29 September 1970
Supreme Court


Case number: Appeal (crl.) 178 of 1967






DATE OF JUDGMENT: 29/09/1970


CITATION:  1971 AIR 1283            1971 SCR  (2) 507  1970 SCC  (3)  82  CITATOR INFO :  R          1984 SC 684  (50)

ACT: Imports and Exports Act (18 of 1947), Import Control  Order, 1955  and Import Trade Control Policy-Condition  in  licence for  import  of goods-Interpretation of-Import  of  Printing Presses-Condition  in  licence  against  sale  of   printing material-If applicable to printing presses..

HEADNOTE: Under s. 3 of the Imports and Exports Act, 1947, the Central Government is empowered to provide by Order published in the Official  Gazette for prohibiting, restricting or  otherwise controlling the import,, export, carriage or shipment  etc., of   goods  of  any  specified  description.   The   Central Government made the Import Control Order, 1955.  Under cl. 3 of  this  Order the import of any goods of  the  description specified in Sch.  I of the Order is restricted except under and  in  accordance with a licence or  a  customs  clearance permit  granted  by the Central Government.  Item  67(1)  in Sch.  I Part V, contains printing and lithographic material, and  a  large  number of various components  of  a  printing press. In  Part  V of the Schedule, known as ITC  Schedule  of  the Import  Trade Control Handbook, relevant for the year  1960, published  by the Government of India (Ministry of  Commerce and Industry) printing and lithographic material are entered at  serial  no.  67(1).   The  I.T.C  Handbook,  which-   is published to give information of rules and procedure for the assistance  of those interested in imports,  emphasises  the importance  of correct classification with reference to  the serial number and part, of the ITC Schedule. The  Government of India, Ministry of Commerce and  Industry also  publishes from time to time its Import  Trade  Control Policy.  In the publication, relevant for the period  April- September 1960, the policy statement shows the list of items licensable  to actual users, and item 67(1)(i) dealing  with printing machinery (for Newspaper Establishments and quality printers), is shown in App. iv, Part V. The  respondents-who were the Director-in-Charge  and  other officers of a company publishing a Tamil daily newspaper-and



others  applied in Form B prescribed in Appendix III of  the ITC Handbook, for a licence for importing a printing  press. This form is meant for the import of goods by actual  users, when  the licence is sought for import of goods  other  than those  falling under the capital goods licensing  procedure. The respondents stated that the raw material was required by them for printing their newspaper.  The ITC number and  part were  specifically  stated to be No. 67(1)(i),  Part  V.  An amendment  of the licence was sought by the respondents  for importing one more printing press, and while the matter  was pending with the Government, negotiations were entered  into by the respondents with a third party for the sale of one of the  printing  presses.  One of the presses  was  ultimately sold  and  delivered  to  the  third  party.   According  to condition (c) of the licence issued 508 to  the  respondents the licence-bolder had to  utilise  the goods  imported  only  for consumption as  raw  material  or accessories  in his own factory and their sale to or use  by other parties was specifically prohibited. Alleging  that the respondents had violated cl. (c)  of  the licence, the appellant, (Deputy Chief Controller of  Imports and Exports) who was authorised by Statute to do so, field a complaint against them for offences under s. 120B I.P.C., s. 5  of the Imports and Exports Control Act and cl.  5(iv)  of the Imports Control Order, 1955. The  respondents justified the sale on the  contention  that cl. (c) did not cover the printing presses, that this clause postulated that the goods covered by it should be capable of being utilized for consumption as raw material or  accessory in a factory, and that a complete printing press is  neither raw material nor accessories and that it cannot be said that by  fixing  a  printing press for running it  the  press  is utilised for consumption as raw material or accessory. The  trial  court convicted some of the accused.   The  High Court  acquitted them on appeal, and dismissed the  petition for enhancement of sentence filed by the Public  Prosecutor. The  Public Prosecutor applied under Art. 134(1) (c) of  the Constitution  for  leave to appeal to this  Court  but  that application was dismissed by the High Court.  Special leave to  appeal under Art. 136 was applied for by  the  appellant and was granted. On the questions: (1) Whether special leave to appeal  could be  granted to the appellant when he did not move  the  High Court;  and (2) whether the respondents were guilty  of  the offences charged, HELD  : (1) There is no provision of law  which  disentitles the appellant, who was the original complaint, from applying for  special leave in this Court merely because  the  Public Prosecutor  had  applied  in the  High  Court  for  enhanced punishment and for leave to appeal to this Court, under Art. 134(1)  (c).   Article 136 and the Supreme Court  Rules  are also  wide  enough to empower this Court  to  grant  special leave to the appellant in cases like the present [515 A-C] Management  of  Hindustan Commercial Bank  Ltd.   Kanpur  v. Bhagwandass, [1965] 2 S.C.R. 265, referred to. (2)  (a) The words used in the licence have to be  construed in the background of the scheme of the Import Control Order, 1955,  entry  No.  67 of Schedule I to that  Order  and  the Import Trade Control Policy.  What particular meaning should be  attached to words and phrases in a given  instrument  is usually  to be gathered from the context. the nature of  the subject matter, the purpose or the intention of the  author, and  the  effect of giving to them one or the other  of  the permissible meanings, on the object to be achieved. [515  F-



