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Allahabad High Court stays recovery action against shopkeepers for spoiling of maize

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The Allahabad High Court has put a stay on the recovery action being taken by the state government from the shopkeepers for the spoilage of thousands of tonnes of maize kept in the government shops.

A Single Bench of Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Anil Kumar Tiwari.

The Court noted that,

Submission of the counsel for the petitioner is, it is established from the impugned communication dated 25.1.2022 itself that the petitioner had not indulged in any malpractice or sale of essential commodity, here maize, except in accordance with law.

Therefore, no demand could be made from the petitioner for admitted loss of value suffered by the surplus/unsold stock of maize that remained available to the petitioner because the beneficiaries did not lift the same.

Once, it is admitted that the stock of the maize was available with the petitioner, the petitioner is not liable to compensate for loss of its quality and value because the beneficiaries did not lift such quantities from the petitioner.

The Standing Counsel prayed for time to obtain instructions. On his request, The Court put up the matter on 31.5.2022 as fresh.

“Till the next date of listing, no coercive measures be adopted against the petitioner pursuant to the impugned communication dated 25.1.2022”, the Court ordered.

According to the petition, in the year 2020-21, more than one lakh metric tonnes of maize was procured in 23 districts of the state (which mostly include the districts of western Uttar Pradesh). After its distribution in April 2021, 7698.826 metric tonnes of maize remained lying in the shops. When the remaining maize was examined under the Uttar Pradesh Food Safety, the maize turned out to be bad. The central government also did not allow the use of this maize.  After this, the state government issued an order to recover the amount relative to the remaining maize from the shopkeepers.

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