SAURASTRA OIL MILLS ASSOCIATION GUJARAT Vs. STATE OF GUJARAT
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: GUJARAT)
Saurashtra Oil Mills Association, Gujarat
State of Gujarat And Anr.
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Bhan, J. -
(1.)The appellants herein filed a writ petition in the High Court of Gujarat challenging the constitutional validity of an order made on 26th July, 2000 in pursuance of sub-clause (1) of clause 24 of the Gujarat Essential Articles (Licensing, Control Stock Declaration) Order, 1981 (for short 'the State Order of 1981') amending an earlier order dated 14th August, 1998 by substituting the storage limits in respect of dealers and thereby providing that no dealer shall either by himself or by any person on his behalf store or have in his possession at any time any edible Oilseeds or edible oils in excess of the quantities specified thereunder, which were 1000 quintals for wholesaler of edible Oilseeds including groundnut in shell, and 200 quintals for retailer (all edible Oilseeds taken together); and 300 quintals for the wholesaler of edible Oilseeds including groundnut in shell, and 100 quintals for retailer (all edible Oilseeds taken together); and 300 quintals for the wholesaler of edible Oilseeds including groundnut in shell, and 100 quintals for retailer (all edible Oilseeds taken together); and 300 quintals for the wholesaler and 20 quintals for the retailers (all edible oils including hydrogenated vegetable oils). The order dated 14th August, 1998 in which the amendment was made by the impugned order of 26th July, 2000 provided the stock limits for the aforesaid items which were 2000 quintals for edible Oilseeds including groundnut in shell for the wholesaler and 100 quintals for the retailer. It provided the stock limits of 600 quintals in respect of edible oils for the wholesaler and 20 quintals for the retailer.
(2.)Before adverting to the grounds of challenge, it is necessary to trace the history of various orders issued by the Central Government and the State of Gujarat under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act').
(3.)By virtue of its powers under Section 3 of the Act the Central Government issued the Pulses, Edible Oils (Storage Control) Order, 1977, which contained provisions regarding licence to be obtained by the dealers and the stock limits that will have to be observed by them. The Government of the State of Gujarat issued "Gujarat Pulses and Edible Oils Dealer Licensing Order, 1977" in exercise of its delegated powers and with express reference to the control order already issued by the Central Government in the year 1977. The Central Government repealed the Pulses and Edible Oils (Storage Control) Order of 1977 and issued anther Order known as Pulses, Edible Oilseeds and Edible Oils (Storage Control) Order, 1977 which contained the provisions relating to the licensing of dealers and stock limits. The only difference between this order and the earlier order of 1977 is that this Order included Edible Oilseeds also within its purview.
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