H] There  is  no item in any of the lists referred  to  in  the Import Control Order, 1955, or the relevant ITC Handbook  or the  relevant  publication regarding  Import  Trade  Control Policy  which  covers printing presses as a  separate  item. Printing presses are thus treated by legislative  intendment as   printing  material  or  printing  machinery,  and   the respondents  also proceeded on that footing.  This is  shown by  their  use  of Form B, and by  the  reference  in  their application  to  serial No. 67(1)(i).  They  also  knew  the disability  imposed on them by cl. (c) of the conditions  in the   licence  issued  to  them.   The   words   ’utilised’, ’consumption’ and  509 raw material’, in the conditions have to be fitted into  the clearly  discernible statutory scheme and this is,  possible without  doing  violence to the dictionary  meaning  of  the words.  The word "consumption" conveys the idea of using  up the goods by fixing them in the factory along with the other components, and the various articles mentioned in Item 67(1) (i) have been intended constitute ’raw material.’ [518  A-B; 519 E-F] (b)  Further,  the  respondents sought as actual  users  the original licence and the amended licence on the ground  that the  imported  goods were required to  meet  the  increasing demand  of  circulation of their newspaper.   Had  they  not complied with the procedure meant for the import of goods by actual  users  they  might not  have  secured  the  licence. Having  secured a licence expressly for the import of  goods for  their  use  they  cannot be  permitted  to  ignore  the condition  of  actual user on the plea that cl. (c)  of  the conditions is inapplicable to them. [519 F-H] Therefore,  all the respondents-the individual  accused  and the company-were guilty of the offences charged. [520 F]  State  of West Bengal v. Motilal Kanoria, [1966]  3  S.C.R. 933, followed. (3)  Breach  of conditions for import of goods is a  serious matter  because  it  prejudicially  affects  the   country’s national  economy.   The  view  of the  High  Court  is  not sustainable  on  the statutory language and  on  the  Import Control  Policy of which the respondents were  fully  aware, and  hence,  this  Court  is  justified  in  converting  the acquittal   into   conviction,  under  Art.   136   of   the Constitution. [520 G-H]

JUDGMENT: CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal Appeal No. 178  of 1967. Appeal  by special leave from the judgment and  order  dated January 5, 1967 of the Madras High Court in Criminal  Appeal Nos. 34 to 38 of 1965. R.   N. Sachthey, for the appellant. H.   R. Gokhale, M. K. Ramamurthi, Vineet Kumar and Shyamala Pappu, for respondent No. 1. A. V. Rangam, for respondent No. 6. The Judgment of the Court was delivered by Dua,  J. A complaint under S. 6 of the Imports  and  Exports Control Act, 1947 dated 24th February, 1964 was presented by the  Chief Controller of Imports and Exports, New  Delhi  in the court of the Chief Presidency Magistrate, Madras against (1) K. T. Kosalram, Director-in-charge of Messrs Dina Seithi Ltd.,  Madras,  (2) K. T. Janakiram, Director,  Messrs  Dina Seithi  Ltd.,  (3) K. Natarajan, Manager, Messrs  Mohan  Ram



