Decided on December 11,2003

T R Vijay Kumar Appellant


- (1.) Appellant is the petitioner in W.P. (C) No.24489 of 2003. He is the Proprietor of Elite Distilleries & Beverages Company which is running a compounding, blending and bottling unit on the strength of the licenses issued by the Excise Department.
(2.) The Kerala Foreign Liquor (Compounding, Blending & Bottling) Rules, 1975 were amended by the Government of Kerala by notification issued as per G.O.(P) No. 45/2000/TD dated 21.3.2000 published in Kerala Gazette Extra Ordinary dated 21.3.2000. Ext. P2 is the true copy of the said notification. The amended rules, titled as the Kerala Foreign Liquor (Compounding, Blending & Bottling) Rules, 2000 came into force on the 1st day of April, 2000. The change effected in the rules by the amendment, so far as this case is concerned, is that in R.10, in sub-r.(7) for the words, letters, figures and brackets "Rs.200/- (Rupees two hundred only)" the words, letters, figures and brackets "Rs.10,000/- (Rupees ten thousand only)" have been substituted.
(3.) The appellant applied on 29.3.2000 for the approval of labels of the seven brands of Indian Made Foreign Liquor for sale in Kerala. According to him, the 1st respondent - Excise Commissioner approved the labels on 30.3.2000. But Ext. P1 proceedings of the Commissionerate of Excise, Thiruvananthapuram, shows that the labels were approved only on 13.4.2000. The case of the appellant is that the amended provisions are not applicable to him for two reasons: (i) the fee for approval of labels shall be at the rates prevalent on the date of application and not the date of approval of the labels and (ii) even if the date of approval of the labels is the relevant date for levying the fee, approval of the labels applied for by him was done by the competent authority before 1.4.2000 and therefore the enhanced rate is not applicable in his case. In the Writ Petition one more contention was taken, viz., that the increase in the rate of fee was not justified for want of quid pro quo.;

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