Decided on September 08,1983

STATE Appellant


R.N.Aggarwal, J. - (1.)The Assistant Commissioner Food & Supplies, Delhi filed a complaint against Kamlesh Kumar Gupta, partner of M/s. G.N. Traders, village Jawalaheri, alleging that on 22nd January 1973 the business premises of M/s. G.N. Traders was inspected by the Inspector, Food and Supplies, Delhi and on checking it was found that M/s. G.N. Traders had established a rice mill at Jawalaheri without a permit and further were carrying on rice milling operation without a licence. It was further stated in the complaint that at the time of checking the mill 6235 bags of paddy and 258.55 quintals of rice were found. The accused Kamlesh Kumar Gupta was said to have violated the provisions of Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 8 of the Rice-Milling Industry (Regulation) Act, 1958 (hereinafter for the sake of brevity called 'the Act'). The relevant part of Section 8 reads as under :
"8. (1) No persons or authority shall, after the commencement of this Act, establish any new rice mill except under and in accordance with a permit granted under Section 5. (2) No owner of a rice mill shall, after the commencement of this Act, carry on rice milling operation except under and in accordance with a licence granted under Section 6: Provided that nothing in this Sub-section shall apply to an existing rice mill for such period as may be specified in this behalf by the Central Government by notified order."

(2.)We may also here notice the definition of the expression "owner" contained in Section 3(g) and it reads as under : (g) "owner", in relation to a rice mill means the person who, or the authority which, has the ultimate control over the affairs of the rice mill, and where the said affairs are entrusted to a manager, managing director or managing agent, such manager, managing director or managing agent shall be deemed to be the owner of the rice mill,"
(3.)Shri Darshan Singh, Inspector, Food and Supplies, testified that when he visited the mill premises Kamlesh Kumar, partner of the firm G.N. Traders, was present. We find that there is no evidence that Kamlesh Kumar was in the ultimate control of the affairs of the rice mill. The only other provision on which the learned counsel for the appellant placed reliance is Section 14, the relevant portion of which reads as under:
"14. (1) If the person committing an offence under this Act is a company, every person who, at the time of offence was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly: Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment provided in this Act, if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence."


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