Press, Madras, (4) Messrs Dina Seithi Ltd., Madras, (5)  Sri T. N. Ramachandran son of S. Natesa lyer, Madras and (6)  T. Natarajan,   Manager,  Messrs  Dina  Seithi  Ltd.,   Madras. Accord- 5 10 ing  to the broad allegations in the complaint, on  November 28,  1959 accused no. 4 (hereafter called the  Company)  was registered  under  the  Companies Act,  1956,  as  a  public limited  company  with the Registrar of  Companies,  Madras. Accused  nos.  1 and 2 who are brothers were both  directors of  the Company, accused no. 1 being the  Director-in-charge attending  to its day to day management and  administration. He  was  also authorised to operate its  accounts  with  the banks.  The primary object of the Company was publication of a  Tamil daily newspaper "Dina Seithi".  Accused no.  3  was the  Manager of Messrs Mohan Ram Press located in  the  same building  in which the Company was located.  Srimati  Gomati Devi,  wife of accused no.  1 was the sole  proprietress  of this Press.  She had given power of attorney to her  husband for  operating  the bank account of her  Press.   The  daily newspaper  (Dina Seithi) used to be printed at  this  press. Accused  no.  5  was a broker engaged  in  the  business  of negotiating   sale  and  purchase  of  printing   machinery. Between  1949 and 1951 he was working as Chief  Salesman  of Printers’ House, Madras and before that for about two  years he  had worked as a salesman with Messrs  Standard  Printing Machinery   Company,  Madras.   In  1951  he   started   his independent  business as a broker; in addition he also  used to work as a correspondent of "Kerala Kaumudi" belonging  to the  Company.  Accused no. 6 was the Manager of the  Company and  his wife Smt.  Sarojini was one of its  Directors.   On May  5, 1960 accused no. 1 applied on behalf of the  Company to  the Chief Controller of Imports and Exports, New  Delhi, for the grant of an import licence in favour of the  Company for importing two secondhand rotary printing presses  valued at Rs. 3 lakhs in the category of "Actual Users".  The Chief Controller  of Imports & Exports, on the  recommendation  of the  Committee  constituted for the purpose, issued  in  the first instance aft import licence for Rs. 1,50,000 (Ex.   P- 12).   The number of this licence was  A-759626/60/AU/CCI/HO and it was dated September 19, 1960.  Later, on the  request of accused no. 2 on behalf of the Company, the value of this licence  was raised to Rs. 3 lakhs on the recommendation  of the  Press Registrar of India.  The licence was returned  to the  Company on December 16, 1960.  The original  period  of validity  of  the licence having expired on  June  19,  1961 accused no. 2 requested the Licensing Authority on behalf of the  Company  to extend the period on the  ground  that  the machinery could not be fixed up by the Company’s  Directors. Under  the  orders  of  the  Controller  in  charge  of  the newsprint  sale,  the validity of the licence  was  extended upto March 19, 1962.  Oil July 2, 1961 accused no.  1 sought permission  of  the  Licensing Authority on  behalf  of  the Company  to import two secondhand rotary presses instead  of one  already  permitted within the licence value  of  Rs.  3 lakhs under the import  51 1 licence Ex.  P/12 on the ground that one more printing press was required for the proposed office at Madurai (Ex.  P/15). After  securing  further  necessary  information  about  the machinery  proposed  to  be imported  the  Chief  Controller approved  the  request  with the  result  that  the  amended licence  for two presses was sent to the Company, on  August 16,  1961.  On December 19, 1961 the Company as  per  letter sent  by accused no. 1, informed the Chief  Controller  that



one  rotary printing press had been imported and  the  other was  expected to arrive by January, 1962.  It was  requested that  in the import licence the description of the goods  be changed  from  "Rotary Press" to "Rotary Press  with  Stereo equipment  and  Turtles".  We find from Ex.   P/17  and  Ex. P/17(a)  that  it  was  represented  that  the  Company  was incurring  heavy  demurrage as the cases were lying  on  the wharf  uncleared for want of the required amendment  of  the licence.  This was described as a purely technical amendment in the licence.  This request was granted with the  approval of the Chief Controller of Imports and Exports.  The amended licence  was despatched to, the Company on January 3,  1962. According to condition (c) reproduced on-the reverse of  the import  licence the licence-holder had to utilise the  goods imported  only  for consumption in his own factory  and  its sale to or use by other parties was specifically prohibited. The licence-holder was further prohibited from pledging  the imported  goods in whole or in part except with a  scheduled bank  duly authorised to deal in foreign exchange  and  that also with prior permission of the Licensing Authority. One  Dr.  K.  G.  Thomas  owned  "Kerala  Dhwani",  a  daily newspaper  of  Kottayam having circulation in the  State  of Kerala.   It has started on August 20, 1959 and C.  J.  Mani was  its general business manager ever since its  inception. On  November  10,  1960  Dr. Thomas  applied  to  the  Chief Controller of Imports and Exports on behalf of his firm  for importing a rotary printing press under a Customs  Clearance Permit.  But this was rejected.  On October 25, 1961 he sent another application dated October 3, 1961 on behalf of  ,the firm  requesting  for  an import  licence  for  importing  a secondhand rotary press for the period October March,  1962. But this was also rejected.  Still another application dated May  10, 1962 for licence for importing two mono  typefacing units was also rejected on April 29, 1963.  C. J. Mani,  the General  Manager  of  this concern  was  also  independently trying  to  secure a rotary printing press  through  various parties  and firms.  Accused no. 5 was known to C.  J.  Mani and  during  the  former’s visit to Kottayam  in  the  first quarter  of 1961 he learnt that Dr. Thomas was  desirous  of securing  a secondhand rotary printing press.   Sometime  in April or May, 1961 accused nos. 2 and 5 visited Kottayam and on meeting Dr. Thomas they told him that accused no.  1  was going to have an import licence for two rotary 512 printing  presses  but he needed only one, with  the  result that one R. Hoe & Co  eight-page rotary printing press would be  available  for  sale.   After  some  correspondence  and discussion  between  accused no. 5 and C. J.  Mani  and  Dr. Thomas  and after a personal meeting between Dr. Thomas  and accused  no. 1 (at the instance of accused no. 5) the  terms of  sale of rotary press to Dr. Thomas were finally  settled on July 17, 1961.  The price was settled at Rs. 2 lakhs  ex- godown, Madras, The same day Dr. Thomas paid to accused  no. 5  Rs. 15,000 by means of a cheque by way of advance  money. Accused no. 5 issued a stamped receipt which was also signed by  accused no. 1. On July 19, 1961 the photo prints of  the press  offered for sale were forwarded by accused no.  5  to Dr. Thomas.  On the reverse of these prints were the  rubber stamp  impressions  of  the Company.  On August  2,  1961  a further sum of Rs. 25,000 was paid by Dr. Thomas for which a receipt  was  given  by  accused  nos.   1  and  5.  Between September  23,  1961 and March 17, 1962 the balance  of  Rs. 1,76,700  (total being Rs. 2,16,700) was paid by Dr.  Thomas in instalments towards the price of the rotary press and its accessories.  On September 1, 1961 accused No. 1 had ’opened



