THE ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES ACT, 1955

(10 of 1955)

 

[Act as on Date – Modified up to Ord.13 of 1998]

 

 

[1st April 1955]

 

An Act to provide, in the interests of the general public, for the control of the production, supply and distribution of, and trade and commerce in, certain commodities.

Contents

1.Short title and extent

2.Definitions

3.Powers to control production, supply, distribution, etc., of essential commodities

4.Imposition of duties on State governments, etc

5.Delegation of powers

6.Effect of orders inconsistent with other enactments

6C.      Appeal.-

7.Penalties

8.Attempts and abetment

9.False statements

10.Offences by companies

11.       Cognizance of offences.-

12.Special provision regarding fine

13.Presumption as to orders

14.Burden of proof in certain cases

15.       Protection of action taken under Act.-

16.       Repeals and savings.-

 

Be it enacted by Parliament in the Sixth Year of the Republic of India as follows :-

 

 

 

1.Short title and extent

.-

 

(1) This Act may be called The Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

 

(2) It extends to the whole of India a*[..].

 

              [a] Words "except the State of Jammu and Kashmir" omitted by the Central Laws (Extension to

                    Jammu and Kashmir) Act, 1968 (25 of 1968), Section 2 and Sch.(15-8-1968).

 

 

 

2.Definitions

.-

 

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,-

 

         a*[ f*[(ia)] "Code" means the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974); and]

 

         b*[ (iia) "Collector" includes an Additional Collector and such other officer not below the rank of

               Sub-Divisional Officer as may be authorised by the Collector to perform the functions and

               exercise the powers of the Collector under this Act;]                           

 

                (a) essential commodities means any of the following classes of commodities :-

 

                                (i) Cattle fodder, including oilcakes and other concentrates;

                                               

                                (ii) Coal, including coke and other derivatives;

 

                                (iii) g*[Omitted]

 

                                (iv) Cotton and woollen textiles;

 

         c*[(iva)  drugs.

 

                        Explanation.- In this sub-clause "drug" has the meaning assigned to it in clause (b) of

                        section 3 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.]

 

 

 

                                (v) foodstuffs, including edible oilseeds and oils;

 

                                (vi) iron and steel, including manufactured products of iron and steel;

 

                                (vii) paper, including newsprint, paperboard and straw board;

 

                                (viii) petroleum and petroleum products;

 

                                (ix) raw cotton, whether ginned or unginned, and cotton seed;

 

                                (x) raw jute;

 

                                (xi) any other class of commodity which the Central Government may, by                                                            

                              notified order, declare to be an essential commodity for the purposes of this Act,     

                              being a commodity with respect to which Parliament has power to make laws by 

                              virtue of entry 33 in List III in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution;

 

                (b) 'food-crops' include crops of sugarcane;

 

                (c) 'notified order' means an order notified in the Official Gazette;

        

        d*[(cc) "order" includes a direction issued thereunder;]

 

        e*[(d) 'State Government', in relation to a Union territory, means the administrator thereof.]

 

        d*[(e) "sugar" means-

 

                   (i)  any form of sugar containing more than ninety per cent.of sucrose, including sugar candy;

 

                   (ii)  Khandsari sugar or bura sugar or crushed sugar or any sugar in crystalline or powdered

                    form; or

 

                   (iii)  sugar in process in vacuum pan sugar factory or raw sugar produced therein.]     

 

        a*[(f) words and expressions used but not defined in this Act and defined in the Code shall have the

              meanings respectively assigned to them in that Code.]     

              

             

              [a]  Clause (ia) re-numbered as cl.(iia) and before so re-numbered clause new clause (ia) added

                     and cl.(f), inserted by Act 18 of 1981, S.3 (a) (1-9-82).

 

              [b]  Inserted by Act 92 of 1976, S.2 (2-9-1976).

 

              [c]  Inserted by Act 30 of 1974, S.2 (w.e.f.22-6-1974).

 

              [d]  Inserted by Act 36 of 1967, S.2 (30-12-1967).

 

              [e]  Substituted for former clause (d) by 8 A.L.O., 1956.

 

             [f] Re-numbered by S.2 of The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 1998 

             (13 of 1998) w.e.f.25th April, 1998.

 

             [g] The words in clause (a) sub-clause (iii) "component parts and accessories of automobiles" 

            Omitted by ibid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATE AMENDMENTS

 

Himachal Pradesh

 

In its application to the State of Himachal Pradesh, in S.2 (a), after sub-cl.(vi) insert as under-

 

"(vi-a) packing cases made wholly or partly of wood, card-board or straw."- H.P.Act 1 of 1992,

S.2 (29-2-92).

 

 

Maharashtra

 

In its application to the State of Maharashtra, in section 2-

 

      (a)  after the words "the context otherwise requires, "and before clause (a), the following clause shall

       be inserted, namely:

 

           "(ai)  'Collector' in Greater Bombay means the Controller of Rationing and includes any Deputy or

            Assistant Controller of Rationing, and elsewhere means the Collector of the District and includes

            any Assistant or Deputy Collector or District Supply Officer within his respective jurisdiction;"

 

      (b)  after clause (b), the following clauses shall be inserted, namely:-

 

           "(ba)  'holder', in relation to any agricultural land, means the person corporate, firm, association,

             joint family or body of individuals in joint possession of such land;

 

           (bb)  'holding' means the aggregate of all lands in possession of a holder;"- Maha.Act 1 of 1976,

            S.2 (w.e.f.12-11-1975).

 

Uttar Pradesh

 

U.P.Act 18 of 1975, S.3, had added clause (aa) defining 'Collector', w.e.f.31-3-1975; the said clause was omitted by U.P.Act 16 of 1978, S.2 with effect from 2-9-1976.This was no because in the principal Act definition of 'Collector' was introduced in S.2 by Act 92 of 1976 with effect from 2-9-1976.-Ed.

 

 

 

 

3.Powers to control production, supply, distribution, etc., of essential commodities

.-

 

(1) If the Central Government is of opinion that it is necessary or expedient so to do for maintaining or increasing supplies of any essential commodity or for securing their equitable distribution and availability at fair prices, a*[or for securing any essential commodity for the defence of India or the efficient conduct of military operations] it may, by order, provide for regulating or prohibiting the production, supply and distribution thereof and trade and commerce therein.

                                                                                                                                                 

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the powers conferred by sub-section (1), an order made thereunder may provide -

 

                            (a) for regulating by licences, permits or otherwise the production or manufacture of  any essential commodity;

 

                                (b) for bringing under cultivation any waste or arable land, whether appurtenant to a  building or not, for the growing thereon of food-crops generally or of specified food-crops, and for otherwise maintaining or increasing the cultivation of food-crops generally, or of specified food-crops;

 

                                (c) for controlling the price at which any essential commodity may be bought or sold;

 

                                (d) for regulating by licences, permits or otherwise the storage, transport, distribution, disposal, acquisition, use or consumption of , any essential commodity;

 

                                (e) for prohibiting the withholding from sale of any essential commodity ordinarily kept for sale;

 

                        b*[(f) for requiring any person holding in stock, or engaged in the production, or in the

                             business of buying or selling, of any essential commodity,-

 

                                  (a)  to sell the whole or a specified part of the quantity held in stock or produced or

                                   received by him, or

 

                                  (b)  in the case of any such commodity which is likely to be produced or received by

                                   him, to sell the whole or a specified part of such commodity when produced or

                                   received by him,

 

to the Central Government or a State Government or to an officer or agent of such Government or to a Corporation owned or controlled by such Government or to such other person or class of persons and in such circumstances as may be specified in the order.

 

                        Explanation 1.- An order made under this clause in relation to food-grains, edible oilseeds

                        or edible oils, may, having regard to the estimated production, in the concerned area, of

                       such foodgrains, edible oilseeds and edible oils, fix the quantity to be sold by the producers 

                       in  such area and may also fix, or provide for the fixation of, such quantity on a graded basis,

                       having regard to the aggregate of the area held by, or under the cultivation of, the

                       producers.

