The Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980

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The Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980 was enacted on 12th February, 1980 and enforced on 5th October, 1979. The act aims to prevent un-ethical trade practices which include black-marketing and hoarding of essential commodities, the act lays provisions for punishment against such persons who commit either of these.

The act empowers state government or central government or an officer not below the rank of Joint secretary representing centre or state government in case has a reason to believe that a person is committing an against provisions of the Act shall make an order for detaining such person. Act shall directly apply to such person committing, aiding or abetting an offence under provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 or any other law dealing with distribution, production or supply of essential commodities; any person who make profits by defeating provisions of the act. The Act also gives similar power of taking action to district magistrates and commissioner of police.  An order made by an officer under sub section (2) of section 3 shall be brought into the notice of government along with relevant details; the order shall remain into force for not more than twelve days after making it within which State Government shall approve the order. The State government shall within seven days  report to Central Government along with grounds of order where-after detention order under sub section (2) of section 3 shall be carried. No order of detention shall be invalid merely on the ground that detention was carried outside territorial jurisdiction of the government making order.

Section 4 of the Act relates to absconding persons, once a person is found to avoid order of detention or is absconding, the Government or officer shall draft a report in writing to Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial magistrate first Class who shall order against such person under section 82, 83, 84 and 85 of Code of Criminal Procedure which shall apply against the person and his property. Provisions of section 4 are also applicable once the authorities have an apprehension of absconding of person against whom orders of detention have been made.

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Incase a person is notified to present himself before court of law he shall do so on the date and time specified incase of failure to make an appearance such person shall be punished with imprisonment extending one year and with fine or both. Offences under the act shall be cognizable. Person detained shall be made aware of the ground of detention and shall be given an opportunity of fair representation.

Section 9 of the Act deals with appointment of an advisory board consisting of three persons who is, are qualified or had been Judge of a High Court, along with one another member who is, or has been Judge of High Court. The state government is imposed with a duty to refer the deatined person before advisory board along with the representation of grounds of detention, whereafter the advisory board shall look into all aspects of the matter brought in front of it. The advisory board after giving an opportunity to person detained shall draft a report which shall be acted upon by the Government. The report shall either ask the government to revoke detention orders or shall further continue the detention. Maximum period of detention shall be six months from the date of detention. The order of detention may be revoked under provisions of section 21 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 only after confirmation from State or Central Government. Person detained may be temporarily released after imposing necessary conditions on release of such person one such condition may be filing of bond along with sureties. Incase a person breaches conditions of release his bond shall be forfeited. The Act protects all acts and actions taken in good faith under the provisions of the Act.

Thus the Act is an effort to bring into hold of law person who inorder to suffice there greed keep essential commodities out of the reach for other people.

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 by Vibhuti Nakata.