All HC | License to run Fair Price Shop restored where enquiry was not conducted as per Government Orders and charges were dealt without application of mind

Allahabad High Court: Siddhartha Varma, J. while allowing this petition restored the licence of the petitioner to run the Fair Price Shop.

In the instant case, the petitioner Nasareen Jahan ran a Fair Price Shop whose license was suspended on 23-5-2017 after a preliminary enquiry conducted on the basis of a complaint. Later on, the license was cancelled and thereafter the appeal too was dismissed which was filed by the petitioner.

Counsel for the petitioner Krishna Kumar Singh, submitted that the enquiry did not take place as mentioned in the Government Orders of 29-7-2004 and 16-10-2014. Any date, place or time was not fixed for the enquiry nor was the petitioner given any opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses. It was further submitted that if the manner in which the charges were dealt with is seen it becomes crystal clear that the orders were passed without any application of mind.

The first charge was that during the inspection, the dealer of the shop was not present and was also alleged that the rate card was not displayed. But, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner had gone to collect the essential commodities.

The second charge on the petitioner was that two Antyoday Cardholders, namely, Jafiran w/o Nasir and Rashma w/o Malle were given only 35 kg of food grains and kerosene oil was given to them in the alternative months. The petitioner had replied that Jafiran and Rashma were not Antyodaya Cardholders in her shop and to that effect Jafiran and Rashma had also given their affidavits and had specifically stated that no inspection was done and that they had never given any statement.

The third charge was that those collectively certain cardholders had said that they were not given their food grains and to that, a reply was given that the Distribution Register itself was clear that the distribution was being done properly. Counsel for the petitioner submitted that yet again a strange conclusion was drawn that the petitioner was not distributing food grains properly.

However, upon hearing the case on 24-7-2019 the case was again taken up on 31-7-2019 and upon seeing the manner in which the charges were dealt with, the Court had summoned the Sub Divisional Officer who could not reply to the question put to him as to why he was deciding cases without any application of mind. The Court definitely found that the enquiry was not conducted as per the Government Orders nor any place, date and time was fixed for such enquiry.

Thus, the Court observed that the impugned orders passed by the Commissioner Moradabad, Mandal Moradabad and the order passed by the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Sambhal, District Sambhal cannot be sustained in the eyes of law and, therefore, it needs to be quashed.[Nasareen Jahan v. State Of U.P., 2019 SCC OnLine All 3210, decided on 02-09-2019]

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