 

                        Explanation 2.- For the purpose of this clause, "production" with its grammatical 

                        variations and cognate expressions includes manufacture of edible oils and sugar;]

 

 

                                (g) for regulating or prohibiting any class of commercial or financial transactions relating to foodstuffs or cotton textiles which, in the opinion of the authority making the order, are, or, if unregulated, are likely to be, detrimental to the public interest;

 

                                (h) for collecting any information or statistics with a view to regulating or prohibiting any of the aforesaid matters;

 

                                        (i) for requiring persons engaged in the production, supply or distribution, of, or

                                     trade and commerce in, any essential commodity to maintain and produce for

                                     inspection such books, accounts and records relating to their business and to furnish 

                                     such information relating thereto, as may be specified in the order;

 

                                     c*[(ii) for the grant or issue of licenses, permits or other documents, the charging of 

                                     fees therefor, the deposit of such sum, if any, as may be specified in the order as 

                                    security for the due performance of conditions of any such licence, permit or other 

                                   document, the forfeiture of the sum so deposited or any part thereof for contravention 

                                   of any such conditions, and the adjudication of such forfeiture by such authority as 

                                   may be specified in the order;]

 

                       d*[(j) for any incidental and supplementary matters, including in particular, the entry, search or examination of premises, aircraft, vessels, vehicles or other conveyances and animals, and the seizure by a person authorised to make such entry, search or examination-

 

                                     (i) of any articles an respect of which such person has reason to believe that a 

                                      contravention of the order has been, is being, or is about to be, committed and any 

                                     packages, coverings or receptacles in which such articles are found;

 

                                     (ii) of any aircraft, vessel, vehicle or other conveyance or animal used in carrying 

                                     such articles, if such person has reason to believe that such aircraft, vessel or

                                     vehicle or other conveyance or animals is liable to be forfeited under the provisions 

                                     of this Act;

 

                                e*[(iii) of any books of accounts and documents which in the opinion of such person,

                                    may be useful for, or relevant to, any proceeding under this Act and the person from 

                                    whose custody such books of accounts or documents are seized shall be entitled to    

                                    make copies thereof or to take extracts therefrom in the presence of an officer having

                                    custody of such books of accounts or documents.]]

 

i*["Provided that where a person authorised under an order issued under this section to make the entry,

search, examination or seizure is below the rank of a Magistrate of the first class or its equivalent, he shall 

obtain prior permission of an officer not below the rank of a Magistrate of the first class or its equivalent

before making such entry, search, examination or seizure."

 

(2A) An order made under this section may provide for certain allowance for difference between physical

stock and stock  in record of any essential commodity which may occur due to climatic conditions or

handling of the essential  commodity.]

 

(3) Where any person sells any essential commodity in compliance with an order made with reference to clause (f) of sub-section (2), there shall be paid to him the price therefor as hereinafter provided:-

 

                                (a) where the price can, consistently with the controlled price, if any, fixed under this section, be agreed upon, the agreed price;

 

                                (b) where no such agreement can be reached, the price calculated with reference to the controlled price, if any,

 

                                (c) where neither clause (a) nor clause (b) applies, the price calculated at the market rate prevailing in the locality at the date of sale.

 

 

f*[(3A)  ( i ) If the Central Government is of opinion that it is necessary so to do for controlling the rise in prices, or preventing the hoarding, of any foodstuffs in any locality, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (3), the price at which the foodstuff shall be sold in the locality in compliance with an order made with reference to clause (f) of sub-section (2) shall be regulated in accordance with the provisions of this sub-section.

 

             (ii) Any notification issued under this sub-section shall remain in force for such period not

             exceeding three months as may be specified in the notification.

 

            (iii) Where, after the issue of a notification under this sub-section, any person sells foodstuffs of the 

            kind specified therein and in the locality so specified, in compliance with an order made with

            reference to clause (f) of sub-section (2), there shall be paid to the seller as the price therefor-

 

                   (a) where the price can consistently with the controlled price of the foodstuffs, if any, fixed

                   under this section, be agreed upon, the agreed price;

 

                   (b) where no such agreement can be reached, the price calculated with reference to the

                   controlled price, if any;

 

                   ( c ) where neither clause (a) nor clause (b) applies, the price calculated with reference to the

                   average market rate prevailing in the locality during the period of three months immediately

                   preceding the date of the notification.

 

            (iv) For the purposes of sub-clause (c ) of clause (iii) the average market rate prevailing in the 

             locality shall be determined by an officer authorised by the Central Government in this behalf, with 

            reference to the prevailing market rates for which published figures are available in respect of that

            locality or of a neighbouring locality; and the average market rate so determined shall be final and

            shall not be called in question in any Court.]

 

 

g*[(3B) Where any person is required, by an order made with reference to clause (f) of sub-section (2) to sell to the Central Government or to a State Government or to an officer or agent of such Government or to a corporation owned or controlled by such Government, any grade or variety of foodgrains, edible oilseeds or edible oils in relation to which no notification has been issued under sub-section (3A), or such notification having been issued, has ceased to be in force, there shall be paid to the person concerned, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in sub-section (3), an amount equal to procurement price of such foodgrains, edible oilseeds or edible oils, as the case may be specified by the State Government, with the previous approval of the Central Government having regard to-

 

              (a) the controlled price, if any, fixed under this section or by or under any other law for the time

               being in force for such grade or variety of foodgrains, edible oilseeds or edible oils;

 

              (b) the general crop prospects;

 

              ( c ) the need for making such grade or variety of foodgrains, edible oilseeds or edible oils

              available at reasonable prices to the consumers, particularly the vulnerable sections of the

              consumers; and

 

              (d) the recommendations if any, of the Agricultural Prices Commissions with regard to the price

              of the concerned grade or variety of foodgrains, edible oil seeds or edible oils.]

 

 

h*[(3C) Where any producer is required by an order made with reference to clause (f) of sub-section (2) to sell any kind of sugar (whether to the Central Government or a State Government or to an officer or agent of such Government or to any other person or class of persons) and either no notification in respect of such sugar has been issued under sub-section (3A) or any such notification, having been issued, has ceased to remain in force by efflux of time, then, notwithstanding anything contained in sub-sec.(3), there shall be paid to that producer an amount therefor which shall be calculated with reference to such price of sugar as the Central Government may, by order, determine, having regard to-

 

              (a) the minimum price, if any fixed for sugarcane by the Central Government under this section;

 

              (b) the manufacturing cost of sugar;

 

              (c) the duty or tax, if any, paid or payable thereon; and

 

              (d) the securing of a reasonable return on the capital employed in the business of manufacturing

               sugar,

and different prices may be determined from time to time for different areas or for different factories or for different kinds of sugar.

 

              Explanation.- For the purposes of this sub-section, "producer" means a person carrying on the

               business of manufacturing sugar.]

 

             

(4) If the Central Government is of opinion that it is necessary so to do for maintaining or increasing the production and supply of an essential commodity, it may, by order, authorise any person (hereinafter referred to as an authorised controller) to exercise, with respect to the whole or any part of any such undertaking engaged in the production and supply of the commodity as may be specified in the order such functions of control as may be provided therein and so long as such order is in force with respect to any undertaking or part thereof,-

 

                                (a) the authorised controller shall exercise his functions in accordance with any instructions given to him by the Central Government, so, however, that he shall not have any power to give any direction inconsistent with the provisions of any enactment or any instrument determining the functions of the persons in charge of the management of the undertaking, except in so far as may be specifically provided by the order; and

 

                                (b) the undertaking or part shall be carried on in accordance with any directions given by the authorized controller under the provisions of the order, and any person having any functions of management in relation to the undertaking or part shall comply with any such directions.

 

(5) An order made under this section shall,-

 

                                (a) in the case of an order of a general nature or affecting a class of persons, be notified in the Official Gazette; and

 

                                (b) in the case of an order directed to a specified individual be served on such individual-

 

                                                (i) by delivering or tendering it to that individual, or

 

                                                (ii) if it cannot be so delivered or tendered, by affixing it on the outer door or some other conspicuous part of the premises in which that individual lives, and a written report thereof shall be prepared and witnessed by two persons living in the neighbourhood.             

 

(6) Every order made under this section by the Central Government or by any officer or authority of the Central Government shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament, as soon as may be, after it is made.

 

 

              [a] Inserted by the Essential Commodities (Second Amendment) Act, 1967 (36 of 1967),

                    S.3 (a);

 

              [b] Substituted by Act 92 of 1976, S.3 (a) ( i ) (2-9-1976).

 

              [c] Inserted by Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 1961 (14 of 1961), S.2.

 

              [d] Substituted by Act 66 of 1971, S.2 (23-12-1971).

 

              [e] Substituted for sub-clause (iii) by Act 92 of 1976, S.3 (ii) (2-9-1976).

 

              [f] Inserted by the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 1957 (13 of 1957), S.2

                   (4-6-1957).

 

              [g] Substituted for former sub-section (3B) by Act 92 of 1976, S.3 (b) (2-9-1976).

 

              [h] Inserted by the Essential Commodities (Second Amendment) Act, 1967 (36 of 1967),

                    S.3 ( c ) (30-12-1967).

 

              [i] Inserted by S.3 of The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 1998 (13 of 1998).

