Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 23:
The Odisha government today heaved a sigh of relief when the Supreme Court overturned the order of the Odisha High Court and upheld the decision of the government to bar a certain segment of people from dealing in the public distribution system (PDS).
In 2008, the government had issued a Gazette notification which said that that no dealer shall hold a license to deal in a commodity under the PDS if he or any of his family members have a commercial interest in the business.
The High Court had quashed Clause 5 of Public Distribution System (Control) order, 2008 and said that every citizen has a right to do business. However, the Odisha government had challenged the order in the Supreme Court, which upheld the notification of the government today.
The Apex court, in its order, said that where larger public interest is involved, it will not be considered as an infringement of fundamental rights of an individual.
Clause 5 of the Public Distribution System (Control) order, 2008 says, “No dealer shall hold a license to deal in a commodity under the Public Distribution System under this Order if he or any of his family members have a commercial interest in a business in or are commercial users of the said commodity or a commodity closely related to the said commodity or is a member of any Advisory or Vigilance Committee or any other Committee entrusted with supervision of the Public Distribution System.”
The notification clarified that commercial interest shall include business partnership and a relationship of tenant/ landlord of a commercial building, diesel and petrol shall be deemed to be commodities closely related to kerosene, owner of a commercial vehicle including boat shall be deemed to be a commercial user of Diesel/petrol and family shall mean a family unit consisting of the individual concerned, his/her spouse, their unmarried sons and daughters and married sons and dependent parents.
“Provided that the prohibition under this clause shall not apply in relation to the vehicles meant for and primarily used for transportation of kerosene from oil depots of the oil marketing companies to the business premises of a wholesaler agent of an oil marketing company,” the notification had said.
“Provided further that the license shall not be cancelled for violation of provisions of this clause if the dealer or his family member, as the case may be, relinquishes his interest in such other businesses within a period of three months from the date of coming into force of this order,” it added.