under it should be preceded by a direction by the State Government or the Director. The market committee may act suo-moto under the said section in the circumstances mentioned in it and shall also so act when directed by the State Government or the Director.

Learned counsel for the non-petitioner has argued that the "comma" occurring after the words "or otherwise", shows that the clause relating to the direction of the State Government or the Director is applicable to all the cases whether the prosecution is on behalf of the market committee or otherwise. On the other hand, learned counsel for the petitioner has submitted that the comma after the words "or otherwise" has no significance and, in any case, it does not alter the meaning of sec. 9 (l) (f ). It is from the words and from the context and not from punctuation that the meaning of the statute is to be collected. In Maharani of Burdwan vs. Murtonjoy Singh (3) the Privy Council opined that it was an error to rely on punctuation in construing the Act of Legislature. It is from the words and from the context and not from punctuation that the meaning of the statute is to be collected. In Pugh vs. Ashutosh Sen (4) their Lordships of the Privy Council observed, "the truth is that, if the article is read without the comas inserted in the print, as a court of law is bound to do, the meaning is reasonably clear". In Niaz Ahmad vs. Parshottam Chandra (5) Sulaiman J. felt that the difficulty was caused mainly by the punctuation and following the dicta of the two Privy Council cases ignored the comma. In Indian Cotton Co. Ltd. vs. Hari Poonjoo (6) Kania J. (as he then was), after taking into consideration the previous Bombay case and the two Privy Council cases referred to above, observed that in considering the plain words of a section punctuation could not be relied upon. In Bhola Singh vs. Ramanmal (7) Dalip Singh J. opined that a statute must be interpreted without regard to punctuation and in a later Full Bench case Gurmukh Singh vs. Commissioner of Income-tax (8) Munir J. observed, "in the Interpretation of Statutes, punctuation, not being a part of the statute to be construed, is not the determining factor and if the provision as punctuated leads to an absurd result or conflicts with some other provisions of the statute which is unambiguous and free from doubt. , the punctuation must yield to an interpretation that is reasonable and makes it consistent with the other provisions of the Act. " In State vs. Satramdas (9) it has been observed that punctuations do sometimes lend assistance in the construction of sentences, but they are always subordinate to the context and the court may legitimately punctuate or disregard existing punctuation or re-punctuate in order to give effect to the legislative intent. In Ashwini Kumar vs. Arabinda Bose (1) it has been held that punctuation may have its use in some cases, but it cannot be allowed to control the plain meaning of a text and further that punctuation is after all a minor element in the construction of a statute and very little attention is paid to it by English Courts.

In the present case, it may be considered as to what would be the result if we give effect to the punctuation or in the alternative if we ignore it. In either case, it does not make any difference in the meaning of sec. 9 (1) (f) of the Act. Its plain meaning would remain the same which would be that a market committee shall bring, prosecute or defend etc. , on its behalf and shall also so act when directed by the State Government or the Director.

For the aforesaid reasons, the reference is accepted, the order dated 31-7-67 of the City Magistrate, Bhilwara, is set aside and the case is sent back to that court to proceed further in accordance with law. .

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