 

 

OBJECTS AND REASONS

 

( i ) Sub-section (3A) inserted by Act XIII of 1957.- "Under Cl.(f) of sub-section (2) of Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, the Central Government can direct a person holding stocks of food grains to sell the whole or a specified part of it to any person or class of persons.Under sub-section (3) of the said section, the person holding the stocks is required to be paid the price for the foodgrains at the market rate prevailing in the locality at the date of the sale, if there is no controlled price in force at the time.At present there is no control of prices in any part of the country.In a rising market, the present provisions of the Act do not discourage hoarding as the stockists can at any time obtain the prevailing market price on the date of issue of orders by the Central Government directing them to sell the stocks.

 

2.In view of the present high level of prices, it is considered necessary in order to discourage hoarding and to prevent undue profiteering by the traders, to alter this provision.It is proposed that in the absence of a controlled price, the stockist should be entitled to receive the average market rate prevailing in the locality during the period of three months preceding the date of the issue of the notification applying the new provisions, and not the market rate prevailing on the date of sale."-S.O.R., Gaz.of Ind., 1957, Extra., Pt.II, S.2, p.203.

 

(ii) Clause ( j ) of section 3 (2) of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) enables the Central Government, while making an order under Section 3 of the Act, to provide for incidental and supplementary matters including the entry into and search of, premises and conveyances and the seizure by an authorised person of articles in respect of which any contravention of such order has taken place or is about to take place.That clause does not expressly authorise the seizure of the coverings or receptacles in which the property is found or the conveyances used in carrying the property, although the Court is empowered to order their forfeiture to Government after trial.It is, therefore, proposed to amend that clause to empower the seizure of such coverings and receptacles, and to authorise the seizure of conveyances or animals used for the transport of offending goods when the person seizing the goods has reason to believe that the conveyance or animal is liable to be forfeited.

 

Sub-s.(3B) of S.3 of the Act lays down the procedure for fixing prices of foodgrains, edible oilseeds or edible oils, sold in pursuance of an order made under Section 3 (2) (f) of the Act.Such price is to be fixed having regard to ( i ) the controlled price of foodgrains, edible oilseeds or edible oils fixed under that section or by or under any other law; and (ii) the price of the foodgrains, edible oilseeds and edible oils prevailing or likely to prevail during the post-harvest period in the area to which the order applies.The question of assessing the prevailing price or the price likely to prevail during the post-harvest period will arise only when there is no controlled price.It is, therefore, proposed to amend sub-section (3B) suitably to make this clear.-Gaz.of Ind., 14-12-1971, Pt.II, S.2, Ext., p.1163 (Act 66 of 1971).

 

(iii) Sub-section (3B) of  Section 3 is being substituted to provide for the procedure for fixing the price in the case of levy on foodgrains, edible oilseeds or edible oils and further to provide for the criteria for the fixation of such price.

 

(iv) According to the provisions of Section 3 (2) (j) (iii) original books of accounts and documents, which are seized under the Act, are required to be returned to the persons from whom they had been seized.It is now proposed to retain the original documents and to empower the affected persons to make copies for their own use.- Gaz.of India,27-5-1976, Pt.II, S.2, Ext., p.960.(Act 92 of 1976).

 

STATE AMENDMENTS

 

Bihar

 

In its application to State of Bihar, in S.3.-

 

( i ) in sub-section (2), for clause (f) the following clause shall be and shall be deemed always to have been substituted:-

 

"(f) for requiring any person holding in stock, or engaged in the manufacture or production of, or in the business of buying or selling any essential commodity to sell the whole or a specified part of the quantity held in stock or produced or caused to be produced or likely to be manufactured or produced or caused to be produced by him or received or likely to be received by him in the course of the said business, to the Central Government or a State Government or to such other person or class of persons and in such circumstances as may be specified in the order.

 

         Explanation.- An order relating to foodgrains made with reference to this clause,-

 

              (i) may specify the prices, fixed by the Central/State Government in this behalf, after taking into

               account the recommendations, if any of the Agricultural Prices Commission and with the prior

               concurrence of the Central Government as the amount which shall be paid for the foodgrain

               requied to be sold under the order.

 

              (ii) may fix or provide for the fixation of the quantity to be sold by a producer with reference to the

              area under cultivation and the availability of irrigation for production of the particular foodgrain to

              which the order relates, and also fix or provide for the fixation of such quantities on a graded basis

              having regard to the aggregate area held by or under the cultivation of different producers."-Bih.

              Act 9 of 1978, S.3.

 

(ii) in sub-section (3), for clause (c), the following clauses shall be and shall be deemed always to

have been substituted:

 

         "( c ) in the case of foodgrains, where neither clause (a) nor clause (b) applies, the price, if any

         specified in the said order;

 

           (d) where neither clause (a), nor clause (b), nor clause (c) applies, the price calculated at the market

            rate prevailing in the locality at the date of sale.-Bih.Act 9 of 1978, S.3.

 

(iii) in sub-section (3B), after clause (a), the following clause shall be and shall be deemed always

to have been inserted,-

 

             "(aa) in the case of foodgrains, where no controlled price is fixed by an order made with reference

             to clause ( c ) of sub-section (2), the amount specified in the said order made with reference to

             clause (f) of sub-section (2) for such grade or variety of foodgrains or"-Bih.Act 9 of 1978, S.3.

 

Maharashtra

 

In its application to the State of Maharashtra, in section 3:-

 

    (a) in sub-section (2), for clause (f), the following clause shall be substituted, and shall be deemed

     always have been substituted, namely:-

 

         "(f) for requiring any person holding in stock, or likely to hold in stock, or engaged in the        

         manufacture or production or processing of, or in the business of buying or selling, any essential

         commodity, to sell, the whole or a specified part of the quantity of the essential commodity held in 

         stock or likely to be held in stock by him or manufactured or produced or processed or likely to be

         manufactured or produced or processed by him or received or likely to be received by him in his

         business of buying or selling to the Central Government or the State Government or to an  officer or

         agent of any Government or to such other person or class of persons and in such circumstances as

         may be specified in the order:

 

         Explanation.- An order made under this clause in respect of foodgrains may fix or provide for

         fixation of the quantity to be sold by a producer with reference to the nature and extent of his holding

         or the land revenue payable by him with certain weightages which may be prescribed for certain crops

         or lands enjoying irrigation or other facilities and also fix or provide for fixation of the quantity to be

         sold on a graded basis having regard to the size of the holdings of different producers."-Mah.Act 1 of

         1976, S.3.

 

    (b) In sub-section (3), for clause (c ), the following clause shall be substituted, and shall be deemed

    always to have been substituted, namely:-

 

         "(c) where neither clause ( c ), the following clause shall be substituted, and shall be deemed always

         to  have been substituted, namely:-

 

         "(c) where neither clause (a) nor clause (b) applies, in the case of foodgrains, the amount, if any,

         specified in or calculated in accordance with the order made under clause (f) of sub-section (2) read

         with sub-section (3-B), and in the case of any other essential commodity, the price calculated at the

         market rate prevailing in the locality at the date of sale."-Mah.Act 1 of 1976, S.3 (b).

 

      (c) for sub-section (3-B), the following sub-section shall be substituted and shall be deemed always to

       have been substituted, namely:-

 

         "(3-B) where, by an order made with reference to clause (f) of sub-section (2), any person is required

         to sell any grade or variety of foodgrains, edible oilseeds or edible oils to the Central Government or a

         State Government or an officer or agent of such Government or a corporation owned or controlled by

         such Government  or to a person or class of persons specified in the order, and either no notification 

         in respect of such foodgrains, edible oilseeds or edible oils has been issued under sub-section (3-A) or

         any such notification having been issued, has ceased to remain in force by efflux of time then,

         notwithstanding anything  contained in sub-section (3), there shall be paid to the person concerned an

         amount determined by the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be,-

 

                   (a) having regard to the controlled price, if any, fixed under this section or by or under any law 

                   for for the time being in force for such grade or variety of foodgrains, edible oilseeds or edible

                   oils, or

 

                   (b) having regard to the prices recommended by the Agricultural Prices Commission for the

                   concerned essential commodity, where no controlled price in relation to such commodity, has

                   been fixed by or under any law for the time being in force."-Mah.Act 1 of 1976, S.3 (c).

 

 

Uttar Pradesh

    

(i) clause "(ff) for preventing the hoarding of any essential commodity" introduced by U.P.Act 9 of 1974 is deemed to have been repealed with effect from 22-6-1974-See U.P.Act 18 of 1975, S.2.

