WUEYEWAJRDENE J.—Matahim v. The Controller of Prices.
1946Present: Wij eye wardens J.MAZAHIM, Appellant, and THE CONTROLLER OPPRICES, Respondent.
302—M. C. Colombo, 19,887.
Control of Prices Ordinance, No. 39 of 1939—Order passed under s. 3 fixingmaximum price of article—Effect of its revocation on offence committedwhile the Order was in force—Interpretation Ordinance (Cap. 2), s. 6 (3).
The revocation of an Order made under section 3 of the Control ofPrices Ordinance, No. 39 of 1939, fixing the maximum price of an articlefor an indefinite period, is not a bar to the trial of an offence committedin breach of the Order while the Order was in force.
PPEAL against a conviction from the Magistrate’s Court, Colombo.
M.M. Kumarahulasingham, for the accused, appellant.
J.O. T. Weeraratne, C.C., for the Attorney-General.
Cur. adv. wit.
December 6, 1946. Wukyewaedbne J.—
The accused was charged on July 30, 1946, with having sold 500 creamlaid envelopes for Rs. 10*50 on July 24, 1946, when according to theOrder published in the Government Gazette No. 9,239 of November 10,1944, the maximum retail price was Rs. 9. The Magistrate convictedthe accused on September 6, 1946, and sentenced him to pay a fine ofRs. 400.
Mr. Kumarakulasingham contended that the conviction was wrongas the Order mentioned above was revoked on August 1,1946 (vide GazetteNo. 9,589 of August 9, 1946), and cited Perera v. Johren 2 in support ofhis contention. I have examined the record in that case and I findthat the facts there are clearly distinguishable from the facts in thiscase. The accused in Perera v. Johren (supra) was charged for com-mitting an offence on December 8„ 1844, under a regulation publishedin Gazette No. 9,166 of September 3, 1943. That regulation was repealedon May 26,1944. This Court held that the conviction under the repealedregulation was illegal. In the present case, however, the accused soldthe envelopes while the Order mentioned in the charge was in force.
1 (1926) 28 N. L. R. 156.* (1945) 46 N. L. B. 333.
Goonetileke v. Government Agent, Gtitle.
My attention was drawn also to the following passage from thejudgment of Tindal C.J. in Kay v. Goodwin1
“ I take the effect of repealing a statute to be, to obliterate it ascompletely from the records of the Parliament as if it had never passed ;and, it must be considered as a law that never existed, except for thepurpose of those actions which were commenced, prosecuted, andconcluded whilst it was an existing law."
The law as stated in the above passage has been modified in Englandby section 38 (2) of the Interpretation Act, 1889 (vide Maxwell on Inter-pretation 6f Statutes, Eighth Edition, page 349). We have a correspond-ing provision in Ceylon in section 6 (3) of the Interpretation Ordinancewhich enacts :—
" Whenever any written law repeals either in whole or in part a'former written law, such repeal shall not, in the absence of any expressprovision to that effect, affect or be deemed to have affected(«)
(b) any offence committed, any right, liberty or penalty acquiredor incurred under the repealed written law.”
Now the Order fixing the maximum price of envelopes and the Orderin Gazette No. 9,589 revoking that Order were made by the DeputyController of Prices by virtue of the powers vested in him by section 3of the Control of Prices Ordinance, No. 39 of 1939, and would, therefore,be, “ written law ” (vide Interpretation Ordinance section 2 (v) ). More-over, there is no “ express provision ” in the Order in Gazette No. 9,589as mentioned in 6 (3) (6) of the Interpretation Ordinance.
I may add also that the Order does not contain a proviso that it is tocontinue in force only for a certain specified time.
For the reasons given by me I hold against the accused on the pointof law argued before me.
I affirm the conviction but reduce the fine from Rs. 400 to Rs. 10Q.In default of payment of the fine the accused will undergo rigorousimprisonment for six weeks.
MAZAHIM , Appellant, and THE CONTROLLER OF PRICES , Respondent