Decided on September 15,1976



- (1.)THIS is an appeal from the judgment of Mr. Justice Amiya Kumar Mookerji delivered on the 18th June, 1976 in an application under Article 226 of the Constitution. The appellant prayed for a Writ in the nature of Mandamus commanding the Licensing Authority to consider and dispose of his application for a licence under the Rice Milling Industry " (Regulation) Act, 1958 for carrying on rice milling operation.
(2.)THE parent Act in question is an Act of the Central Legislature. It was amended by West Bengal Act LIII of 1974. By this amending Act, a new section was inserted. This new section is section 6a which is as follows:-
"6a. Licence for husking mill.- (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained elsewhere in this Act, every owner of a husking mill, whether he holds a Licence under this Act or not, shall, within thirty days from the date of coming into force of the Rice-Milling Industry (Regulation) (West Bengal second Amendment) Ordinance, 1974, (West Bengal Ord. XIV of 1974) or in the case of an owner of a new husking mill, before he starts actual milling operation, make an application to the licensing officer for the grant of a fresh licence for carrying on rice-milling operation in that husking mill : provided that the licensing officer may, for good or sufficient reason being shown, extend the time for making such application for a further period of thirty days. (2)Every application under sub-section (1) shall be made in such form, be accompanied by such fee and shall contain such particulars as may be specified by the State Government by notification in this behalf. (3)A licence granted by the licensing officer on application made under this section shall he subject to the following condition, namely : - (a) that the licensee shall recover from every customer not less than sixty per cent of the charges for milling rice, in kind, that is in rice, (b) that the licensee shall deliver to the State Government seven tones, in the case of a husking mill which is fitted with a No. 2 type huller and in any other case five tones, of rice of fair average quality, within the thirtieth day of April every year, at such price as may be fixed by the State Government under any law for the time being in force, and (c) such other conditions, if any, as the State Government may by notification, specify. (6) Matters which have not been provided for in this section, but which are provided elsewhere in this Act or in the rules framed there under shall mutatis mutandis apply to a licence granted under this section. Explanation-A "husking mill" is a rice mill which undertakes rice-milling operation on customer's account only. "

(3.)IN the Statement of objects and Reasons for insertion of the above section 6a it is stated as follows : -
"a major impediment to the State Government's rice procurement programmed in recent years has been the operation of a large number of hullers (paddy-husking mills), both licensed and unlicensed. The owners of these hullers are reported to be clandestinely carrying on, in the name of custom milling, a regular rice trade and helping big producers to dispose of their stocks in the form of rice. Large quantities of paddy and rice, which would otherwise have become available to the State Government's procurement agencies are thus sold in the open market at high rate. It has, therefore, become urgently necessary to bring all paddy-husking mills, both licensed and unlicensed, under the discipline of levy. It is considered desirable to impose levy at a flat rate per annum to be delivered within a specified date every year and, for this purpose, to amend the rice Milling Industry (Regulation) Act, 1958, in its application to West Bengal, so as to provide for (i) recovery of a major portion of the milling charges in kind, that is, in rice and (ii) requiring all owners of existing husking mills to taka out fresh licences within a specified date, grant of such licences being subject to their agreeing to the condition of delivery of the fixed quantum of levy. In order to bring about the desired changes simultaneously with the start of the new kharif year an Ordinance called the Rice Milling Industry (Regulation) (West Bengal Second Amendment) Ordinance, 1974 (West Bengal Ordinance No. XIV of 1974), was promulgated on the 31st October. 1974 and published in the "calcutta gazette Extra-ordinary," en the same date. The Rice-Milling Industry (Regulation) (West Bengal Second Amendment)Bill, 1974, seeks to replace the Ordinance. "


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