 

(ii) In its application to State of Uttar Pradesh:-

 

      (a) in Section 3, in sub-section (2), for clause (f), the following clause shall be substituted and deemed

       always to have been substituted.-

 

1*[ (f) for requiring any person holding in stock or engaged in the manufacture or production of, or in the business of buying or selling any essential commodity to sell the whole or a specified part of quantity held in stock or manufactured or produced or likely to be manufactured or produced by him or received or likely to be received by him in the course of said business of buying or selling, to the Central Government or a State Government or to an officer or agent of such Government or to such other person or class of persons and in such circumstances as may be specified in the order;

 

         Explanation.- An order relating to foodgrains made with reference to this clause-

 

               ( I ) may specify the price fixed by Central Government in this behalf after taking into account the

               recommendations, if any, of the Agricultural Prices Commission as the amount which shall be

               paid for the foodgrains required to be sold under the order;

 

          2*[(II) may fix or provide for the fixation of the quantity to be sold by a producer with reference to

                the area under cultivation for production of the particular foodgrains to which the order relates,

                and also fix or provide for the fixation of such quantities on a graded basis having regard to the

                aggregate area held by or under the cultivation of different producers.]] 

 

     

      (b) in sub-section (3), for clause (c), the following clauses shall be substituted and be deemed always to

      have been substituted.-

 

      "(c) in the case of foodgrains, where neither clause (a) nor clause (b) applies, the amount, if any

       specified in the said order made with reference to clause (f) of sub-section (2);

 

      (d) where neither clause (a), nor clause (b), nor clause (c), applies the price calculated, at the market

       rate prevailing in the locality at the date of sale."-U.P.Act 18 of 1975, S.4 (b).

 

      (c) in sub-section (3-B), after clause ( i ), the following clause shall be inserted and be deemed always

       to have been inserted,-

 

      "(i-a) in the case of foodgrains, where no controlled price is fixed by an order made with reference to

      clause (f) of sub-section (2), for such grade or variety of foodgrains.".- U.P.Act 18 of 1975, S.4 (c ).

 

              [1] Substituted by U.P.Act 18 of 1975, S.4.

 

              [2] Substituted and deemed always to have been so, by U.P.Act 39 of 1975, Section 2.

 

 

4.Imposition of duties on State governments, etc

.-

 

An order made under section 3 may confer powers and impose duties upon the Central Government or the State Government or officers and authorities of the Central Government or State Government, and may contain directions to any State Government or to officers and authorities thereof as to the exercise of any such powers or the discharge of any such duties.

 

 

 

5.Delegation of powers

.-

 

The Central Government may, by notified order, direct that a*[the power to make orders or issue notifications under section 3] shall in relation to such matters, and subject to such conditions, if any, as may be specified in the direction, be exercisable also by-

                               

                                (a) such officer or authority subordinate to the Central Government, or

 

                                (b) such State Government or such officer or authority subordinate to a State Government,

 

as may be specified in the direction.

 

              [a] Substituted for the words and figure "the power to make orders under Section 3" by

                     Act 66 of 1971, S.3 (23-12-1971).

 

OBJECTS AND REASONS

                                                                

Section 5 of the Act enables the Central Government to delegate the power to pass orders under section 3 of the Act to a State Government and to other officers or authorities mentioned in that section.However, as sub-section (3A) of section 3 of the Act enables the issue of a notification, a doubt has arisen whether such a power to issue a notification can also be delegated under section 5.It is proposed to amend that section to make it clear that the power to issue such a notification can also be delegated.-Gaz.of India, 14-12-71, Pt.II, S.2, Ext., p.1103.

 

 

 

 

 

6.Effect of orders inconsistent with other enactments

.-

 

Any order made under section 3 shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any enactment other than this Act or any instrument having effect by virtue of any enactment other than this Act.

 

 

a*[ 6A. Confiscation of foodgrains, edible oilseeds and edible oils.-

 

b*[ (1) ] Where any c*[essential commodity is seized] in pursuance of an order made under section 3 in relation thereto, d*[a report of such seizure, shall without unreasonable delay be made to] the Collector of the district or the Presidency-town in which such c*[essential commodity is seized] and whether or not a prosecution is instituted for the contravention of such order, the Collector, e*[may, if he thinks it expedient so to do, direct the essential commodity so seized to be produced for inspection before him and if he is satisfied] that there has been a contravention of the order f*[may order confiscation of-

 

         (a) the essential commodity so seized;

 

         (b) any package, covering or receptacle in which such essential commodity is found; and

 

         (c) any animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance used in carrying such essential commodity].

 

Provided that without prejudice to any action which may be taken under any provision of this Act, no foodgrains or edible oilseeds seized in pursuance of an order made under section 3 in relation thereto from a producer shall, if the seized foodgrains or edible oilseeds have been produced by him be confiscated under this section.

 

g*[Provided further that in the case of any animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance used for the carriage of goods or passengers for hire, the owner of such animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance shall be given an option to pay, in lieu of its confiscation, a fine not exceeding the market price at the date of seizure of the essential commodity sought to be carried by such animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance].

 

h*[ (2) Where the Collector, on receiving a report of seizure or on inspection of any essential commodity under sub-section (1), is of the opinion that the essential commodity is subject to speedy and natural decay or it is otherwise expedient in the public interest so to do, he may-

 

         (i ) order the same to be sold at the controlled price, if any, fixed for such essential commodity under

         this Act or under any other law for the time being in force; or

 

         (ii) where no such price is fixed, order the same to be sold by public auction:

 

f*[ i*[Provided that, in case of any essential commodity the retail sale price whereof  has been fixed by the Central Government or a State Government under this  Act or under any other law for the time being in force and which is being sold through fair  price shops, the Collector may, for its equitable distribution and availability at fair prices, order the same to be sold through fair price shops at the price so fixed.]]

 

(3) Where any essential commodity is sold, as aforesaid, the sale proceeds thereof, after deduction of the expenses of any such sale or auction or other incidental expenses relating thereto, shall-

 

         (a) where no order of confiscation is ultimately passed by the Collector,

 

         (b) where an order passed on appeal under sub-section (1) of section 6C so requires, or

 

         (c) where in a prosecution instituted for the contravention of the order in respect of which an order of

         confiscation has been made under this section, the person concerned is acquitted,

 

be paid to the owner thereof or the person from whom it is seized.]

 

              [a] Ss.6A to 6D inserted by Act 25 of 1966, S.3 (3-9-1966).

 

              [b] S.6A renumbered as sub-section (1) thereof by Act 92 of 1976, S.4 (2-9-1976).

 

              [c] Substituted for "foodgrains, edible oil seeds or edible oils are seized" by Act 36 of 1967,

                   S.4 (31-12-1967).

 

              [d] Substituted for words "it may be produced without any unreasonable delay before" by

                    Act 92 of 1976, S.4 (9) ( i ), (2-9-1976).

 

              [e] Substituted for words "if satisfied", ibid.

 

              [f] Substituted by Act 18 of 1981, S.4 (1-9-1982).

 

              [g] Inserted by Act 92 of 1976, S.4 (a) (ii) (2-9-1976).

 

              [h] Inserted by Act 92 of 1976, S.4 (2-9-1976).

 

             [i] Substituted by S.6A of The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 1998 

             (13 of 1998).

 

 

OBJECTS AND REASONS

 

The scope of Section 6A is being enlarged so that the physical production of the seized commodities before the Collector may not be obligatory and to give the Collector a discretion to direct the production of such commodities only when he desires such commodities to be produced before him for inspection.The Collector is also being empowered to order the distribution of the seized foodgrains through fair price shops at the price fixed by the Government.-Gaz.of India, 27-5-1976, Pt.II, Section 2, Ext, p.960.

 

STATE AMENDMENTS

 

Bihar

 

 

In its application to the State of Bihar for Section 6A substitute the following.-

 

"6-A.   Confiscation of foodgrains, edible oilseeds, edible oils, etc.-

 

(1) Where any essential commodity is seized in pursuance of an order made under section 3 in relation thereto it shall be reported without any reasonable delay to the Collector of the district in which such essential commodity is seized and the Collector may, if he thinks it exedient so to do, inspect or cause to be inspected such essential commodity, whether or not the prosecution is instituted for the contravention of such order and the Collector, if satisfied that there has been a contravention of the order, may order confiscation of-

 

         (a)  the essential commodities so seized;

 

         (b)  any package, covering or receptacle in which such essential commodity is found; and

 

         (c)  any animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance used in carrying such essential commodity:

 

Provided that, without prejudice to any action which may be taken under any other provision of this Act, no foodgrains or edible oilseeds seized in pursuance of an order made under section 3 in relation thereto from producer shall, if the seized foodgrains or edible oil-seeds have been produced by him, be confiscated under this section.

 

(2) Where the Collector, on receiving a report of seizure or in inspection of any essential commodity under sub-section (1), is of the opinion that such essential commodity is subject to speedy and natural decay or that it is otherwise expedient in the public interest so to do, he may order the same to be sold at the controlled price if any, fixed under any law for the time being in force.