a  letter  of  credit  with a nil  margin  with  the  Indian Overseas  Bank  Ltd., Madras on  Messrs  Universal  Printing Equipment  Company,  ,New York- for importing  a  secondhand rotary  press  for  dollars equivalent to  Rs.  1,00,  1  12 against  import  licence no.   A-759626/  60/AU/CCI/HQ.   On October  28,  1961, the Bank received  the  relevant  import documents  and-on  December 13, 1961 it  received  from  the Company  the  remittance of the amount in cash  towards  the letter  of credit.  On October 20, 1961 Messrs Binny &  Co., Madras, the agents of the’ Shipping Company Messrs  Isthmian Lines Inc., U. S. A. had requested the Company to remit  Rs. 12,712 being the freight payable at Madras towards the  con- signment of 19 boxes containing secondhand rotary press  due to  arrive  from New York by s.s. "Steel Vendor"  so  as  to enable  them  to cable to their principals at  New  York  to issue the bills of leding to the shippers.  A cheque for Rs. 12,712 was accordingly sent by the Company to Messrs Binny & Co., on October 31, 1961.  The necessary cable was then sent to New York.  The import documents pertaining to the  rotary press were sent by accused no. 1 on behalf of the Company to Messrs  Natesa  lyer  & Co.,  Clearing  Agents,  Madras  for clearing  the  goods  from the Madras  Port  by  the  Indian Overseas Bank Ltd., Pursawalakam, Madras.  This invoice  was issued   by  the  Universal  Printing   Equipment   Company, Lindhurst in the name of Messrs Dina Seithi Ltd., indicating shipment  of  the goods imported contained in the  19  boxes bearing  marks  "Dina  Seithi".  The customs  duty  and  the clearance   charges  were  paid  by  the  Company.   It   is unnecessary  to  state  at length  further  details  of  the complaint.  Suffice it to  513 started  functioning from May 20, 1962.  In March, 1962  the Deputy   Superintendent  of  Police,  Madras,  visited   the premises  of  this newspaper and found the  rotary  printing Press  tallying  with the description given in  the  invoice issued to the Company by R. Hoe & Co., New York/London.  The number 458 assigned to the press was also found on its major parts.  No rotary press imported by accused no.  1 on behalf of  the Company was found at its (the  Company’s)  premises. The  amount received by cheques and drafts from  Dr.  Thomas were  credited to the account of Messrs Mohan Ram  Press  of which Smt.  Gomati Devi, wife of accused no. 1, was the sole proprietress.   On these broad avermerits it was  prayed  in the  complaint  that  accused nos. 1 to 3 and  5  and  6  be proceeded  against for offences under s. 120-B, I.P.C.  read with  s. 5 of Imports and Exports (Control) Act, 1947’  Lind also for an offence under s. 5 of the said Act.  The Company was  alleged  to be guilty under s. 5 of the said  Act  read with cl. (5), sub-cl. (iv) of Imports (Control) Order, 1955. The  Chief  Presidency Magistrate who  tried  the  complaint acquitted  accused no. 6 holding that he had nothing  to  do with  the impugned transaction but convicted the rest.   The Company was sentenced to fine only and so were accused  nos. 2, 3 and 5; three individual accused persons were  directed, in  case  of default to undergo  rigorous  imprisonment  for three  months on each count.  Leniency was shown to  accused nos. 2, 3 and 5 because they had acted under the  directions given  by  accused  no.  1 who  was  sentenced  to  rigorous imprisonment for six months under each count and also to pay fine and in default to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for three months. The  convicted accused appealed to the High Court at  Madras and  the State applied for enhancement of  sentences.   The, High Court acquitted all the accused persons with the result that the revision for enhancement necessarily failed.



