SAURASHTRA AUTO RICKSHAW DRIVERS ASSOCIATION RAJKOT Vs. STATE OF GUJARAT
LAWS(GJH)-1988-12-21
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
Decided on December 26,1988

Saurashtra Auto -Rickshaw Drivers Association, Rajkot Appellant
VERSUS
State of Gujarat and Another Respondents

JUDGEMENT

P.R.GOKULAKRISHNAN, R.J.SHAH - (1.)This Special Civil Application questions the impugned order dated 4/11/1988 (Annexure A to the petition). By the said impugned order the Collector Rajkot with a view to make a proper and equitable distribution of kerosene has stated that any person holding. controlling or using the auto rickshaw shall not use kerosene as a fuel to furnish motor power to the rickshaw nor shall he manage to use or shall not allow anybody to use in such manner No person shall use kerosene for running rickshaw. The said order of the Collector was passed under Sec (Cl.) 25 of the Gujarat Essential Commodities (Licence. Control and Stock Declaration) Order 1981 The petitioner questions the vires of Sec. (Cl.) 25 of the said order on the ground that there is no guideline or safeguard in this Section (Clause) and as such the authority using the power under this Section (Clause) be restrained. It is further stated that the order in question was issued only at Rajkot awl as such it is discriminatory in nature and as such it cannot be sustained. Mr. S.I. Nanavati learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner state that there cannot be any control with regard to the use of the kerosene once it is distributed to the: consumers It is also difficult to know whether the consumer has received kerosene for his own domestic purpose or for running auto rickshaw. The learned Counsel further states that even st the petrol pumps kerosene is mixed and if any rickshaw driver takes petrol held up subsequently by the authorities concerned there may be possibility of a case against the rickshaw driver as if he has mixed kerosene for running his auto rickshaw. 2 We do not think that this argument advanced by Mr. Nanavati has any substance. We cannot proceed on the presumption that in the petrol pumps petrol is supplied by mixing kerosene As and when such situations arise law and authority will take appropriate steps for checking such malpractices
(2.)As regards the power of the Collector to issue the order we can usefully refer to Clause 25 of the Gujarat essential Articles (Licensing Control and Stock Declaration) Order 1981 which reads as follows
Clause 25 : Powers to issue directions to persons other than dealer or producer-

(11) The STate Government the Director of Civil Supplies the Director of Food the Food and Civil Supplies Controller Ahmedabad City the Collector of the District or any licensing authority may in accordance with the provisions of this order and for ensuring fair equitable distribution of essential articles by general or special order issue to any person on class of persons (other than dealer or produces) such directions regarding:

(i) implementation of distribution system reFerred to in Clause 18;

(ii) acquisition storage maintenance of stock and method of purchase of essential articles;

(iii) maintenance of purchase bills and cash memo in respect of purchase of essential article submission of returns or furnishing of information; and

(iv) such other directors relating to just proper and equitable distribution of essential articles as it or he as the case may deem fit.

(2) Every person other than a dealer or producer to whom any direction is issued order sub-clause (1) shall comply with such direction"
Section (Clause) 25(iv) clearly states such other directions relating to just proper and equitable distribution of essential articles as it or he as the case may deem fit. This Clause will cover all the persons except the dealer and producer Naturally the presumption is that every person other than the dealer and producer is covered by this Clause (sub-c ) (2) of Sec.(Cl.) 25 fortify this conclusion which reads follows:
"Every person other than a dealer or producer to whom any direction is issued under sub-clause (1) shall comply with such direction".
Kerosene being an essential commodity and distributed with utmost care in order to reach the last man in the society it has to be properly controlled or otherwise by ms misuses the same may not reach the persons who require the same. using kerosene as a fuel to run a rickshaw is definitely a practice which his to be discouraged Correctly the Collector at Rajkot perhaps noticing this unhealthy practice in respect of use of kerosene issued the order on the strength of Clause 25 referred to above. For proper distribution of the available kerosenes the misuse of it has to be checked. Mr. Nanavati further submitted that since there is no guidelines or safeguards for issuing such order by virtue of the power under Clause 25 will be arbitrarily used by the authority concerned. Clause 25 of which is an enactment under the Gujarat Essential Articles (Licensing) Control and Stock Declaration) Order 1981 clearly states in Clause (sub-cl.) (iv) of Sec. (Cl.) 21 that such direction is given far the purpose of just proper and equitable distribution of essential articles. This is a safeguard for the purpose of proper distribution of the essential commodity and any arbitrary action de hors the said provision can easily be quashed as and when occasion arises. Any order passed by the Collector must be just proper and equitable in the interest of public and for and distribution of the essential commodity.
(3.)There is no question of discrimination as alleged by the learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner. The misuse of kerosene felt by the Collector at Rajkot necessitated the passing of the impugned order. It will be followed as and when required by other areas of the State of Gujarat. It is also not correct to say that auto rickshaw alone has been discriminated while there is no restriction for other vehicles for using the kerosene. This averment proceeds on the assumption that other vehicle; are being run on kerosene. We do not find any substance in this argument since the order is passed to check the malpractices adopted by the auto rickshaw drivers by using kerosene as a fuel and such misuse will definitely affect the proper distribution of kerosene to the public at large Hence we do not find any discrimination as such in passing such an order by the Collector concerned.
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