Clause-17 of the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Commodities Dealers (Licensing, Storage and Regulation) Order, 2008 (for short 'the Control Order 2008')= Head Constable -the seizure itself is without jurisdiction = Clause-17 of the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Commodities Dealers (Licensing, Storage and Regulation) Order, 2008 (for short 'the Control Order 2008'). Under Clause-17(1) thereof, certain officers of different departments are empowered inter alia to seize the stocks. As regards the Police department, it is the officers not below the rank of Sub-Inspectors, within their respective jurisdictions, who are authorized to exercise this power. As noted herein before, it is the Head Constable of Porumamilla Police Station, who has seized the lorry along with the stocks. Therefore, ex facie, the seizure is without jurisdiction and the petitioners are entitled to the release of the seized stocks and the lorry. Besides the fact that the seizure by the Head Constable of Porumamilla Police Station is without the authority of law, even a perusal of the panchanama shows that the seizure is made on mere suspicion based on the size of the rice. The contents of the panchanama would clearly reveal that the driver of the said lorry has produced all the bills for transportation of the stocks.

PUBLISHED IN http://judis.nic.in/judis_andhra/filename=9749

HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE C.V.NAGARJUNA REDDY        

WRIT PETITION No.9569 of 2013  

01.04.2013

Sri Vigneswara Traders,Komerapudi Village, Sattenapalli Mandal,Guntur District,
rep. by its Proprietor-K. Gangadhara Reddy and another.                        
       
The Circle Inspector of Police,Porumamilla Police Station,Kadapa District and
two others.

Counsel for the Petitioners: Sri V. Sudhakar Reddy
Counsel for Respondent Nos.1 & 2 : Assistant Government Pleader for Home
Counsel for Respondent No.3: Assistant Government Pleader for Civil Supplies

<Gist:

>Head Note:

?Cases referred:
Nil.

The Court made the following:

ORDER:
        This writ petition is filed for
a Mandamus to declare the action of
respondent No.2 in seizing 40 bags of raw rice each weighing 50 kgs, 320 bags of
raw rice each weighing 25 kgs and 40 bags of broken rice each weighing 50 kgs
belonging to petitioner No.1 along with the lorry bearing registration No.AP 02
TA 3310 of petitioner No.2, as illegal and arbitrary.  
The petitioners also
sought for a consequential direction to the respondents not to take any action
in pursuance of such seizure.

        Heard the learned counsel for the petitioners and the learned Assistant
Government Pleader for Civil Supplies appearing for respondent No3.

        Petitioner No.1 is the owner of the above-mentioned stocks and petitioner
No.2 is the owner of the lorry through which the said stocks were being
transported.  On 23.03.2013, when the lorry carrying the said stocks reached a
place called Edulapalle, Porumamilla Mandal, at about 3 pm, the Head Constable
of Porumamilla Police Station along with his Police Constables intercepted the
lorry and seized the stocks.

        A perusal of panchanama, dated 24.03.2013, shows that the driver of the said lorry has shown all the required bills.  
However, the stocks along with the
lorry were seized on suspicion that from the size of the rice, it appeared to be meant for Public Distribution System.
       
        Learned counsel for the petitioners submitted that
  the seizure itself is without jurisdiction. 
In support of his submission, he placed reliance on
Clause-17 of the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Commodities Dealers (Licensing,  
Storage and Regulation) Order, 2008 (for short 'the Control Order 2008').

Under Clause-17(1) thereof, certain officers of different departments are
empowered inter alia to seize the stocks.  
As regards the Police department, it is the officers not below the rank of Sub-Inspectors, within their respective jurisdictions, who are authorized to exercise this power.

As noted herein before, it is the Head Constable of Porumamilla Police Station, who has seized the lorry along with the stocks.  Therefore, ex facie, the
seizure is without jurisdiction and the petitioners are entitled to the release of the seized stocks and the lorry.

        Besides the fact that the seizure by the Head Constable of Porumamilla Police Station is without the authority of law, even a perusal of the panchanama shows that the seizure is made on mere suspicion based on the size of the rice.
The contents of the panchanama would clearly reveal that the driver of the said lorry has produced all the bills for transportation of the stocks.

In my opinion, in the absence of any incriminating aspects, on mere suspicion
that it may be meant for Public Distribution System, cannot be sustained on any
account. In the guise of such suspicion, the genuine traders and the owners of
the vehicles cannot be put to undue hardship, apart from causing huge financial
losses. Such irresponsible conduct on the part of the public servants is
reprehensible.

It is represented by the learned Assistant Government Pleader that so far,
proceedings under Section 6-A of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (for short
'the Act'), have not been initiated.

As rightly pointed out by the learned counsel for the petitioners, as the very
seizure itself is illegal and without jurisdiction, apart from the fact that the
seizure is based on mere suspicion without there being any iota of evidence of
illegal transportation, respondent No.3 is directed to refrain from taking
further steps for initiation of proceedings of Section 6-A of the Act.
Respondent Nos.1 and 2 are directed to forthwith release the seized stocks along
with the lorry to the petitioners. Respondent No.1 is also saddled with costs of
Rs.10,000/- (Rupees Ten thousand only) payable to the petitioners from his
personal pocket.
Subject to the above directions, the Writ Petition is allowed.

As a sequel to disposal of the Writ Petition, W.P.M.P.No.11921 of 2013 filed by
the petitioners for interim relief is disposed of as infructuous.      
________________________  
C.V.NAGARJUNA REDDY, J    
01.04.2013

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