The High Court having declined certificate of fitness  under Art.  1 3 4 ( 1 ) (c) of the Constitution the  Deputy  Chief Controller  of  Imports & Exports secured special  leave  to appeal under Art. 136 of the Constitution against the  order of acquittal by the High, Court. In  the  High  Court, though in  the  memorandum  of  appeal several grounds were taken, during arguments the appellant’s counsel  confined  his submission mainly to the  point  that condition.  (c) of the licence issued to accused no. 4  (Ex. P/ 1 2) related only to raw material or accessories and that as  such  the sale of printing press which was  neither  raw material  nor accessories, did not contravene  that  clause. The factum of sale of the printing press, 514 to Dr. Thomas (P.  W. 16) was not disputed.  The High  Court accepting this contention held condition (c) in Ex.  P/12 to be  inapplicable to printing presses and observed  that  the Licensing  Authority  had  not applied its  mind  when  this condition  was  inserted in the licence  for  importing  the printing  press in question.  On this ground the  conviction recorded by the trial court was set aside.  The  appellant’s learned counsel in this Court has questioned the correctness of this view and has submitted that it is not sustainable on the  statutory provisions and has resulted in grave  failure of justice. Before  dealing with this question we may dispose of a  pre- liminary  objection to the competency of this appeal at  the instance  of  the  Deputy Chief Controller  of  Imports  and Exports,  raised  by  Shri H. R. Gokhale on  behalf  of  the respondents.  It has been pointed out that the special leave petition  in this Court purports to be filed by  the  Deputy Chief Controller of Imports & Exports and not by the  State. As the State had conducted the prosecution the  complainant, it  is argued, cannot seek leave nor can he  prosecute  this appeal.   Leave already granted ex parte is,  according,  to Shri Gokhale liable to be revoked.  Reliance has been placed on  Management of Hindustan Commercial Bank Ltd., Kanpur  v. Bhagwandass(1).   There the appellant had secured from  this Court ex parte special leave to appeal under Art. 136 of the Constitution  without  first moving the High Court  for  the necessary  certificate and this Court, on objection  by  the respondent,   revoked   the  special  leave  as   being   in contravention  of  O. 13, r. 2 of the Supreme  Court  Rules. The  respondents’  contention before us is that  the  Public Prosecutor and not the Deputy Chief Controller of Imports  & Exports  had  applied to the High Court  for  the  necessary certificate and, therefore, the Deputy Chief Controller  has no  locus  standi to apply for special leave.   Having  been granted  on  an  incompetent  petition  the  special   leave deserves to be revoked, argues Shri Gokhale.  We are  unable to  uphold this objection.  The complaint was filed  in  the court of the Chief Presidency Magistrate by the Deputy Chief Controller of Imports and Exports under S. 6 of the  Imports and  Exports  (Control Act, 1947.  It is not  disputed  that this officer was, as stated in para 1 of the complaint, duly authorised to make the complaint within the contemplation of s.  6.  In the appeals filed by the  accused  against  their conviction  the State was impleaded, as represented  by  the Deputy    Chief   Controller   of   Imports   and    Exports (complainant),  as  the respondent.  It is true  that  in  a petition for enhancement of sentence filed in the High Court the  Public  Prosecutor  was shown  as  the  petitioner  and similarly  the  application  for leave to  appeal  from  the judgment of the High Court was (1)  [1965] (2) S.C.R. 265.



