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Sanjai Gupta v. State Of U.P. And Others - WRIT - C No. 1364 of 2006 [2006] RD-AH 599 (9 January 2006)


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Sanjai Gupta       -------------    Petitioner              


State of U.P. & Ors.        -------------  Respondents


Hon'ble Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.

Hon'ble  Dilip Gupta, J.

(By Hon'ble Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J)

This writ petition has been filed seeking direction to the respondents, particularly, the learned District Magistrate, Shahjahanpur, to consider the application of the petitioner for release of the super kerosene oil (hereinafter called the S.K. oil) seized by the authorities, in exercise of the power under Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (hereinafter called the Act).

The facts and circumstances giving rise to this case are that petitioner claims to be an authorised stockist of S.K. oil of Shahjahanpur and has a licence for that purpose. The S.K. oil was being transported in Tanker, bearing No. UP 30 A 6552, containing 6 kilo litres SK oil. It was intercepted by the police and FIR was lodged under the provisions of Section 3/7 of the Act. The petitioner submits that he has filed application for release of the S.K. oil in his favour before the District Magistrate, Shahjahanpur, but the same has not yet been decided. Hence this petition.

Learned counsel for the petitioner has submitted that the application filed by the petitioner on 17.12.2005 to release the said oil, in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate under Section 457 Cr.P.C., has been rejected, pointing out that the application was not maintainable and under the provisions of the Act, the District Magistrate has the power to deal with the detained goods. The petitioner's application is still pending for release of the S.K. oil.

The provisions of Section 6 A of the Act clearly provides for a procedure for confiscation of essential commodities. Section 3 deals with the powers to control, production, supply and distribution etc. of the essential commodities. Section 7 deals with the penalty in contravention of any provisions of the order passed under Section 3 of the Act. Sections 6 and 6A deal with the provisions once a case is registered against the dealer or the person carrying the goods.

The issue was considered by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Shambhu Dayal Agarwala Vs. State of West Bengal & Anr., (1990) 3 SCC 549, wherein it was held that the provisions of Section 6 E are not attracted whenever the essential commodity is seized pending confiscation under Section 6 A. The Hon'ble Supreme Court held that Section 7 (1) (b) of the Act is mandatory and leaves no option to the Court but to order forfeiture, and during the pendency of proceedings for confiscation under Section 6A, the provisions of 6E are not applicable. The provisions of Section 6 E put an embargo on the jurisdiction of the Court as well as the statutory authority to pass an order under the Act during the pendency of the proceedings for confiscation, as it provides that during the said proceedings the Court or the authority shall not have jurisdiction to make orders with regard to the possession, delivery, disposal, release or distribution of such essential commodities, package, covering etc.

In view of the above, the petition is totally misconceived and is liable to be dismissed.

More so, the goods seized in this matter is S.K. oil which may at least decay in quantity. Therefore, it may be otherwise expedient in public interest to dispose of the same. Considering the law laid down by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in N. Nagendra Rao & Co. Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, AIR 1994 SC 2663, we request the learned District Magistrate, Shahjahanpur to consider as to whether the goods are of perishable nature, or are likely to suffer either in quality or in quantity, and if it is so, it would be expedient in the public interest to ensure that the goods be sold in accordance with law.

With these observations, petition stands dismissed.




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