H S S K NIYAMI Vs. UNION OF INDIA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: KARNATAKA)
UNION OF INDIA
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K. Ramaswamy, J. -
(1.)These two appeals, on certificate under Article 136 of the Constitution, are by two sugar factories situated in Northern part of Mysore now Karnataka State. The appellants filed writ petitions under Art. 226 of the Constitution in the High Court of Mysore at Bangalore assailing the constitutional validity of Section 3(3C) of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (in short 'the Act') and the Notification dated March 24, 1966. It was prayed inter alia that a writ or order in the nature of Mandamus be issued directing the respondents to include the petitioners' factory in Zone No. 2 and to fix the price at Rs. 161/- per quintal for the sugar manufactured by the petitioners' factory.
(2.)The Writ Petitions were dismissed by the High Court and the appellants in these circumstances have approached this Court challenging the Judgment of the High Court. The material contentions raised by the appellants in the affidavit and adumbrated in the grounds of appeal in this Court are that the appellants' factories are part of the entire State of Mysore (now Karnataka) as was notified preceding the impugned notification. The factors like price of sugarcane, taxes, duties, sugar recovery percentage, labour charges, cost of production or fair return to the produce are same or similar in the entire State but due to the impugned notification by including in Zone No. 1 the appellants are put to huge losses.
(3.)The country was divided into five zones. Zone No. 1 consists of all the factories in Maharashtra, Gujarat, North Mysore, North Andhra Pradesh; Zone No. 2 consists of all the factories in Orissa, rest of Andhra Pradesh, South Mysore (rest of Mysore), Madras, Pondicherry and Kerala. On account thereof the appellants are stated to be subjected to heavy losses. The details have been mentioned in the affidavit and the grounds of appeal but for the purpose of disposal of the point involved in the appeals, it is not necessary to adumbrate all the material particulars in that regard. The contention that S.3(3C) of the Act is ultra vires of their fundamental rights enshrined under Art. 19(l)(g) and right to property under Art. 19(l)(t) as was available in the year 1968 (but since deleted under Constitution 44th Amendment Act) is no longer available. The Act received the protective umbrella of Art. 3 IC of the Constitution read with 9th Schedule as it has been included therein as item No. 126. It is, thereby, immuned from attack on that score. Moreover it is covered by a recent Constitution Bench judgment of this Court in M/s. Shri Sitaram Sugar Company v. Union of India, (1990) 3 SCC 220. Therefore, the point is no longer res integra. Section 3(3C) is constitutionally valid and unassailable.
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