515 also  filed  in that Court by the  Public  Prosecutor.   But that, in our view, does not in any way disentitle the Deputy Chief  Controller  of  Imports  and  Exports  (the  original complainant  duly  authorised by the statute) to  apply  for special  leave to appeal to this Court and to prosecute  the appeal.,  Our attention has not been drawn to any  provision of  law  which  can  be said to  deprive  the  Deputy  Chief Controller the lawfully authorised complainant in this  case to  seek  special leave and prosecute this appeal.   In  any event  Art.  136 of the Constitution and the  Supreme  Court Rules  are  wide enough in their language  to  empower  this Court to grant special leave to the Deputy Chief  Controller in  cases like the present and deal with the appeal  on  the merits.   The  preliminary  objection  must  accordingly  be repelled. Coming  to the merits we may for a while again turn to  con- dition  (c)  of the licence which has already  been  noticed earlier.   It may be recalled that this condition  expressly provides   that  the  goods  would  be  utilised  only   for consumption  as raw material or accessories in the  licence- holder’s  factory and no portion thereof would be  sold  to, or,  be permitted to be utilised by, any other  party.   The goods imported are also not to be pledged with any financier other  than  banks authorised to deal in  foreign  exchange, provided  that  particulars  of the  goods  so  pledged  are reported in advance to the licensing authority.  Under s.  3 of  the  Imports and Exports Act-, 18 of  1947  the  Central Government is empowered to provide by order published in the official  Gazette for prohibiting, restricting or  otherwise controlling  the import, export, carriage or shipment  etc., of goods of any specified description and also the  bringing into  any port or place in-India of goods of any  specified- description intended to be taken out of India without  being removed from the ship or conveyance in which they are  being carried.  The Central Government by Order dated December  7, 1955 made the Import Control Order under ss. 3 and 4A of the said-   Act.   Clause  (3)  of  this  Order   provides   for restriction on import of certain goods in these words :               "Save as otherwise provided in this Order,  no               person   shall   import  any  goods   of   the               description  specified in Schedule  1,  except               under, and in accordance with, a licence or  a               customs   clearance  permit  granted  by   the               Central Government or by any officer specified               in Schedule II." Clause 7 of this Order empowers the Licensing Authority  suo motu or on application by the licensee to amend the licences granted under this Order in such manner as may be  necessary to  make them conform to the aforesaid Act or this Order  or any  other law in force or to rectify any error or  omission in  the  licence : on the licensee’s request,  however,  the licence may be 5 1 6 amended  in any manner consonant with the Import and  Export Control Regulations.  Item no. 67(1) in Schedule 1, Part  V, which appears to us to be relevant for this case reads :               "Printing  and Lithographic material,  namely,               presses,   lithographic   plates,    composing               sticks, chases, imposing tables,  lithographic               stones,  stero-blocks, wood blocks,  half-tone               blocks,  electrotype blocks,  process  blocks,               roller  moulds,  roller  frames  and   stocks,               roller composition, lithographic nap  rollers,               standing  screw and hot  presses,  perforating



             machines,   gold  blocking   presses,   galley               presses, proof presses, arming presses, copper               plate   printing  presses,  rolling   presses,               ruling  machines, ruling pen making  machines,               lead cutters, rule cutters, slug cutters, type               casting  machines,  type setting  and  casting               machines,    paper   in   rolls   with    side               perforations   to   be  used   after   further               perforation  for  typecasting,  rule   bending               machines,  rule  mitreing  machines,  bronzing               machines, stereotyping apparatus, paper  fold-               ing  machines, paging machines, but  excluding               ink and paper and sets of mats when  imported               as  advertising  material in  connection  with               composed films." This  item  which contains a very large  number  of  various components of a printing press corresponds to item no. 72(2) of  the Indian Tariff Act, 1934 which consolidates  the  law relating  to customs duties.  Item no. 67(2) in  Schedule  I speaks  of component parts as defined in import tariff  item no. 72(3), of machinery specified in cl. (1) excluding those covered  by  sl.  no 6 8 of this schedule.   Serial  no.  68 refers  to rubber blankets for printing presses  etc.   Item no. 67 (1) would suggest that printing presses are  included in the expression "printing and lithographic material."  Our attention  has not been drawn to any other entry  either  in Schedule  I  of the Imports Control Order or  in  the  first Schedule  of  the Indian Tariff Act which  would  cover  the import  of printing presses and payment of customs  duty  on such import.  These two statutes forming parts of the Import Control  Scheme may appropriately be considered as  throwing some light on each other.  The principal argument advanced on  behalf  of  the  respondents is  that  cl.  (c)  of  the conditions  of  the  licence does  not  cover  the  printing presses  in  question  because the plain  language  of  this clause postulates that goods covered by it should be capable of  being  utilised  for  consumption  as  raw  material  or accessory  in a factory.  A complete printing press,  it  is contended,  is neither raw material nor accessories  and  it cannot  be said that by fixing a printing press for  running it, the press is utilised for consumption as raw material or accessory.   This  argument,  though  attractive  on   first impression seems to us on a deeper thought to  517 be  unacceptable.   A  close  scrutiny  of  the  scheme  and language of the relevant provisions of the import and export legislation  and of the Import Control Policy formulated  by the  Government  leaves  no  doubt  that  the  argument   is unfounded.  Clause (c) reads :               " (c) The goods will be utilised only for con-               sumption  as raw materials or  accessories  in               the  licence-holders’  factory  and  that   no               portion   thereof  will  be  sold  to  or   be               permitted to be utilised by any other party or               pledged  with any financier other  than  Banks               authorised   to  deal  in   foreign   exchange               provided that particulars of goods so  pledged               are  reported  in  advance  to  the  licensing               authority." The  respondents have sought assistance for  their  argument principally  from  the  dictionary  meaning  of  the   words "consumption",  "raw material" and "utilised" used  in  this clause.   "Consumption", it is argued, conveys the  idea  of destruction  of  the commodity consumed and  "raw  material" according  to  this submission, must be "utilised"  in  this



