Decided on November 12,1971


Referred Judgements :-


Cited Judgements :-



- (1.)On 22nd January, 1970, the petitioners were granted a licence to carry on business in foodgrains under the Andhra Pradesh Foodgrains Dealer's licensing order. On 27th June, 1970 the Deputy Superintendent of Police Vigilence cell Anantapur inspected the Rice-mill of the petitioner and seized a quantity of 714 quintals of rice which was found in the premises of the mill. The District Revenue Officer, Kurnool issued a notice under section 6-B of the Essential Commodities Act to the petitioner to show cause why the quantity of 714 quintals of rice should not be confiscated. The allegations in the notice were that the petitioner had carried on business in paddy and rice from and January, 1970 to 21st January, 1970 without a valid licence and that the petitioners had also contravened the Andhra Pradesh rice Procurement, Levy and Restriction of sale order by selling certain quantity of of rice without delivering the quantity required to be delivered to the agent under the Procurement, Levy and Restriction of sale order. After hearing the arguments of the counsel for the petitioners the Collector of Kurnool confiscated the rice on the ground that the petitioners had carried on business in rice without a licence and also on the ground that there Was a contraventention of the Andhra Pradesh Rice Procurement, Levy and Restriction of sale order. The collector also mentioned that there were some other irregularities in the maintenance of accounts etc. against the order of the collector an appeal Was preferred to the District and Sessions Judge, Kurnool. The learned District and Sessions Judge registered the appeal as a Criminal appeal and thereafter transferred it to the Additional Sessions Judge who confirmed the order of confiscation on the ground that there was a contravention of the Andhra Pradesh Rice Procurement Levy and Restriction of Sale Order only. This criminal revision case is directed against the appellate order of the Additional Sessions Judge.
(2.)Two points were raised before me by Sri Ayyapureddy learned Counsel for the petitioners: (1) The notice to show cause against confiscation having been issued by the District Revenue Officer the Collector was incompetent to order the confiscation of the rice. (2) The District and Sessions Judge alone was competent and the Addl. Sessions Judge had no jurisdiction to hear and dispose of the appeal. It has now been held by a Division Bench of this Court in Criminal Revision Case No.319 of 1970 that by virtue of the notification issued under the Andhra Pradesh District Collectors Powers (Delegation) Act, 1961 a District Revenue Officer is competent to exercise the powers of the Collector under the Essential Commodities Act. Therefore, the initiation of proceedings by the District Revenue Officer cannot be questioned. The question is whether the District Revenue Officer having initiated the proceedings the Collector could pass the final order of confiscation. In support of his submission that the proceeding initiated by one officer cannot be disposed of by another officer the learned Counsel relied on the decision of Shar- fuddin Ahmed and A. D. V. Reddy, JJ., in Adapa Suryanarayana, In re., 1. (1970)2An.W.R. 303 That was'. a case in which the proceeding Was initiated by the Collector but the final order of confiscation was made by the District Revenue Officer. The learned Judges held that the action of the District Revenue Officer was in contravention of the second proviso to section 3 of the Andhra Pradesh District Collectors Powers (Delegation) Act, which is in the following terms: "Provided further that where in respect of any case the District Collector exercises his powers the joint Collector or other officer authorised under this saction shall not exercise his powers in respect of the same case".
(3.)The present case is a converse case. While the Andhra Pradesh District Collectors Powers (Delegation) Act, 1961, prohibits the exercise of the powers of the District Collector by his subordinate officers in cases where the District Collector has seision of the cases having initiated the proceedings himself there is no similar prohibition preventing the collector from exercising his statutory powers in cases where the proceedings have been initiated by his authorised subordinate officers. The learned Counsel relied on the following observations of the learned Judges as laying down a general principle that the same officer that initiated a proceeding must pass final orders: "It is further necessary that the same person who had exercised his mind with regard to the issuing of the notice should continue the proceedings with regard to the enquiry and passing of the order. The object behind the and proviso to section 3 of the Andhra Pradesh District Collectors Powers (Delegation) Act, 1961, is obviously that in a given case there should not be enquiry in part by one and in part by another. What is contemplated under the proviso itself is that not only there should not be a conflict in the exercise of powers in a single case but when one of the persons either the Collector or the person to whom powers are delegated, initiates the proceedings he must continue it and pass final orders in the matter. It appears to us that it is in the interests of justice also that the person who initiated the proceedings by issuing a notice giving reasons for confiscation after exercising his mind should also further enquire into the matter and dispose it of". I do not think that the learned Judges meant to lay down any general principle that he who initiates a proceeding must deal with it finally. In fact there is no such general principle. We are familiar with disciplinary enquiries where the enquiry is generally conducted by one officer and the final decision is taken by another authority though of course after giving appropriate notices and opportunity. Further an officer who initiates the proceedings may be transferred in which Case he cannot deal with the matter finally himself. I am therefore, satisfied that there was no illegality in the collector passing the order of confiscation in a proceeding, initiated by the District Revenue Officer. It is not suggested that the District Revenue Officer did anything further beyond issuing the show cause notice. The actual enquiry was held by the collector and the order of confiscation was also passed by him.

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