Decided on July 15,1974

SANKARAN Respondents


- (1.) These cases bespeak how well intended legislations often fail to secure their objects due to the inertia and non cooperation of those for whose benefit they are enacted. The Madras Commercial Crops Markets Act was enacted with a view to eliminate middlemen and to bring the producer face to face with the consumer. A Regulated market coming within the purview of that Act was established at Changaramkulam within the Alangode Panchayat in 1968. Due to the non cooperation of the dealers and boycotting by them, it ceased to function, but was revived in July 1973. Under S.5 of the Madras Commercial Crops Markets Act no person shall, within a notified area, set up, establish, or use, or continue or allow to be continued, any place for the purchase and sale of a notified commercial crop, except under and in accordance with the conditions of a licence granted to him by the Collector. Under the. proviso 1 to that section, after the establishment in such area of a market for the purchase and sale of a notified commercial crop, no licence for the purchase or sale of such commercial crop shall be granted or renewed in respect of any place situated within such distance of the market as may from time to time be fixed by the State Government. In the case of the Regulated market at Changaramkulam, the distance under the above clause has been fixed as 3 kilometres. Dealers in arecanut which is a commodity coming under the purview of the Act have to come to the market for the purchase of arecanuts as per the rules of the Malabar Market Committee. Accused in Crl. A. 47/74 is a licensed dealer and he had visited the Regulated market on 17-7-73. According to the complainant, the Secretary of the Malabar Market Committee, the accused did not visit the market on 18-7-73. His shop is situated within a radius of 3 kilometres from the Regulated market. At 3 P.M. on 18-7-73, the accused was seen by Pw.1 the Supervisor of the Regulated market, purchasing 32 kilograms and 500 grams of raw peeled arecanuts from one Chathu of Othallur amsom. Pw. 1 is stated to have told the accused not to purchase the arecanuts outside the Regulated market. He did not heed his request. No receipt was issued for the purchase. Though Pw.1 tried to get a statement from Chathu that he had sold arecanuts to the accused, Chathu refused to give a statement. Pw.1 did not also succeed in getting the particulars regarding the address of Chathu excepting that he belonged to Othallur amsom. A report was sent by Pw.1 to the Secretary of the Malabar Market Committee, who is authorised under the Act to institute, complaints. A complaint was accordingly presented before court. The accused denied having purchased arecanuts from Chathu. The I Class Magistrate, Ponnani, found that the offence has not been proved satisfactorily and acquitted the accused.
(2.) Criminal Appeal Nos. 48, 79 and 80 of 1974 arise under similar circumstances.
(3.) In all the cases, the complainant is the Secretary of the Malabar Market Committee. On the basis of the report of the Supervisor of the Regulated Market Committee, Changaramkulam, cases were initiated against the accused, who are the respondents in the appeals for purchase of arecanuts within the radius of 3 kms. of the Regulated market.;

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