 

(3)  In the case of foodgrains, where there is no controlled price, the Collector, if he thinks fit, may order the foodgrains seized under sub-section (1) to be sold through fair price shops at the price fixed by the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be for the sale of such foodgrains to the public through these shops or may order such foodgrains by public auction.

 

(4)  The Collector shall whenever it is practicable so to do having regard to the nature of the essential commodity take and preserve sample of the same in the prescribed manner before its sale or distribution.

 

(5)  Where any essential commodity is sold as aforesaid, the sale proceeds thereof, after deduction of all expenses of the sale or auction, as the case may be, shall-

 

         (a) where no order of confiscation is ultimately passed by the Collector; or

 

         (b) where an order passed on appeal under sub-clause (1) of section 6-C so requires; or

 

         (c) in the case of prosecution being instituted for the contravention of the order in respect of which an

         order of confiscation has been made under this section and where the person concerned is acquitted be

         paid to the owner thereof or the person from whom it is seized:

 

Provided that in the case of foodgrains sold through fair price shops in accordance with sub-sections (2) and (3) the owner shall be paid for the foodgrains so sold, the price fixed by the State Government, for retail sale of such foodgrains through such shops less all expenses of sale or auction under sub-sections (2) and (3).

 

(6)  Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure (Act II of 1974), when Collector or the appellate authority is seized with the matter under this section no court shall entertain any application in respect of essential commodities, any package covering, receptacle, any animal, vehicle or other conveyance used in carrying such commodities as far as its release, distribution etc.is concerned and the jurisdiction of Collector or the appellate authority with regard to the disposal of the same shall be exclusive.

 

(7) The State Government may by notification in the Official Gazette, authorise any officer not below the rank of sub-divisional  Magistrate, to discharge all or any of the functions of a Collector under this section.

 

(8) The Collector shall for the purposes of this Act have the same powers as are vested in a court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 when making enquiries under this section in respect of following matters, namely:-

 

         (a) receiving evidence on affidavits;

 

         (b) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath; and

 

         (c) compelling the production of documents.

 

(9) All enquiries and proceedings under this section before the Collector and the appellate authority shall be deemed to be judicial proceeding and while discharging functions under this section the Collector and the appellate authority shall be deemed to be a Court.

 

         Explanation.- For the purposes of this section the Collector shall include 'Additional Collector' and

         any officer specially authorised under sub-section (7).-Bih.Act 9 of 1978, S.4 (6-9-1978).

 

Maharashtra

 

In its application to the State of Maharashtra, for S.6A, substitute the following:-

 

"6-A.Confiscation of seized commodities.-

 

(1) Where any essential commodity is seized in pursuance of an order made under section 3 in relation thereto, a report to that effect shall, without any reasonable delay be sent to the Collector within whose jurisdiction the seizure is made, and the Collector may, if he thinks it expedient so to so, inspect or cause to be inspected such essential commodity, and whether or not a prosecution is instituted for the contravention of such order, the Collector, if satisfied that there has been contravention of the order, may order confiscation of-

 

         (a) the essential commodity so seized;

 

         (b) any package, covering or receptacle in which such essential commodity is found; and

 

         (c) any animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance used in carrying such essential commodity:

 

Provided that without prejudice to any action that may be takenunder any other provision of this Act, no foodgrains or edible oilseeds seized in pursuance of an order made under section 3 in relation thereto from a producer shall, if the seized foodgrains or edible oilseeds have been produced by him, be confiscated under this section;

 

Provided further that where any animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance is used for the carriage of goods or passengers for hire, the owner of such animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance shall be given an option to pay in lieu of its confiscation a fine not exceeding the market price at the date of seizure of the essential commodity sought to be carried.

 

(2) Where the Collector on receiving a report of seizure or on inspection of any essential commodity under sub-section (1) is of the opinion that such essential commodity is subject to speedy and natural decay or that it is otherwise expedient in the public interest so to so, he may order the same to be sold at the controlled price if any, fixed under any law for the time being in force; or where no such price is fixed by auction:

 

Provided that, in the case of foodgrains where there is no controlled price, the Collector may order the foodgrains seized to be sold through fair price shops at the price fixed by the Central Government or the State Government as the case may be for the sale of such foodgrains to the public through these shops:

 

Provided further that, whenever it is practicable so to so, having regard to the nature of the essential commodity, he shall take and preserve sample of the same before its sale or auction.

 

(3) Where any essential commodity is sold as aforesaid, the sale proceeds thereof after deduction of the expenses of the sale or auction, as the case may be, shall-

 

         (a) where no order of confiscation is ultimately passed by the Collector; or

 

         (b) where an order passed, on appeal under sub-clause (1) of section 6-C so requires; or

 

         (c) in the case of a prosecution being instituted for the contravention of the order in respect of which

          an order of confiscation has been made under be paid to the owner thereof or the person from whom

          it is seized:

 

Provided that, in the case of foodgrains sold  through fair price shops in accordance with the first priviso to sub-section (2), the owner shall be paid for the food grains so sold the price fixed by the State Government, for retail sale of such foodgrains through such shops, less all expenses of sale or auction under sub-section (2)."-Mah.Act 1 of 1976, S.4 (w.e.f.12-11-1975).

 

 

Uttar Pradesh

 

S.6A was substituted by U.P.Act 18 of 1975, S.3.But U.P.Act 16 of 1978, S.4 has omitted the same stating "Ss.6A and 6C as amended that substituted by U.P.Amendment, Sections 6A and 6C respectively, as amended or substituted by the Central Amendment shall be and be deemed with effect from the date of commencement of the Central Amendment to have been substituted."

 

a*[6B.  Issue of show cause notice before confiscation of foodgrains, etc.-

 

b*[ (1) ] No order confiscating c*[any essential commodity, package, covering or receptacle, animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance] shall be made under Section 6A unless the owner of such c*[essential commodity, package, covering or receptacle, animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance] or the person from whom d*[it is seized]-

 

         (a) is given a notice in writing informing him on the grounds on which it is proposed to confiscate the

         c*[essential commodity, package, covering or receptacle, animal, vehicle, vessel or other  

         conveyance].

 

         (b) is given an opportunity of making a representation in writing within such reasonable time as may

         be specified in the notice against the ground of confiscation; and

 

         (c) is given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in the matter.

 

e*[ (2) Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (1), no order confiscating any animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance shall be made under Section 6A if the owner of the animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance proves to the satisfaction of the Collector that it was used in carrying the essential commodity without the knowledge or connivance of the owner himself, his agent, if any, and the person in charge of the animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance and that each of them had taken all reasonable and necessary precautions against such use].

 

f*[ (3) No order confiscating any essential commodity, package, covering, receptacle, animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance shall be invalid merely by reason of any defect or irregularity in the notice given under clause (a) of sub-section (1), if, in giving such notice, the provisions of that clause have been substantially complied with.]

 

         [a] Ss.6A to 6D were inserted by Act 25 of 1966, S.3 (3-9-1966).

 

         [b] S.6B renumbered as sub-section (1); thereof by Act 30 of 1974, S.5 (a) (w.e.f.22-6-1974).

 

         [c] Words "essential commodity" in the renumbered sub-section (1) of S.6B substituted ibid.

 

         [d] Substituted for 'they are seized', by Act 36 of 1967, S.5 (31-12-1967).

 

         [e] Sub-section (2) inserted by Act 30 of 1974, S.5 (b) (w.e.f.22-6-1974).

 

         [f] Inserted by Act 92 of 1976, S.5 (2-9-1976).

 

 

OBJECTS AND REASONS

 

(vi) a new clause is being inserted in Section 6B to ensure that the orders regarding confiscation of essential commodities may not be considered illegal merely by reason of any defect or irregularity in the notice served for the purpose.-Gaz.of India, 27-5-1976, Pt.II, S.2, Ext., p.960.

 

STATE AMENDMENT

 

Uttar Pradesh

 

 

In its application to the State of Uttar Pradesh, after Section 6-B, insert Section 6-BB, namely.-

 

"6BB.  Review.-

 

(1) Where the Collector is satisfied that an order of confiscation or an order refusing confiscation made under S.6-A suffers from a mistake apparent on the face of the record (including any mistake of law) he may within one month of such order issue notice to the owner of the essential commodity, package, covering, receptacle, animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance, or, as the case may be, the person from whom it was seized, to show cause why that order should not be reviewed, and after giving him a reasonable opportunity of being heard, pass such order on review as he thinks fit.

