Decided on September 29,1953



Mohapatra, J. - (1.) This is a petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India presented by the three petitioners with a prayer for issue of a writ of mandamus or any other direction that may be deemed at by this Court in the following circumstances: The licenses for the retail vend of country spirit at five places mentioned in the petition in the district of Koraput were put to auction for annual settlement by the Collector. One Upendra Senapati was granted license in respect of three places and one S. Narasimhulu in respect of the other two. The licenses were to expire on 31-3-53. For the year commencing on 1-4-53 the auction look place on 4-3-53 in respect of the above-mentioned five places for realising fees for the licenses for the retail vend of country spirit. The bid of petitioner 1 was accepted by the Collector for the licenses of three places and the bids of petitioners 2 and 3 in respect of each of the other two places were also accepted by the Collector and accordingly on 30-3-53 licenses were granted to them for their respective shops for the period from 1-4-1953 to 31-3-1954, whereupon they are carrying on their business of selling country spirit. They further submit that on 9-3-1953, opposite party 1, that is, the Member, Board of Revenue (Excise) passed an ex parte order on an incompetent appeal filed by the two previous licensees that these shops should be put to auction again and the previous licensees would start the bid at a call of Rs. 3500 in respect of the five shops taken together. It is to be mentioned here that these two previous licensees were in arrears to Government and under the Rules they were not allowed to bid at the auction where the petitioner's bids were accepted. The Collector, therefore, passed an order on 30-3-1053 that as desired by the Board the country spirit shops at those five places which were provisionally settled previously would be put to resale in a lot with a starting bid of Rs. 3500/- of Upendra Senapati and S. Narasimhulu and that the resale would take place on 10-4-1953.
(2.) The main ground on which the petitioners present the petition before us is that inasmuch as they were granted licenses for the year commencing on 1-4-1953, their rights under the licenses are complete and that further order for resale is in excess of jurisdiction of the Collector. The further ground taken by the petitioners is that the order passed by Opposite party 1 is incompetent.
(3.) The opposite parties have filed a counter to the effect that in fact the disputed five shops were put to auction individually on 4-3-1S53; but as the reserved fees were not obtained the shops were 'provisionally settled' with the petitioners who were granted only provisional licenses. Simultaneously with the making over of the provisional licenses to the present petitioners a notice of resale was also published to the effect that the five shops were to be put to auction again on 10-4-1953 and that the opposite parties had proceeded in accordance with law and the Collector had in the circumstances the power to put the shops to resale as the reserved fees were not obtained by the first auction.;

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