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Report No. 29

144. Points suggested in comments.-One comment received by us suggests that these offences should be included in a new Chapter in the Indian Penal Code. The comment also offers a definition of profiteering as "selling a thing at a rate in excess of its controlled price", and a definition of hoarding as "storage in excess of a permissible quantity". It also points out, that the meaning of the term "Black-marketing" is obscure, and emphasises that the definition of that expression should include suppression of facts relating to the acquisition or disposal of things controlled by different special laws. The definitions suggested in this comment, however, themselves postulate the existence of special laws containing the necessary substantive provisions. For this very reason, such provisions cannot be inserted in the Penal Code.

145. West Bengal Act.-In this connection, we may refer to the West Bengal Black-marketing Act, 19481(now repealed). Section 2 of that gave a very wide definition of "black- marketing", but almost every clause of that definition assumed the existence of another (special) law, i.e. a law which fixed prices, provided for rationing, or regulated the supply, distribution, sale, disposal, etc., of goods, or their storage, production or manufacture, acquisition or movement, etc. Thus, section 2(a) spoke of "selling or purchasing for purposes of trade any goods at a greater price than the maximum price fixed by or under any law, notification, or order for the time being in force for the sale of goods". Section 2(b) began thus-"otherwise than in accordance with any law, etc. selling or disposing of any articles rationed, etc.".

1. The West Bengal Black-marketing Act, 1948 (West Bengal Act 32 of 1948) (now repealed).

146. Addition of new provisions.-As regards the addition of new provisions concerning the offences of hoarding, black-marketing and profiteering, an amendment of the Indian Penal Code would not be convenient. The details of the stock which can be lawfully possessed (hoarding), the conditions subject to which transactions may be entered into (black-marketing), and the maximum prices that could be charged (profiteering), would vary in respect of each commodity, and, therefore, a general and sweeping provision cannot conveniently be incorporated in the Indian Penal Code. We may also point out, that in respect of matters on which the existing provisions are found to be inadequate, it is open to Government to initiate amendments thereto or to introduce further special legislation, whenever necessary1.

1. See, for example, the Supply and Prices of Goods Act, 1950 (70 of 1950) which was repealed by the Repealing and Amending Act, 1957.

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

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