 

(2)  The provisions of Sections 6-C and 6-D shall apply in relation to an order passed originally under S.6-A."-U.P.Act 18 of 1975, S.6 (31-3-1975).

 

 

6C.      Appeal.-

 

(1) Any person aggrieved by an order of confiscation under Section 6A may within one month from the date of the communication to him of such order, appeal to a*[ the State Government concerned and the State Government] after giving an opportunity to the appellant to be heard pass such order as it may think fit, confirming, modifying or annulling the order appealed against.

 

(2)  Where an order under Section 6A is modified or annulled by [the State Government]*b or where in a prosecution instituted for the contravention of the order in respect of which an order of confiscation has been made under Section 6A the person concerned in acquitted, and in either case it is not possible for any reason to c*[return the essential commodity seized] d*[such person shall except as provided by sub-section (3) of Section 6A, be paid] the price therefor e*[as if the essential commodity] had been sold to the Government with reasonable interest calculated from the day of the seizure of [the essential commodity]*f g*[and such price shall be determined-

 

         (i) in the case of foodgrains, edible oilseeds or edible oils, in accordance with the provisions of

         sub-section (3B) of section 3;

 

         (ii) in the case of sugar, in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (3C) of Section 3; and

 

         (iii) in the case of any other essential commodity, in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (3)

          of Section 3].

 

              [a] Substituted for words "any judicial authority appointed by the State Government and the

                    judicial authority" by Act 18 of 1981, S.5 (a) (1-9-1982).

 

              [b] Substituted for words "such judicial authority" by Act 18 of 1981, S.5 (b), (1-9-1982).

 

              [c] Substituted for "return the foodgrains, edible oilseeds or edible oil seized" by Act 36 of 1967,

                    S.6 (31-12-1967).

 

              [d] Substituted for 'such person shall be paid' by Act 92 of 1976, S.6  (2-9-1976).

 

              [e] Substituted for certain words by Act 36 of 1967, S.6 (31-12-1967).

 

              [f] Substituted for "article", ibid.

 

              [g] Substituted for "and such price shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of

                    sub-section (3B) of  S.3", ibid.

 

 

STATE AMENDMENTS

 

Bihar

 

In its application to the State of Bihar, S.6-C shall be substituted as follows:

 

"6-C.   Appeal.-

 

(1) Any person aggrieved by an order of confiscation under Section 6-A may, within one month from the date of the communication to him of such order, appeal to any judicial authority appointed by the State Government concerned and the judicial authority shall, after giving an opportunity to the appellant to be heard, pass such order as it may think fit, confirming, modifying or annulling the order appealed against.

 

(2) Where an order under Section 6-A modified or annulled by such judicial authority, or where in a prosecution for the contravention of the order in respect of which an order of confiscation has been made under Section 6-A, the person concerned is acquitted and in either case it is not possible for any reason to return the essential commodity seized, such person shall, save as provided by sub-section (3) of Section 6-A, be paid the price thereof as if the essential commodity had been sold to the Government with reasonable interest calculated from the day of the seizure of the essential commodity and such price shall be determined-

 

         (i) in the case of foodgrains, edible oilseeds or edible oils, in accordance with the provisions of

          sub-section (3B) of Section 3;

 

         (ii) in the case of sugar in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (3-C) of Section 3; and

 

         (iii) in the case of any other essential commodity, in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (3)

          of Section 3."-Bih.Act 9 of 1978, S.5 (6-9-1978).

 

 

Maharashtra

 

In its application to the State of Maharashtra, in S.6-C, in sub-section (2), for the words "such person shall be paid", the words, brackets, figures and letters "such person shall, except as provided by sub-section (3) of Section 6-A, be paid", shall be substituted.-Mah.Act 1 of 1976, S.5 (w.e.f.12-12-1975).

 

         [Ed.Note : S.6 of Maha.Act 1 of 1976 provides that orders passed by State Government relating to

          foodgrains, prior to commencement of this Amending Act shall be deemed to have been passed

          under S.3 (2) (f) as amended by the said Act any judgment, decree or order of any court,

          notwithstanding.]

 

Uttar Pradesh

 

S.6C as substituted and amended Central Amendment shall be and be deemed always to have been substituted and amended as by Central Amendment-See U.P.Act 16 of 1975, S.4.The effect is to wipe out U.P.Amendment made by U.P.Act 18 of 1975.Similarly S.8 of U.P.Act 18 of 1975 validates all orders passed by the State Government under S.3 (2) (f) prior to the commencement of the said Amending Act of 1975 any judgment, decree or order of any court notwithstanding.Act 18 of 1975 came into force on 31-3-1975.

 

 

a*[6D.  Award of confiscation not to interfere with other punishments.-

 

The award of any confiscation under this Act by the Collector shall not prevent the infliction of any punishment to which the person affected thereby is liable under this Act].

 

              [a] Section 6D inserted by the Essential Commodites (Amendment) Act, 1966 (25 of 1966),

                    Section 3 (3-9-1966).

 

a*[6E.  Bar of jurisdiction in certain cases.-

 

Whenever any essential commodity is seized in pursuance of an order made under S.3 in relation thereto, or any package, covering or receptacle in which such essential commodity is found, or any animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance used in carrying such essential commodity is seized pending confiscation under S.6A, the Collector, or as the case may be, the State Government concerned under S.6C shall have, and, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force, any Court, tribunal or other authority shall not have, jurisdiction to make orders with regard to the possession, delivery, disposal, release or distribution of such essential commodity, package, covering, receptacle, animal, vehicle, vessel or other conveyance.]

 

              [a] Substituted by Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act (42 of 1986), S.2 (8-9-1986).

 

 

 

7.Penalties

.-

 

a*[ (1) If any person contravenes any order made under section 3, -

 

           (a) he shall be punishable,-

 

                                d*[(i) in the case of an order made with reference to clause (h) or clause (i) of sub-section (2) of that section, with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both:

 

                              Provided that, if any person is again convicted of the same offence under this sub-clause, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for the second and for every subsequent offence for a term which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to one year and with fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees or with both:

 

                             Provided further that the court may, for any adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than three months;]

 

                                (ii) in the case of any other order, with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to e*[two years and shall also be liable to  fine which shall not be less than twenty-five thousand rupees]:

 

                                        b*[.]

 

           (b) any property in respect of which the order has been contravened shall be forfeited to the  

           Government:

 

           (c) any packing, covering or receptacle in which the property is found and any animal, vehicle,

            vessel or other conveyance used in carrying the property shall, if the court so orders, be forfeited

            to the Government.

 

 

(2) If any person to whom a direction is given under clause (b) of sub-section (4) of section 3 fails to comply with the direction, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to e*[two years and shall also be liable to fine which shall not be less than twenty-five thousand rupees]:

 

              b*[……..]

 

 

(2A) If any person convicted of an offence under sub-clause (ii) of clause (a) of sub-section (1) or under sub-section (2) is again convicted of an offence under the same provision, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for the second and for every subsequent offence for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to e*[two years and shall also be liable to fine which shall not be less than fifty-thousand rupees]:

 

              b*[…….]

              b*[…….]  

 

c*[ (3) Where a person having been convicted of an offence under sub-section (1) is again convicted of an  offence under that sub-section for contravention of an order in respect of an essential commodity, the Court by which such person is convicted shall, in addition to any penalty which may be imposed on him under that sub-section, by order, direct that, that person shall not carry on any business in that essential commodity for such period, not being less than six months, as may be specified by the Court in the order.]

 

              [a] Substituted for sub-sections (1) and (2), by Act 30 of 1974, S.6 (w.e.f 22-6-1974).

 

              [b] Provisos to, sub-section (1) (ii) sub-sections (2) and (2A) and sub-section (2A) omitted

                    by Act 18  of 1981, S.7 (1-9-1982).

 

             [c] Inserted by Act 36 of 1967, S.7 (30-12-1967).

 

             [d] Substituted by S.5 of The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 1998

            (13 of 1998) w.e.f.25th April, 1998.

             

             [e] Substituted by ibid.

 

a*[7A.Power of Central Government to recover certain amounts as arrears of land revenue.-

 

(1) Where any person, liable to-

 

         (a) pay any amount in pursuance of any order made under section 3, or

 

         (b) deposit any amount to the credit of any Account or Fund constituted by or in pursuance of any

         order made under that section, makes any default in paying or depositing the whole or any part of

         such amount, the amount in respect of which such default has been made shall [whether such order

         was made before or after the commencement of the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 1984

         and whether the liability of such person to pay or deposit such amount arose before or after such

         commencement] be recoverable by Government together with simple interest due thereon computed

         at the rate of b*[fifteen per cent, per annum from the date of such default to the date of recovery of

         such amount, as an arrear of land revenue c*[or as a public demand]

 

(2) The amount recovered under sub-section (1) shall be dealt with in accordance with the order under which the liability to pay or deposit such amount arose.

