Author:- Gaurav Purohit
It may be said that the Essential Commodities Act had its underlying foundations in 1939 when the Government of India needed to control the production, supply, and distribution of specific products under the Defense of India Act, and to monitor the interest of the overall population in the matters relating to control of specific items, fundamental for individuals the fundamental supplies impermanent Powers Ordinance, XVIII of 1946 was declared in which a few provisions of Defense of India Rules were consolidated. This statute was replaced later by the Essential Supplies Temporary Powers Act of 1946. Slowly it was felt very vital that the Central Government should keep on controlling the production, supply, and distribution of special essential products of indispensable significance to the purchasers in the larger public interest and to give social justice too.
The Act is applied to the following commodities or products:-
1) Cattle Fodder including oil cakes and different concentrates.
2) Foodstuff including consumable oil seeds and oils, sugar
3) Coal including coke and various subordinates
4) parts and extras of automobiles.
5) Cotton and woollen materials.
6) Drugs as characterized in Sec. 3(b) of Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940
7) Petroleum and oil-based products.
8) Paper including newsprint, paper Board, and strawboard.
9) Raw cotton whether ginned or un-ginned and cotton seeds.
10) Raw Jute
11) Any different products which the Central Government notifies
MEANING AND SCOPE
Essential Commodity implies any commodity for the basic nourishment of the life of the community and proclaimed as such by the Central Government and included in the list to plan under Section 2(a) to the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. This Act, particularly, Section 3, is a case of what shows up in practically every statute these days, that new enactment is legitimate notwithstanding any law to the contrary.
Section 6 of the Act, sets out that any order made under Section 3 of the Act will affect notwithstanding conflicting, therewith, contained in any enactment other than this Act or any order, notification or circular having impact under any enactment other than this Act.
The Fruit Products (control) Order of the year 1955, which was made under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, was held to supersede the provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act 1954, in Hamdard Dawakhana.
The human culture supports Essential Components or necessities of life, for example, food, clothing, and shelter. The control of commodities or items enlisted in the Principal Act is public nature and utilized by the entire country. The nature of provisions of the law which is a socio-economic penal enactment covers extremely wide jurisdiction and powers. The nature of the object of the law being administrative for public welfare for keeping up or expanding the supplies of essential commodities at reasonable prices, it is important to direct and control the production, supply, and distribution of such commodities for guaranteeing its equitable distribution and accessibility to beneficiaries.
The ability or power to incorporate and eliminate items on the list of essential products has been practised to review occasionally for the control over their production, distribution, and supply in the light of liberalization of the economy, demand, and supply position, and the purchasing power of the individuals, in consultation with the working Ministries or Departments, just as, the State Governments/Union Territory administrations.
The nature of the offences of the commodities and any illegal trade and commerce is also ensured under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The provisions contained in that can likewise be taken by the customers in case the current complaint mechanism for relief under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, is inadequate for legitimate redressal of complaints.
The Essential Commodities Act, 1955, has overriding powers over different enactments. Notwithstanding, the overriding powers are not supreme and unlimited as held in Arvind Kumar and Brothers that, a simple inconsistency in the declaration of stock of food grains found by the authority and an order seizing whole stock passed by the District Supply Officer during the investigation of the places of the business of the petitioner who was carrying on the business of, sale and acquisition of food-grains obtaining a license which is provided under the provisions of Gujarati Essential Articles (control and Stock Declaration) Rules, 1991, was not reasonable. Hence, the whole quantity of food-grains isn’t at risk to be seized distinctly on the ground that there were certain irregularities and the seizure proceedings were, therefore, cancelled.
Satpal Gupta v. State of Haryana
It was set up that cows and poultry nourishments are incorporated inside the importance of foodstuff. Consequently, it concludes that the foodstuff is related to both animals as well as humans.
State of Bombay v. Virkumar Gulab Chand Shah
It was set up that the foodstuff incorporates raw material, things utilized in the process, and also the things used in the preparation of food. Turmeric was additionally included in the meaning and scope of Foodstuff.
S.Samuel M.D. Harrison v. Union of India 2004 SSC 256
It was concluded that tea is not included in the scope of foodstuff and just an energizer. It is neither utilized in the preparation of food nor contains health benefits such as no nutritional value. In day to day life Person drinking tea doesn’t consider it as enjoying food.
The Essential Commodities Act 1955 is one of the significant laws of the Nation that applies for the assurance of the interest of the general population. Under this Act, the Central Government allows an immense scope of powers to control the production and supply of essential commodities. Under this Act, the Central Government commands the price of the seized or confiscated essential commodities. All of these powers are significant to maintain the market.
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