Decided on February 09,1967



- (1.) THESE four revisions have been preferred against the orders of the Excise Commissioner Rajasthan, dated the 7th October, 1965. As the issues involved in all these revisions are common, they are disposed of by this single order.
(2.) THE facts of the case in brief are that the State Government revised the prices of varieties of country liquor from 1st of August, 1964. In accordance with the past practice and the departmental instructions, the District Excise Officer, Ajmer realised the difference between the increased rates and the previous rales of duty from the appellants who held the licenses for country liquor shop at Beawar. THE appellants being aggrieved by this order went in appeal before the Excise Com-missioner. THE learned Excise Commissioner held that the District Excise Officer had acted in accordance with the past practice and the departmental instructions and therefore he upheld the order of charging excise duty with retrospective effect and rejected the appeal. I have heard the arguments advanced by the counsel representing both the parties and perused the record. The counsel for the applicants argued that the excise duty was increased by the Government with effect 1. 8. 1964 and that this increased duty was chargeable only on stocks which were with the Government and Were to be issued to the contractors on or after 1. 8. 1964. Whatever stocks had been issued already, that is to say on or before 1. 8. 1964 and which were available with the contractors for sale were not to be subject to this increased excise duty because the notification in question nowhere lays down that the enhanced excise duty will have any retrospective effect. Even if such a provision was made in the notification, such a notification would be inoperative and impracticable to be put into practice because whatever stocks were issued to the contractors before l. 8. 1964 must have been disposed of by the contractors. Even if any stocks remained with them to be disposed of in future, they were clearly not chargeable to increased excise duty in the light of the Notification. The Notification inter alia reads as under - ". . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Issue prices - The issue price of different varieties of country liquor, that is, the price at which the country liquor will be issued from Government warehouses to the retail licensees shall be as under - There is no mistake or ambiguity in the phraseology of this notification and by no stretch of imagination this Notification can be given effect retrospectively. As such the Notification shall have only a prospective effect. As such, it was wrong on the part of the District Excise Officer to have demanded the revised excise duty on the stocks which had already been issued to the contractors for sale. Of course, the Excise Department was at liberty to charge enhanced excise duty on the stocks which were lying with them in Government on State owned warehouses. The Government Advocate conceded that the Notification in question had no retrospective effect and therefore any stocks issued to the excise shopkeepers before 1st August, 1964 were not chargeable to enhanced or revised excise duty. In the result this revision petition is accepted and the order passed by learned Excise Commissioner is quashed. .;

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