 

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force or any contract to the contrary, no court, tribunal or other authority shall grant any injunction or make any order prohibiting or restraining any Government from recovering any amount as an arrear of land revenue c*[or as a public demand] in pursuance of the provisions of sub-section (1).

 

 

(4)  If any order, in pursuance of which any amount has been recovered by Government as an arrear of land revenue under sub-section (1) is declared by a competent court, after giving to the Government a reasonable opportunity of being heard, to be invalid, the Government shall refund the amount so recovered by it to the person from whom it was recovered, together with simple interest due thereon, computed at the rate of b*[fifteen per cent.per annum, from the date of recovery of such amount to the date on which such refund is made.

 

         Explanation.- For the purposes of this section, "Government" means the Government by which the

          Concerned order under section 3 was made or where such order was made by an officer or authority

          subordinate to any Government, that Government.]

 

              [a] Inserted by Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act (34 of 1984), S.2 (1-7-1984).

 

              [b] Substituted for the words "six per cent" by Essential Commodities (Amendment)

                    Act (42 of 1986), S.3 (a) (8-9-1986).

 

              [c] Inserted, ibid, S.3 (b) (8-9-1986).

 

 

STATE AMENDMENTS

 

Section 7-A.

Punjab: Haryana: Chandigarh

 

After Section 7, insert the following new section:

 

"7-A.Forfeiture of certain property used in the commission of the offence.-

 

Whenever any offence relating to foodstuffs which is punishable under section 7 has been committed, the Court shall direct that all the packages, coverings or receptacles in which any property liable to be forfeited under the said section is found and all the animals, vehicles, vessels or other conveyances used in carrying the said property shall be forfeited to the Government."-Punjab Act XXXIV of 1959, Section 2 (27-8-1959).

 

 

Rajasthan:

 

After Section 7, insert the following new section:

 

"7-A.same as that of Punjab with following proviso:

 

Provided that if the Court is of opinion that it is not necessary to direct forfeiture in respect of all such packages, coverings or receptacles or such animals, vehicles, vessels, or other conveyances or any of them, it may, for reasons to be recorded, refrain from doing so."-Raj.Act 32 of 1960, Section 2 (24-9-1960).

 

 

 

 

8.Attempts and abetment

.-

 

Any person who attempts to contravene, or abets a contravention of any order made under section 3 shall be deemed to have contravened that order.

 

a*[Provided that where a person has abetted the contravention of any order for the purpose of procuring any essential commodity of the nature mentioned in sub-clause (iva) or sub-clause (v) of clause (a) of section 2 for his own use or for the use of any member of his family or for the use of any person dependent on him, and not for the purpose of carrying on any business or trade in such essential  commodity, the court may, notwithstanding anything contained in section 7 and for reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of fine only.]

 

              [a] Added by Act 18 of 1981, S.8 (1-9-1982).

 

 

 

 

9.False statements

.-

 

If any person,-

                               

                (i) when required by any order made under section 3 to make any statement or furnish any information, makes any statement or furnishes any information which is false in any material particular and which he knows or has reasonable cause to believe to be false, or does not believe to be true, or

 

                (ii) makes any such statement as aforesaid in any book, account, record, declaration, return or other document which he is required by any such order to maintain or furnish,

 

he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to a*[five years], or with fine or with both.

 

              [a] Substituted for 'three years' by the Essential Commodities (Second Amendment) Act, 1967

                    (36 of 1967), Section 8 (30-12-1967).

 

 

 

10.Offences by companies

.-  

 

(1) If the person contravening an order made under section 3 is a company, every person who, at the time the contravention was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the contravention and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly:

 

Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment if he proves that the contravention took place without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent such contravention.

 

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary, or other officer of the company, such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

 

                Explanation.-For the purposes of this section,-

 

                                (a) 'company' means any body corporate, and includes a firm or other association of        individuals; and

 

                                (b) 'director' in relation to a firm means a partner in the firm.

 

 

a*[ b*[10A.       Provision as to cognizance and bill.-

 

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code, every offence punishable under-

 

(a)  this Act shall be cognizable;

 

(b)  this Act, except under sub-clause (h) or sub-clause (i) of clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 7, shall be non-bailable;

 

(c)   sub-clause (h) or sub-clause (i) of clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 7, if committed more than once,  shall be non-bailable for the second and every subsequent offence.] ]

 

              [a] Inserted by the Essential Commodities (Second Amendment) Act, 1967 (36 of 1967),

                    Section 9 (30-12-1967).

 

             [b] Substituted by S.6 of The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 1998

            (13 of 1998) w.e.f.25th April 1998.

 

 

a*[ 10AA.        Power to arrest.-

 

b*[Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code, no officer below the rank of sub-inspector of police shall arrest any person accused of committing an offence punishable under this Act.]]

 

              [a] Inserted by Essential Commodities (Special Provisions) Amendment Act (34 of 1993), S.4

                    (w.e.f.27-8-1992) by amending the provisions of the Essential Commodities (Special

                    Provisions) Act (18 of 1981) which amends the Principal Act.

 

              [b] Inserted by S.7 of The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 1998 (13 of 1998)

              w.e.f.25th April, 1998.

 

 

a*[10B.            Power of court to publish name, place of business, etc., of companies convicted under the Act.-

 

(1) Where any company is convicted under this Act, it shall be competent for the court convicting the company to cause the name and place of business of the company, nature of the contravention, the fact that the company has been so convicted and such other particulars as the court may consider to be appropriate in the circumstances of the case, to be published at the expense of the company in such newspapers or in such other manner as the court may direct.

 

(2) No publication under sub-section (1) shall be made until the period for preferring an appeal against the orders of the court has expired without any appeal having been preferred, or such an appeal, having been preferred, has been disposed of.

 

(3) The expenses of any publication under sub-section (1) shall be recoverable from the company as if it were a fine imposed by the court.

 

              Explanation.- For the purposes of this section, "company" has the meaning assigned to it in

              Clause (a) of the Explanation to section 10.]

 

              [a] Inserted by Act 30 of 1974, S.3 (w.e.f.22-6-1974).

 

 

a*[10C.            Presumption of culpable mental state.-

 

(1) In any prosecution for any offence under this Act which requires a culpable mental state on the part of the accused, the court shall presume the existence of such mental state but it shall be a defence for the accused to prove the fact that he had no such mental state with respect to the act charged as an offence in that prosecution.

 

         Explanation.- In this section, "culpable mental state" includes intention, motive, knowledge of a fact

          and the belief in, or reason to believe, a fact.

 

(2) For the purposes of this section, a fact is said to be proved only when the court believes it to exist beyond reasonable doubt and not merely when its existence is established by a preponderance of probability.]

 

              [a] Inserted by Act 30 of 1974, S.8 (w.e.f.22-6-1974).

 

 

 

11.       Cognizance of offences.-

 

No court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act except on a report in writing of the facts constituting such offence made by a person who is a public servant as defined in section 21 of the Indian Penal Code a*[or any person aggrieved or any recognised consumer association whether such person is a member of that association or not].

 

         a*[Explanation.- For the purposes of this section and Section 12AA, "recognised consumer association" means a voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 1956 or any other law for the time being in force.]

 

              [a] Inserted by Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act (73 of 1986), S.2 (a)

                    and (b) (1-5-1987).

 

STATE AMENDMENT

 

Uttar Pradesh

 

In its application to the State of Uttar Pradesh, in section 11, substitute for the words "by person who is a public servant as defined in section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, "the words" by order of, or under authority from the District Magistrate or such other officer as may be empowered by the State Government by general or special order in this behalf.'-U.P.Act 9 of 1974, S.7 (24-4-1974).

 

 

b*[…….Omitted………..]

 

a*[ …………..Omitted ……………..]

 

[a] Omitted by Act 18 of 1981, S.10 (1-9-1982)

 

[b] "Section

12.Special provision regarding fine

.-"Omitted by S.8 of The  Essential Commodities  (Amendment) Ordinance, 1998  (13 of 1998)

w.e.f.25th April 1998.

 

a*[ b*[12A.       Constitution of Special Court.-

 

(1) The State Government may, for the purpose of providing speedy trial of the offences under this Act, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute as many Special Courts as may be necessary for such area as may be specified in the notification.

 

(2)  A Special Court shall consist of a single judge who shall be appointed by the High Court upon a

 request made by the State Government.

 

         Explanation.- In this sub-section, the word "appoint" shall have the meaning given to it  in the

         Explanation to section 9 of the Code.

