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Report No. 29

76. Importance of delegated legislation in relation to statutory offences.-It should, next, be noted, that many of the enactments relating to the offences in question cannot be worked without delegated legislation on a large scale contemplated by those enactments. This aspect has been emphasised in one of the comments received by us on the proposals under consideration1. We quote the relevant portion:-

"The Indian Penal Code is an enactment which enumerates and defines a series of offences against the State, society in general, the human body and property, besides providing for punishment for each of these offences. Even the codified social offences like those relating to public tranquility, elections, all offences against public justice, religion, etc., are capable of an all-time definition. The Code does not provide any delegation of legislative authority to the executive by way of rule-making powers to vary the definitions of these offences. Structurally, the Code is quite different from the various other enactments like the Essential Commodities Act, Company Law, Industries (Development and Regulation) Act and legislation concerning Income Tax, Customs, Excise, Import and Export, etc., which can, in general, be called social and economic laws.

Generally speaking, these enactments, unlike the Indian Penal Code, do not give complete definitions of offences. These enactments, besides stating certain social objectives, incorporate vast enabling powers to the executive to make rules or issue orders or directions to implement the objectives in a given situation. Contraventions of these rules, orders and directions would amount to offences which are made punishable under the parent enactments. It is seen that Government and its officers, exercising delegated authority, can periodically change the ingredients of what can be social and economic offences, depending on the exigencies and needs of the situation, by virtue of the delegated legislative powers vested in them. With this structural difference, it would be very difficult to define, codify and incorporate what can be social and economic offences in the Indian Penal Code.

For illustration, we may examine black-marketing, hoarding, trafficking in licences and permits, etc. The question of black-marketing arises only when the price of any commodity is fixed statutorily. Similarly, a person can be said to hoard any article and thus commit an offence only when he hoards more than what he is permitted to, under the law. Necessarily, black-marketing and hoarding cannot take place in respect of a commodity when its supply position is comfortable, and when, as a result no restrictions are placed. Such restrictions are usually imposed, when necessary,under specific enactments, and the circumstances of the case are bound to vary with the commodityand the position prevailing at the time. Trafficking in licences and permits takes place when these are transferred without the permission of the competent authority though such transfers are prohibited by the law, or when a premium is charged on such transfers in spite of a prohibition under the law:

Here also the circumstances of the case and the severity of the anti-social activity vary with the different classes of licences and permits, necessitating punishments varying in severity."

Provisions are left to statutory rules and orders, because varied and recurring action by way of subordinate legislation is required, particularly in connection with essential commodities. The following points seem to be worthy of notice: -

(a) It often becomes necessary to issue more than one order under an Act. By way of illustration, we may refer to the large number of orders issued in connection with control of sugar2-3-4.

These were issued under the Essential Commodities Act. In 1963, an order on the subject5 was issued under the Defence of India Rules, 1962. Reference may also be made to orders issued under the Sugar (Regulation of Production) Act6.

(b) Even more than one Act may have to be enacted to deal with one commodity, e.g. sugar7-8.

(c) Changing circumstances require frequent amendments in statutory rules and orders. Thus, the Inter-Zonal Wheat Movement Control Order, 19579 was, between 1957 and 1961, amended seventeen times, before it was rescinded10.

Particulars of the amendments are given in the footnote11.

(d) Amendments in an order12 may sometimes become necessary in view of criticism of the order made by the Committee on Subordinate Legislation.

(e) Further, under an order issued in pursuance of the Essential Commodities Act,13 it may become necessary to issue subsidiary orders.

Thus, under clause 14(b)(2) of the Cotton Control Order, 1955, more than 4,000 orders were issued in 195814.

(f) Again, it may become necessary to add to the very list of essential commodities in the Essential Commodities Ace15.

This has been done in respect of several commodities, by notified orders.16-17-18-19-20-21

The above illustrations will show, that a degree of flexibility is required in regard to control over commodities, which cannot be had under the Indian Penal Code.