sense.  In our opinion dictionary meanings, however  helpful in  understanding  the  general sense of  the  words  cannot control  where the scheme of the statute or  the  instrument considered  as a whole clearly conveys a somewhat  different shade of meaning.  It is not always a safe way to construe a statute  or  a  contract  by dividing it  by  a  process  of etymological  dissection  and after  separating  words  from their  context to give each word some particular  definition given   by  lexicographers  and  then  to  reconstruct   the instrument  upon  the  basis  of  those  definitions.   What particular  meaning should be attached to words and  phrases in  a given instrument is usually to be gathered ?from  the context,  the nature of the subject matter, the  purpose  or the intention of the author and the effect of giving to them one  or  the other permissible meaning on the object  to  be achieved.   Words are after all used merely as a vehicle  to convey  the idea of the speaker or the writer and the  words have  naturally, therefore, to be so construed as to fit  in with the idea which emerges on a consideration of the entire context.  Each word is but a symbol which may stand for  one or  a number of objects.  The context, in which a word  con- veying   different  shades  of  meanings  is  used,  is   of importance  in determining the precise sense which  fits  in with  the context as intended to be conveyed by the  author. The  words used in the licence (Ex.  P/12) have  accordingly to  be  construed  in the background of the  scheme  of  the Import  Control Order, 1955, the entry no. 67 of Schedule  I to this Order and the Import Trade Control Policy.  The word "consumption" as used in cl. (c) in the licence seems to  us to convey the idea of using up the goods by L 436 Sup Cl/71 518 fixing  them  in the factory along  with  other  components. This is clear from the fact that entry no. 67(1) in Schedule 1  of the Import Control Order does not contain  any  single item  denoting a complete printing press and from the  fact that the various ;articles mentioned in this item seem as if to  have been intended to constitute "raw  material".   This construction  fits  in  with the scheme and  policy  of  the Import  Trade  Control  as  we  will  presently  show.   The dictionary  meaning of the three words in cl. (c)  on  which the  respondent relies also seems, in our opinion to  harmo- nise with this view. The Government of India (Ministry of Commerce and  Industry) has  been publishing from time to time Import Trade  Control Handbook on rules and procedure providing for the assistance of those interested in imports up to date information as  to the manner in which applications for import licences  should be  made, the appropriate authority to be addressed in  each case,  the  procedure governing the grant  of  licences  for different  classes of goods, the validity and use of  import licences  and  other similar matters.  In  the  Handbook  of 1956,  which  is the relevant Handbook for this  case  which relates to the licence originally granted in 1960,  Schedule I  commonly  known  as the ITC Schedule  serves  broadly  to classify  the  articles that enter into  the  import  trade. Part  V of the Schedule covers ’industrial requirements  and it  is  in  this part that  the  printing  and  lithographic material  including and Other items are entered at  sl.  no. 67(1),  already noticed by us. This Handbook emphasises  the importance  of correct classification with reference to  the serial  number and part of the ITC Schedule.   In  Appendix III of the Handbook application forms are prescribed.   Form B  is the one which was used by the respondents.  This  form is  meant for the import of goods by actual users not  borne



on  the  registers maintained by  the  Industrial  Advisers, Ministry  of Commerce and Industry, when licence  is  sought for  import  of goods (other than those  falling  under  the capital  goods  licensing procedure) vide  :  Government  of India,  Ministry  of Commerce and Industry Order  No.  17/55 dated  7th  December, 1955.  It is expressly stated  in  the respondents’  application  Ex.   P/ 11 (b) 1  that  the  raw material  was required by them for printing newspaper  (Dina Seithi, Tamil Daily) : full particulars of the raw materials required to be imported were given as printing machinery and proforma was attached with the application.  ITC number  and part  was specifically stated to be 67 (1 ) (i), Part V.  It was  on the basis of this application that the  licence  Ex. P/12 was granted subject inter alia to condition (c). The  Government of India, Ministry of Commerce and  Industry also publishes from time to time Import Trade Control Policy  519 for  the various licensing periods. in the  publication  for the  licensing  period  April-September, 1960  we  find  the policy  statement, showing the list of items  licensable  to actual  users.  At p. 360 in Appendix IV, Part V,  items  67 (1) (i) and 67 (2) occur.  Item 67 (1 ) (i) reads : "Printing   machinery  (for  Newspaper  Establishments   and quality printers)." Item 67 (2) reads : "Component parts of printing machinery". It  is obvious that in the respondents’  application  serial no.  67(1)  (i)  refers to this item  in  the  Import  Trade Control  Policy, AprilSeptember, 1960, the  period  relevant for  this  case.  There is no other item in any one  of  the lists  which  covers printing presses as  a  separate  item. This clearly shows that the printing presses are treated  by legislative  intendment  as Printing  material  or  Printing machinery.  Form ’B’ used in the present case indicates that the Press intended to be imported was not considered to fall under the Capital Goods Licensing Procedure.  It seems  that it  is  for  all these reasons that in the  licence  it  was provided  that  these  goods  would  be  utilised  only  for consumption  as raw material or accessories in the  licence- holder’s  factory.  The words "utilised", "consumption"  and "raw   material"  have  to  be  fitted  into   the   clearly discernable  statutory scheme and this is  possible  without doing  violence  to the dictionary meaning of  these  words. The  appropriate  dictionary  meaning  of  words  possessing variable  shades  of  meanings has  not  to  be  arbitrarily selected  and mechanically applied without  considering  the setting in which they are, used and the purpose sought to be achieved. There  is another very cogent factor in this  case,  namely, that  the  respondents,  when they sought  licence  for  the import  of  printing press expressly  represented  that  the imported  goods were required to meet the increasing  demand of circulation of their newspaper.  This indeed was the sole round   for importing the press.  The amended  licence  was. also  secured  by the respondents so as to  enable  them  to import two printing presses on the ground that one press was required for their Madurai office as well.  Licence for both the printing presses was obtained for actual use by them for their newspapers.  Had they not complied with the  procedure meant  for the import of goods by actual users,  they  might not  have secured the necessary licence.  Having  secured  a licence expressly for the import of goods for their use they may not be permitted to ignore the condition of actual  user on  the plea (which by no means seems to be  virtuous)  that



