Plywood Ltd. & Anr Vs. Union of India
& Ors  INSC 131 (9 April 1990)
M.N. (J) Venkatachalliah, M.N. (J) Reddy, K. Jayachandra (J)
1990 SCR Supl. (3) 6 1991 SCC Supl. (1) 225 JT 1991 (5) 197 1991 SCALE (1)468
Insects and Pests Act, 1914--Object and scope of.
Insects and Pests Act, 1914-- Section 3--Restriction on imported
articles--Purpose of--Imported timber for use in plywood manufacture--Whether
amenable to Quarantine regulations under the Notification dated 27.10.1989.
dated 27.10.1989---Clause (1) of para 2---"Plant"-Whether includes
and Phrases--`Plant'---'Timber log'--`Quantine'---Meaning of.
petitioners filed a writ petition in the High Court, challenging the
Notification dated 27.10.1989 issued under the Destructive Insects and Pests
the question whether certain logs of timber imported by the petitioners from
foreign countries for use in the manufacture of plywood were amenable to
Quarantine regulations under the aforesaid statutory notification, the High
Court dismissed the writ petition.
petitioners flied the Special Leave Petition, against the High Court's judgment
contending that the im- ported timber logs were not likely to come into contact
with any crop or plant but were directly removed to the factory where plywood
was manufactured, and there was no possibility of the insects or the fungus or
the pests in them infecting any plant.
the petition, this Court,
1. The object of the Destructive Insects and Pests Act, 1914 is to protect
plant-life in India from such alien insects, fungus and
pests which might be introduced into the country through imported articles
contaminated with them or carried by them. This object is 7 sought to be
achieved by preventing the entry into the soil of India, of such potential carriers. The question
whether after such import the insects, fungus, or pests actually infect
plant-life or not is not the decisive factor. The very existence of a
possibility of such infection is suffi- cient justification. The main purpose
is to prevent their very entry into India. The need for treatment and the like envisaged in the notification
rightly pre-supposes the potentiality of the timber logs for carrying those
insects and pests. [11G-H, 12A]
is in the public interest that State prohibits or regulates entry into its
territories harmful substances, impure food, animals or persons having
contagious diseases or articles which are a potential danger to the health,
safety well-being and good morals of the community or the health of the flora
and the fauna. [8F-G]
The extent of the prohibition or regulation must be commensurate with a
reasonable relation to the object and should not be unduly restrictive of the
Encyclopedia Americana (Volume 23); Interstate Barriers in
India and American Constitutional
Experience: Lawrence F. Ebb: Stanford Law Review, Vol.
II 1958-59, Referred.
expression "plant" is defined in clause (i) of para 2 of the
Notification, to mean any plant or part there- of whether living or dead,
trees, shrubs, nursery stock and includes all vegetatively propagated
materials. The timber logs of the kind concerned in the present case fall
within this definition. [11E-F]