GHANSHYAM GOVINDBHAI PATEL Vs. DISTRICT MAGISTRATE, BHAVANGAR AND OTHERS
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
Ghanshyam Govindbhai Patel
District Magistrate, Bhavangar And Others
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(1.)The petitioner was running fair price shop under licence issued by the Civil Supplies Authorities at village Amaratvel situated in taluka Savarkundla, district Bhavnagar. His shop was raided on January 28, 1988 and on February 6, 1988 by the Officer of Civil Supplies Department. On search carried out by the Inspector of Civil Supplies, several irregularities were found. It was found that false bills were issued in respect of kerosene, sugar, rice and wheat. On physical verification of the stock it was found that there was excess stock of kerosene to the extent of 55 litres, sugar was in excess to the extent of 14kg., rice was in excess to the extent of 25kg. and wheat was in excess of 63kg. than what was shown in the stock registers. The detaining authority, i.e. District Magistrate, Bhavnagar, on being satisfied that certain irregularities amounted to offence under the provisions of the Gujarat Essential Commodities (Licence Regulation and Declaration of Stock) Order, 1981 and under the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, considered that it was necessary to detain the petitioner with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies of commodities essential to the community, and hence passed an order of detention dated March 22, 1988 which is produced at annexure-A to the petition. The petitioner was actually detained on March 28, 1988. The petitioner has challenged the legality and validity of the order of detention by filing this petition.
(2.)It was contended that as required under the provisions of Section 3(4) of the Prevention of Black marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980 when any order is approved by the State Government under the provisions of Section 3 of the said Act, the State Government is required to make report of the fact within seven days to the Central Government together with the grounds on which the order has been made and such other particulars as, in the opinion of the State Government, have a bearing on the necessity for the order. It is an admitted position that the detention order has been passed by the District Magistrate which is an authority mentioned in sub-section (2) of the Section 3 and therefore the order was required to be approved by the State Government within a period of 12 days as provided under sub-section (3) of Section 3. The order was passed by the District Magistrate on March 22, 1988 and the same has been approved within the prescribed time limit, i.e. March 30, 1988. The State Government forwarded its report to the Central Government together with necessary particulars vide its letter dated March 31, 1988 and the said report was received by the Central Government on April 8, 1988, that is not within seven days but after the stipulated period by seven days. In view of the aforesaid admitted factual position it is submitted that there is breach of the provisions of Section 3(4) of the Act, and once there is infraction of the procedural requirements the order of detention must fail.
(3.)Reliance is placed on the Division Bench judgment of this High Court in the case of Jivrajbhai Vrajlal Patel v. State of Gujarat and Others 1988(1) GLR 17 = (1987 (2) G.L.H. 558). Therein it is held that report should reach the Central Government within seven days. As against this the learned counsel for the respondents submitted that a different view is taken by a Divisional Bench of the Orissa High Court in the case of Ullas Sahu v. District Magistrate, Cuttack, 1988 Cri. L.J. 32. After careful consideration of the aforesaid two decisions and the scheme of the Act when we pointed out the learned counsel for the petitioner that prima facie we were inclined to differ with the interpretation given by Division Bench of this High Court in the aforesaid decision and were inclined to refer the matter to a larger Bench, he conceded that he does not press this point. In view of this concession made by the learned counsel for the petitioner we do not think it necessary to consider this point in further details. The contention that the provisions of Section 3(4) of the Act have not been complied with and that there is breach of same is not decided as the same is not passed.
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