cl. (c) is inapplicable to actual users. 5 20 The respondents on their own showing clearly knew their dis- ability  under  the  conditions imposed by cl.  (c)  of  the licence.   Knowing full well the condition  prohibiting  the transfer  of the press to other persons the  respondents  as the  correspondence  to which our attention has  been  drawn shows  were actually negotiating for the sale of one of  the presses  during the period when the procedure in  regard  to its import was being carried out.  On July 2, 1961 amendment of the licence was sought so as to import one more  printing press and on July 17, 1961 its resale was actually finalised and  a part of the price also received.  These facts do  not need  any  comment on the intention and bona  fides  of  the respondents.   It is unnecessary to go into the evidence  on this  point because, as already noticed, it is not  disputed that  one of the printing presses was actually sold  to  Dr. Thomas prior to its arrival in India.  The amendment of  the licence also appears to have been sought with the object  of reselling the second press.  The only argument urged  namely that  condition  (c) was inapplicable  to-the  present  case having been repelled, the appeal, in our view, must  succeed and  the order of the High Court reversed.  The validity  of condition (c) in the licence has not been questioned and  in our opinion rightly in view of the decision of this Court in M/s.  Ramchand Jagdish Chand v. Union of India(1).  There is neither any legal nor equitable justification for  reselling the printing press. The  suggestion  faintly  thrown that the  Company  was  the holder of the licence and, therefore, the other  respondents (accused persons) should not be held liable is also  without merit.  On the facts found and on the authority of State  of West Bengal v. Motilal Kanoria (2 ) all the respondents (the individual  accused  persons  along with  the  Company)  are guilty. The  argument that the High Court having acquitted  the,res- pondents  on  a  view which is a possible  view  this  Court should not convert acquittal into conviction under Art.  136 of the Constitution has not appealed to us.  The view of the High Court does not seem to be sustainable on the  statutory language  and  on  the Import Control Policy  of  which  the respondents  were  fully aware.  Their  own  application  is proof  positive of their awareness of the true position  and the  breach of the conditions of the licence on  their  part was deliberate.  Indeed, as observed earlier, the permission for  the  import of the second press was  apparently  sought with  the  object of its resale.  Breach of  conditions  for import of goods is a serious matter because it prejudicially affects our country’s national economy.  The import  licence for  the  second press having, in our view, been  sought  on false representation with (1) [1962] 3 S.C.R. 72.               (2) [1966] 3 S. C.  R. 933.  521 the  object  and  purpose of its resale the  breach  of  the licence  was, therefore, fully intended and  designed.   The respondents  are guilty of malpractices and of abuse of  the import  licence  with  the  object  of  making  money.   We, however, think that in view of the fact that this litigation has  been pending since a long time, it would meet the  ends of  justice  if we impose merely fine and  do  not  sentence anyone to imprisonment.  The final result is that the  order of the High Court is set aside and accused nos. 1, 2, 3  and 5  are  convicted  under s. 120-B, I.P.C. and s.  5  of  the Imports  & Exports Act, 1947 read with cl. 5 of  the  Import



Control Order, 1955 and each of the accused nos. 2, 3 and  5 are sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 2,000/- under each count. Accused no. 1 who is the principal culprit and who was  sen- tenced  by  the  trial court to  imprisonment  and  fine  is sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 5,000/- under each count.  In default  of payment of fine the defaulting  accused  persons will  undergo rigorous imprisonment for three  months.   The Company  is  convicted  only under s. 5  of  the  Imports  & Exports Act read with cl. 5 of the Import Control Order  and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 2,000/-. V.P.S. Appeal allowed. 5 2 2