Report No. 29
85. Genesis of special enactments.-We also made an attempt to study the genesis of some of the special enactments, and the study bears out what we are endeavouring to emphasise, namely the "special" character1 of the relevant enactments. Thus, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Bill was introduced, for the following reasons2:-
"Adulteration of foodstuffs is so rampant, and the evil has become so widespread and persistent, that nothing short of a somewhat drastic remedy provided for in the Bill can hope to change the situation. Only a concerted and determined onslaught on this most anti-social behaviour can hope to bring relief to the nation."
Notwithstanding the existence in the Indian Penal Code of certain sections punishing adulteration3, the enactment of a separate law was proposed, because that was considered the only adequate way of dealing with the problem.
1. Para. 81, supra.
2. See Statement of Objects and Reasons, Gazette of India, 1950 Pt. II, Sec. 2, p. 522.
3. Sections 272-276, Indian Penal Code.
86. Similarly, the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 was passed1, because the opportunities for bribery and corruption had been enormously increased by war conditions, and because it was anticipated that post-war reconstruction would involve disbursements of very large sums of Government money. The enactment of a special provision whereunder, possession of a sudden accretion of wealth should constitute an offence was (apart from procedural changes) the main innovation introduced by the Act. The section creating the offence was framed in the terms in which it is now found (section 5), because it was felt that the correct legal course was to create a new offence of "criminal misconduct2".
1. Cf. Statement of Objects and Reasons, Gazette of India, 1946, Pt. V, p. 374.
2. Cf section 9(1), Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 1943, and section 2(1), Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 1946.
87. Again, the Railway Stores Act1 was passed in 1955 to replace the Railway Stores (Unlawful Possession) Ordinance2, and to extend its provisions to Part B States3. The Ordinance itself was promulgated on the 13th May, 1944, with a view to preventing persons from having unlawful possession of articles of railway stores, a thing of frequent occurrence towards the end of the last war. The Act creates a new offence of "unlawful possession of railway stores3". The offence is more drastic than theft and allied offences, inasmuch as, under the Act,-
(i) it is enough if there is a reasonable suspicion that the stores are stolen or unlawfully obtained, and
(ii) it is for the accused to account satisfactorily how he came by such stores.
1. The Railway Stores (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1955 (51 of 1955).
2. The Railway Stores (Unlawful Possession) Ordinance, 1944 (19 of 1944).
3. See the Statement of Objects and Reasons, Gazette of India, 1954 Pt. II, Sec. 4, p. 374.
88. The Telegraph Wires Act1 was enacted2, because thefts of copper wires used in telegraph lines had been so rampant, that tele-communications in several parts of the country were considerably dislocated during the two years preceding the passing of the Act3. Many offenders had escaped only due to the failure to prove in court that the wires found in their possession had been stolen from the Posts and Telegraphs Department. Since copper wires used in telegraph lines were of distinctive gauges, it was felt that it would not be unreasonable to presume that any person found in possession of wires of these gauges came into their possession unlawfully (except in the case of persons who purchased them from the Disposal stock). Later, by an amendment in 19534, sale or purchase of any quantity of telegraph wire [as defined in section 2(b)] was prohibited except with the permission of the prescribed authority.
1. Section 3.
2. The Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950 (74 of 1950).
3. Gazette of India, 1950, Pt. II, Sec. 2, p. 402.
4. See section 4A, Telegraph Wires (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1950 (74 of 1950).
89. Similarly, the Imports Act1 was enacted, because it was considered2 that the measures of control imposed under rule 84 of the Defence of India Rules and subsequently extended under the Emergency Provisions (Continuance) Ordinance, 1946 (20 of 1946) would have to be continued for some time longer, in order to avoid any disturbance to the economy of the country during the transition from war time to peace time conditions. At the same time, penalties had been "considerably reduced to suit peace conditions".
1. The Imports and Exports (Control) Act, 1947 (18 of 1947).
2. See the Statement of Objects and Reasons, Gazette of India, 1947, Pt. V, p. 86.