Decided on January 27,1983

UNION OF INDIA Respondents


Rajindar Sachar, J. - (1.)This is a writ petition against the order passed by the Deputy Commissioner (Food) as affirmed by the Commissioner in appeal whereby the F.P.S. No. 6095 held by the petitioner, who is a handicapped woman was cancelled with immediate effect and with forfeiture of security amount. This was done without prejudice to any decision that may be taken by the criminal trial court. The only real allegation on which the action seems to have been taken against the petitioner is that he had drawn rice from FCI godown on 15-10-1982 but when checking was done by the Inspectorate at his shop on 16-10-1982 the said rice was not available. The petitioner admitted that he had drawn rice on 15-10-1972. His case however, was that while transporting the rice the truck broke down and he was only able to bring the rice on 16-10 1982 evening and he had asked the checking staff to check it up but they refused to do so. This part of course was denied by the respondents. We had also directed the petitioner while issuing show cause to file an affidavit indicating how the alleged 30 quintals of rice which he had admittedly drawn from the godown on 15-10-1982 had been disbursed. He has done so by his additional affidavit in which he has given details of 323 ration card holders to whom the 30 quintals of rice had been distributed. The total of these details works out to 2985 Kgs. which is approximately the rice which he had drawn. This rice has been distributed amongst over 800 people. A reference to their Card No., various dates between 16th to 25th of October, 1982 have been supplied.
(2.)We had on the last date of hearing directing the respondents that after getting this material from the petitioner the Deputy Commissioner (South) may hold his own enquiry and to file an affidavit indicating the veracity or otherwise of the information supplied by the additional affidavit. An affidavit today has been filed by the Commissioner of Food and Supplies in which though again reiterating generally that there was no break down of the truck or that in fact the rice was not available at the time when inspection was done it is not denied that after verification of the cash memos that the sale of rice had been made to the consumers between 16-10-1982 to 2610-1982. Of course it is stated but without any material or even a bold kind of proof that the rice must have been procured from other sources We find it hard to accept that 30 quintals of rice could have been available right from the next date because it is not suggested that from the names mentioned any one has complained that the rice was not sold to them or that quality of the rice sold to them was not the one drawn by the F.P.S. holder. The distribution is said to have started from 16-10-1982 and as a matter of fact over 8 quintals of rice was distributed on that very day. We are quite satisfied that in these circumstances there was no justirication for having cancelled the petitioner's license. Whether in fact there was a break down or whether the goods did not reach the shop in time was not any violation of the Rules permitting the respondents to cancel the license. We would, therefore, quash the impugned orders of the Deputy Commissioner (Food) dated 12-11-1982 as well as the appellate order dated 2 -11-1982. Because the license was cancelled as a conse- quence of those orders, the result will naturally be that the same will have to be restored to her.
(3.)We also find from the orders of the Deputy Commissioner (Food) that the order that he passed was without prejudice to the trial court's proceedings where FIR was lodged. We take it that the practice is that whenever a cancellation is done for having violated any condition of the license the criminal trial follows because action can be taken also under the Essential Commodities Act. In view of the fact that we have held that there has been no violation of the order, it is apparent that no prosecution can take place on the basis of that. As the F.I.R. No. 621/1932, P.S. Defence Colony (Special Cell food Supplies) has been registered against the petitioner only on the basis of the alleged violation which led to the impugned cancellation and as the cancellation is being set aside by us and the license restored it will be an abuse of the process of the court to proceed on with the investigation in the said FIR because the very bads has vanished in view of our decision in the writ petition. We would, therefore, direct the police to have the above said FIR cancelled and withdrawn so that the petitioner is not unnecessarily harassed any longer. With these observations the writ petition is allowed. No costs.

Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.