1. S. No. 146 in the Law Commission's File.

2. The Sugar (Control) Order, 1955 (S.R.O. 1862-Ess. Corn., Sugar dated the 27th August, 1955). See Diwan Sugar Mills v. Union of India, (1959) 2 SCR (Supp) 123: AIR 1959 SC 626.

3. The Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1955 (S.R.O. 1863-Ess. Corn., Sugarcane, dated the 27th August, 1955).

4. The Sugarcane Press-mud Control Order, 1959 (G.S.R. 551 /Ess. Com/Press-mud, dated the 29th April, 1959.

5. The Sugar (Control) Order, 1963, (G.S.R. 676, dated the 17th April, 1963).

6. The Sugar (Regulation of Production) Act, 1961 (55 of 1961).

7. See, for example

(i) the Sugar (Regulation of Production) Act, 1961 (55 of 1961);

(ii) the Sugar Export Promotion Act, 1958 (93 of 1958);

(iii) the Sugarcane Control (Additional Powers) Act, 1962 (39 of 1962);

(iv) the Sugarcane Act, 1934 (15 of 1934), which has been repealed in some States by local Acts;

(v) section 4, Sugar (Special Excise Duty) Act, 1959 (58 of 1959).

8. For history of some of the laws regarding sugar, see Tika Ramji v. State, 1956 SCR 393; AIR 1956 SC 676.

9. The Inter-Zonal Wheat Movement Control Order, 1957, (S.R.O. 1986, dated the 13th June, 1957), (Gazette of India Extra., Pt. II, Sec. 3, p. 1985, dated the 13th June, 1957).

10. The Order was rescinded by S.R.O. 503, dated the 5th April, 1961. A fresh order-the Inter-Zonal Wheat and Wheat Products (Movement) Control Order, 1964-was issued later (G.S.R. 511 dated the 23rd March, 1964) .

11. The notifications amending the orders were--

S.R.O. 2464, 27th July, 1957.

S.R.O. 2630, 14th August, 1957.

S.R.O. 4043, 14th December, 1957 (published on 21-12-1957).

S.R.O. 399, 25th January, 1958 (published on 1-2-58).

G.S.R. 346, 5th May, 1958 (published on 10-5-58).

G.S.R. 242, 15th April, 1958.

G.S.R. 609, 12th July , 1958.

G.S.R. 625, 12th July, 1958 (published on 19-7-58).

G.S.R. 171, 7th February, 1959

G.S.R. 347, 18th March, 1959.

G.S.R. 641, 27th May, 1959.

G.S.R. 925, 29th July, 1959 (published on 8-8-59).

G.S.R. 121, 21st January, 1960 (published on 30-1-60).

G.S.R. 1117, 20th September, 1960 (published on 24-9-60).

G.S.R. 1407, 24th November, 1960.

G.S.R. 2, 3rd January, 1961.

G.S.R. 35, 7th January, 1961.

12. See, for example, Sixth Report of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation (Second Lok Sabha) (9th September, 1959), p. 2, para. 7.

13. The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (10 of 1955).

14. See Committee on Subordinate Legislation, Sixth Report (Second Lok Sabha) (9th September, 1959), pp. 20-21 (Appendix 3), 4th column.

15. See section 2(a)(1), Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (10 of 1955).

16. S.O. 2232, dated the 13th September, 1960. (Cinema carbons).

17. S.O. 2896, dated the 8th September, 1962. (Non-ferrous metals).

18. Notification No. G.S.R./Ess. Comm. dated the 15th April, 1959. (Press-mud).

19. S.R.O. 828, dated the 9th April, 1956, (Drugs).

20. S.O. 3594, dated the 24th November, 1962. (Cement).

21. The list of orders is illustrative only.

Proposal to include certain Social and Economic Offences in the Indian Penal Code Back

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