K RAMALAKSHMAYYA Vs. SUPERINTENDENT OF EXCISE GUNTUR DISTRICT AT GUNTUR
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
SUPERINTENDENT OF EXCISE, GUNTUR DISTRICT, AT GUNTUR
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(1.) In this writ petition, the petitioner claims that he is entitled to the refund of the amount paid in advance under Rule 19 of the A.P. Excise (Lease of Right to sell Liquor in Retail) Rules (hereinafter referred to as 'The Rules' on the ground that he had lifted the entire [minimum guaranteed quantity of liquor as provided under the licence given to him and that the same cannot be withheld or adjusted towards any rentals allegedly due from him.
(2.) The petitioner, who was a licensee for the Vinukonda group of arrack shops for the excise year 1980-81, was required to make a deposit of Rs. 30,050/- under Rule 19 of the Rules. Admittedly the petitioner had lifted the entire minimum guaranteed quantity of 1,20,000 litres of liquor allotted to the shops. The grievance of the petitioner is that although he had lifted the entire quantity, the excise authorities withheld the refund of the said amount of deposit on the ground that rental due for the period from 2-1-1981 to 9-1-1981 was not paid, during which his licence stood suspended for non-payment. Questioning the right of the excise authorities to demand and recover the rental for the period during which the licence remained suspended, the petitioner has filed a separate writ petition out of which W.A,No.422/81 arises, which has been disposed of by a separate judgment holding that the excise authorities are justified in suspending the licence and the writ petitioner was liable to pay the rental. The only question, therefore, that remains to be considered in this writ petition is whether, as contended by the learned counsel for the petitioner, the excise authorities are bound to refund the said amount because he had lifted the entire minimum guaranteed quantity of liquor for which purpose the amount was paid, even though arrears of rental are due and recoverable from the petitioner.
(3.) The petitioner based his claim primarily on the ground that no arrears of rental are due from him for the excise year 1980-81 in respect of the Venukonda group of shops. In view of the conclusion we have reached in W. A. No. 422/81 that basis no longer subsists. Even so, Mr. Balakrishna Murthy, learned counsel for the petitioner contends that the amount of Rs. 30,050/-paid by him as advance under Rule 19 of the Rules is liable to be refunded inasmuch as he had lifted the entire minimum guaranteed quantity of 1, 20, 000 litres of liquor allotted for th6 said group of shops. In support of this contention he places reliance upon Rules 16,18 and 19 of the A. P. Excise (Lease of right to sell liquor, in retail) Rules, 1969, which reads as follows:-
"16. Payment of rental by the auction-purchaser: (1) The auction purchaser shall pay 2% of the annual rental as earnest money together with one month's rental on the day of the auction immediately after the acceptance of the tender or bid as the case may be. The earnest money and one month's rental shall be in addition to the rental deposit required in rule 18. In case of failure to remit the earnest money if any and one month's rental on that day, the shop or group of shops shall be re-auctioned. (2) Where a shop is assigned to a Tappers Co-operative Societies, the Tappers Co-operaiive society shall pay 2% of annual rental as earnest money together with half month's rental fixed by the Government on or before the date prescribed for completion of formalities.
18. Other requirements: (1) Within fifteen days from the date of auction, the auction purchaser shall deposit two month's rental in cash or in fixed deposit certificates obtained from a scheduled bank or a District Co-operative Central Bank for the period of lease and in case a bank guarantee is offered, such guarantee shall be in force for such period till all proceedings or claims arising from the auction also are finally settled and disposed of. (2) The auction purchaser shall also be required in all cases where the monthly bid is in excess of Rs. 10, 000/-to furnish a non-encumbrance certificate in respect of properties shown in his affidavit with stipulation that during the currency of the relevant lease the properties shown therein shall not be alienated. (3) Where a shop is assigned to a Tappers Co-operative Society or Tribal Arrack Co-operative society or under tree for Tapper Scheme or is withdrawn from auction and allotted to Tappers cooperative society or Tribal Arrack Co-operative society the society need not deposit two months' rentals. It shall however pay the annual rentals in nine equal monthly instalments commencing from October. (4) All interest accruing on fixed deposit receipts shall vest in the Government and may be adjusted towards the governments due including interest, if any, outstanding against the auction purchaser, and if there be no such dues it shall be refunded to the auction purchaser at the end of the lease period. Provided that where the auction is conducted after the 15th September, in any year, the deposit referred to shall be made within fifteen days of auction or before the expiry of the same month whichever is earlier.
19. Additional formality to be completed by auction-purchaser of arrack shop:- The auction purchaser in respect of arrack shop shall pay in advance an amount calculated at the rate of 25 paise per litre in the case of 30 UP arrack and 15 paise per litre in the case of 60 UP arrack on the minimum quantity of arrack guaranteed for the year, within fifteen days of the acceptance of the bid or tender and if the auction takes place after the 15th September within 15 days of auction or before the end of the same month whichever is earlier." Rule 16 merely lays down that a person, who has become the successful bidder at an auction, shall pay 2% of annual rental as earnest money together with one month's rental on the date of auction immediately after the acceptance of the tender or the bid as the case may be. That is to be paid in addition to the two months' rental in cash or in fixed deposit certificates as envisaged by Rule 18. Apart from these two amounts, a licensee of an arrack shop is required to pay in advance an amount calculated at 25 paise per litre in the case of 30 UP arrack.;
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