 

(3)  A person shall not be qualified for appointment  as a judge of a Special Court unless-

 

(a)  He is qualified for appointment as a Judge of a High Court, or

 

(b)  he has, for a period of not less than one year, been a Session Judge or an Additional Sessions Judge.] ]

 

              [a] Substituted for original S.12A by Act 18 of 1981, S.10 (1-9-1982).

 

              [b] Insertion of new section for S.12A by S.9 of The Essential Commodities (Amendment)

             Ordinance, 1998 (13 of 1998) w.e.f.25th April, 1998.

 

 

a*[12AA.         Offences triable by Special Courts.-

 

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code,-

 

         (a) all offences under this Act shall be triable only by the Special Court constituted for the area in

         which the offence has been committed or where there are more Special Courts than one for such area,

         by such one of them as may be specified in this behalf by the High Court;

 

         (b) where a person accused of or suspected of the commission of an offence under this Act is

          forwarded to a Magistrate under sub-section (2) or sub-section (2A) of section 167 of the Code, such

          Magistrate may authorise the detention of such person in such custody as he thinks fit for a period

          not exceeding fifteen days in the whole where such Magistrate is a Judicial Magistrate and seven

          days in the whole where such Magistrate is an Executive Magistrate:

 

Provided that where such Magistrate considers-

 

         (i) when such person is forwarded to him as aforesaid; or

 

         (ii) upon or at any time before the expiry of the period of detention authorised by him;

 

that the detention of such person is unnecessary, he may, if he is satisfied that the case falls under the proviso to section 8, order the release of such person on bail and if he is not so satisfied, he shall order such person to be forwarded to the Special Court having jurisdiction;

 

         (c) the Special Court may, subject to the provisions of clause (d) of this sub-section, exercise, in

          relation to the person forwarded to it under clause (b), the same power which a Magistrate having

          jurisdiction to try a case may exercise under section 167 of the Code in relation to an accused person

          in such case who has been forwarded to him under that section;

 

         (d) save as aforesaid no person accused of or suspected of the commission of an offence under this

         Act shall be released on bail by any court other than a Special Court or the High Court:

 

Provided that a Special Court shall not release any such person on bail-

 

         (i) without giving the prosecution an opportunity to oppose the application for such release unless the

         Special Court, for reasons to be recorded in writing, is of opinion that it is not practicable to give

        such opportunity; and

 

         (ii) where the prosecution opposes the application, if the Special Court is satisfied that there appear

          reasonable grounds for believing that he has been guilty of the offence concerned:

 

Provided further that the Special Court may direct that any such person may be released on bail if he is under the age of sixteen years or is a woman or is a sick or infirm person, or if the Special Court is satisfied that it is just and proper so to do for any other special reason to be recorded in writing;

 

         (e) a Special Court may, upon a perusal of police report of the facts constituting an offence under this

         Act b*[or upon a complaint made by an officer of the Central Government or a State Government

         authorised in this behalf by the Government concerned c*[or any person aggrieved or any recognised

         consumer association, whether such person is a member of that association or not] take cognizance

         of that offence without the accused being committed to it for trial;

 

         (f) all offences under this Act shall be tried in a summary way and the provisions of sections 262 to

          265 (both inclusive) of the Code shall, as far as may be, apply to such trial:

 

Provided that in the case of any conviction in a summary trial under this section, it shall be lawful for the Special Court to pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

 

(2)  When trying an offence under this Act, a Special Court may also try an offence other than an offence under this Act, with which the accused may, under the Code, be charged at the same trial:

 

Provided that such other offences is under any other law for the time being in force, triable in a summary way:

 

Provided further that in the case of any conviction for such other offence in such trial, it shall not be lawful for the Special Court to pass a sentence of imprisonment for a term exceeding the term provided for conviction in a summary trial under such other law.

 

(3) A Special Court may, with a view to obtaining the evidence of any person suspected to have been directly or indirectly concerned in, or privy to, an offence under this Act, tender a pardon to such person on condition of his making a full and true disclosure of the whole circumstances within his knowledge relating to the offence and to every other person concerned whether as principal or abettor in the commission thereof and any pardon so tendered shall for the purposes of Section 308 of the Code, be deemed to have been tendered under Section 307 thereof.

 

(4) Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to affect the special powers of the High Court regarding bail under Section 439 of the Code and the High Court may exercise such powers including the power under clause (b) of sub-section (1) of that section as if the reference to "Magistrate" in that section included also a reference to a "Special Court" constituted under Section 12A.]

 

              [a] Substituted by Act 18 of 1981, S.10 (1-9-1982).

 

              [b] Inserted by Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act (42 of 1986), S.4 (8-9-1986).

 

              [c] Inserted ibid (73 of 1986), S.3 (1-5-1987).

 

 

a*[12AB.         Appeal and revision.-

 

The High Court may exercise, so far as may be applicable, all the powers conferred by Chapters XXIX and XXX of the Code on a High Court, as if a Special Court within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the High Court were a Court of Session trying cases within the local limits of the jurisdiction of the High Court.]

 

              [a]  Substituted by Act 18 of 1981, S.10 (1-9-1982).

 

 

a*[12AC.         Application of Code to proceedings before a Special Court.-

 

Save as otherwise provided in this Act, the provisions of the Code (including the provisions as to bail and bonds) shall apply to the proceedings before a Special Court and for the purposes of the said provisions, the Special Court shall be deemed to be a Court of Session and the person conducting a prosecution before a Special Court, shall be deemed to be a Public Prosecutor.]

 

              [a] Substituted by Act 18 of 1981, S.10 (1-9-1982).

 

 

a*[12B.            Grant of injunction, etc., by civil courts.-

 

No civil court shall grant an injunction or make any order for any other relief against the Central Government or any State Government or a public officer in respect of any act done or purporting to be done by such Government, or such officer in his official capacity, under this Act or any order made thereunder, until after notice of the application for such injunction or other relief has been given to such Government or officer.]

 

              [a] Inserted by Act 30 of 1974, S.11 (w.e.f.22-6-1974).

 

 

 

13.Presumption as to orders

.-

 

Where an order purports to have been made and signed by an authority in exercise of any power conferred by or under this Act, a Court shall presume that such order was so made by that authority within the meaning of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

                                                                               

 

 

14.Burden of proof in certain cases

.-

 

Where a person is prosecuted for contravening any order made under section 3 which prohibits him from doing any act or being in possession of a thing without lawful authority or without a permit, licence or other document, the burden of proving that he has such authority, permit, licence or other document shall be on him.

                                                          

 

15.       Protection of action taken under Act.-

 

(1) No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of any order made under Section 3.

 

(2) No suit or other legal proceeding shall be against the Government for any damage caused or likely to be caused by anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of any order made under Section 3.

 

 

a*[15A.            Prosecution of public servants.-

 

Where any person who is a public servant is accused of any offence alleged to have been committed by him while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his duty in pursuance of an order made under section 3, no court shall take cognizance of such offence except with the previous sanction-

 

         (a) of the Central Government, in the case of a person who is employed or, as the case may be, was at

         the time of commission of the alleged offence employed, in connection with the affairs of the Union;

 

         (b) of the State Government, in the case of a person who is employed or, as the case may be, was at

         the time of commission of the alleged offence employed, in connection with the affairs of the State].

 

              [a] Inserted by Act 92 of 1976, S.8 (2-9-1976).

 

 

OBJECTS AND REASONS

 

In order to protect the public servants functioning under the Act against malicious and vexatious complaints, a new section, namely, Section 15A, is being inserted providing that no cognizance shall be taken of any complaint against any public servant except with the previous sanction of the Central Government or, as the case may be, of the State Government.-Gaz.of India, 27-5-1976 part II, S.2, Ext., p.960.

 

 

16.       Repeals and savings.-

 

(1) The following laws are hereby repealed:-                                                    

 

                                (a) the Essential Commodities Ordinance, 1955;

 

                                (b) any other law in force in any State immediately before the commencement of this Act in so far as such law controls or authorises the control of the production, supply and distribution of, and trade and commerce in, any essential commodity.

 

 

(2) Notwithstanding such repeal, any order made or deemed to be made by any authority whatsoever, under any law repealed hereby and in force immediately before the commencement of this Act, shall, in so far as such order may be made under this Act, be deemed to be made under this Act and continue in force, and accordingly any appointment made, licence or permit granted or direction issued under any such order in force immediately before such commencement shall continue in force until and unless it is superseded by any appointment made, licence or permit granted or direction issued under this Act.

 

 

(3) The provisions of sub-section (2) shall be without prejudice to the provisions contained in section 6 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, which shall also apply to the repeal of the Ordinance or other law referred to in sub-section (1), as if such Ordinance or other law had been an enactment.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________

[DatacorrnGK/PrMC&PGad/AppPVSad].