D. 1924, 138
31 July 1942
On the point of jurisdiction:
On 25 April 1941 the Committee for the Organisation of the Glass Industry and Ancillary Businesses decided that the enterprises which were authorised to continue the production of clear glass tubes for bulbs must every month deliver a certain tonnage of glass as compensation to a factory whose application to start up a furnace had been rejected; M. Monpeurt attacked this decision but 10 June 1941 the Secretary of State for Industrial Production dismissed his complaint and M. Monpeurt now seeks to have the decision of the Secretary of State annulled.
Given that at a time when it was absolutely imperative for the public power to intervene in the economy the Law of 16 August 1940 introduced a provisional organisationto manage industrial production with a view to ensuring the best possible useof scarce resources as regards output, quality and cost and to improving employmentconditions in the interests both of management and staff; that it was clearlythe intention of the Law to create a public service for this purpose, and that,in order to run this service pending a definitive decision as to the final formthat the industrial reorganisation should take, it called for the creation ofcommittees on which it conferred, under the authority of the Secretary of State,the power to terminate programmes of manufacture and production, to lay downthe rules to be applied to the general conditions of operation of enterprisesand to make suggestions to the competent authorities for the price of goods andservices; that despite the fact that the Law did not give the organising committeesthe status of public establishments, it nevertheless gave them the task of participatingin the implementation of the public service so that the decisions they were totake within this function, whether by regulation or by individual decision, havethe quality of administrative acts; and that therefore the Conseil d’Étathas jurisdiction to entertain complaints arising from such acts;
On the legality of the decision under attack:
Given that the managing director of the Committee for the Organisation of the Glass Industry and Ancillary Businesses decided on 25 April 1941 in view of the shortage of primary materials and fuel to draw up a plan for that part of the industry which manufactured clear glass tubes for use in bulbs, a plan which entailed closing down one factory against compensation to be levied on those which were authorised to continue their production, including the enterprise owned by the complainant; that such a plan fell within the functions conferred on the organising committees by article 2 of the Law of 16 August 1940, especially §§2 and 4; that in drawing it up the managing director took account of the need to use the basic materials judiciously and did not trench on the powers granted to the Central Office of Redistribution or to the sections of that Office by the Law of 10 September 1940, admittedly in conformity with the rules issued by those institutions;
Given that in drawing up their production plans the committees are not bound by any law or regulation to have regard to past practice but are free to take into account all the features of the industry in the area under their consideration at the time of their decision, and in particular the capacity of the enterprises which wish to continue or resume production; that M. Monpeurt is therefore not entitled to invoke the position of the Etablissements Boralex prior to 1 September 1935 as a basis for contesting the legitimacy of the compensation to be granted to that company; that the applicant has failed to establish that the managing director of the glass industry was wrong in his estimate of the resources of the Société Boralex at the time when its activity was interrupted by the Law of 25 April 1941; that he is not entitled to maintain that the compensation amounts to an unjustified enrichment;
Given that there is no evidence in the dossier that the director made his decision for any purpose other than that for which he was granted his powers by article 2 of the Law of 16 August 1940 and article 12 of the decree of 11 December 1940 which set up the Committee for the Organisation of the Glass Industry and Ancillary Businesses; … dismisses the application.
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