Decided on September 08,1976

Satyanarayan Agarwalla Appellant
STATE Respondents


A.N. Banerjee, J. - (1.)On October 23, 1975, the Police searched the premises of the Petitioner in Cr. Rev. No. 880 of 1976 and seized the entire quantity of 226 bags of sugar found in his premises. The said Petitioner carries on business in sugar under the name and style of Sree Mahabir Trading Company at 51/4 Strand Road. On November 6, 1975, the said Petitioner applied for the custody of the seized property before the learned Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Calcutta. He filed another application in continuation of the previous one on December 22, 1975. The said Petitioner wanted to make out a case that on December 22, 1975, the opening balance of sugar of the Petitioner was 75 quintals and that during the day's transaction he purchased sugar not exceeding 100 quintals and sold 96 quintals of sugar leaving a balance of 79 quintals of sugar on October 23, 1975. It was his case that on October 21, 1975, he had sold 74 quintals of sugar to Messrs. Satyanarayan Agarwalla of 67/48 Strand Road, Calcutta, for a sum of Rs. 31,000 out of which an advance of Rs. 1,000 was paid by account payee cheque and 95 quintals to other customers. It was alleged that the Petitioner had sold 50 quintals to Messrs. Ramkrishna Pal of Raghunathgunj, Murshidabad, 6 bags to Messrs. Vijay Stores, Durgapur and 23 bags to other parties making a total of 79 quintals before the closing of the day on October 23, 1975. Satyanarayan Agarwalla, who is the Petitioner in the other revisional application being Cr.Rev. No. 879 of 1976, also filed an application before the learned Magistrate for return of the aforesaid quantity of sugar which he claimed to have purchased from Sree Mahabir Trading Company for Rs. 31,000 and to have paid Rs. 1,000 in advance by an account payee cheque. The learned Magistrate rejected the prayer of both Prahlad Rai Shah and Satyanarayan Agarwalla and directed the Investigating Officer to make reference to the Collector under Sec. 6A of the Essential Commodities Act. As against such order of the learned Magistrate both Prahlad Rai Shah of Sree Mahabir Trading Company and Satyanarayan Agarwalla moved in revision the learned Judge of the City Sessions Court. The learned Judge by his impugned order rejected the two applications filed by the said two Petitioners but directed that the Police should release 50 and 6 bags of sugar respectively out of the seized quantity of 226 bags to Ramkrishna Pal and Om Prokash on proper bond to the satisfaction of the learned Magistrate. Ramkrishna Pal and Om Prokash also filed two similar revisional applications against the order of the learned Magistrate before the Sessions Court. The learned Judge directed, further, that the Police would take immediate steps for sale of the remaining bags of sugar, namely 74 bags plus 96 bags totalling 170 bags in the open market through the Director of Rationing after due notice to the Petitioners and to credit the sale proceeds in favour of the Court below pending investigation or trial, if any. It is as against such order of the learned Judge that the present two applications were filed before this Court and the present Rules were issued.
(2.)Mr. Monoj Mukherjee, learned Advocate appearing for the Petitioner in Cr. Rev. No. 880 of 1976, submitted that the learned Judge went wrong in passing the impugned order inasmuch as the Petitioner had committed no offence by storing 226 bags of sugar which were seized by the Police. In this connection, he drew my attention to the Sugar (Control) Order, 1966, made by the Central Government in exercise of the powers conferred by Sec. 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (X of 1955). Paragraph 17 of the said order lays down that the Sugar (Control) Order, 1966 and any order made by the Central Government or a State Government or any authority regulating or prohibiting the production, supply and distribution of sugar and trade or commerce therein are hereby repealed except as respects things done or omitted to be done under any such order before commencement of this order. Clause (2) of para. 17 lays down further that notwithstanding such repeal an order made by any authority, which is in force immediately before the commencement of this order and which is consistent with this order, shall continue in force and all appointments made, prices fixed, licences and permits granted and directions issued under any such order and in force immediately before such commencement shall likewise continue in force and be deemed to be made, fixed, granted or issued in pursuance of this order.
(3.)In view of the aforesaid provisions of para. 17 of the Sugar (Control) Order, 1966, Mr. Mukherjee submitted that the West Bengal Sugar Dealers Licensing Order, 1963, stood repealed and that, as such, the 226 bags of sugar which were seized by Police in violation of para. 3 of the aforesaid order of the State Government could not be said to have been made in violation of any such order. In the West Bengal Sugar Dealers Licensing Order, 1963, 'dealer' was defined in para. 2(a) as follows:
'dealer' means a person engaged in the business of purchase, sale or storage for sale of sugar in quantities exceeding (100 quintals) at any one time, but does not include an industrial undertaking which is engaged in the manufacture or production of sugar and which is registered or licensed under the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951.

Under para. 3 of the aforesaid order no person shall carry on business as dealer except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a licence issued in this behalf by the Licensing Authority. The aforesaid provisions of the West Bengal Sugar Dealers Licensing Order, 1963, make it clear that a person carrying on business in sugar as a dealer requires licence under the aforesaid order if his business in sugar is in quantity exceeding 100 quintals at any one time. Now, under the Sugar (Control) Order, 1966, as made by the Central Government there is no such restriction regarding business in sugar. On the other hand, the said Order has imposed certain restrictions of sale of sugar on producers and has also made provisions regarding power to issue directions by the Central Government or the Chief Director to any producer or recognised dealer or any class of producers or recognised dealers regarding production, maintenance of stocks, storage, sale etc. in respect of sugar. This being the position, Mr. Mukherjee contended that the learned Judge of the City Sessions Court went wrong in refusing the prayer of the Petitioner for return of the seized stock of sugar.


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