Decided on October 30,1967



- (1.) There are six petitioners in O. P. No. 354 and ten in O. P. No. 790. They are engaged in the business of soaking coconut husks within the area of the Kadalundi Panchayat, the second respondent to these writ applications. The question raised in these writ applications is about the validity of the impost of a licence fee in relation to the business of soaking coconut husks and being a common question we are disposing of the petitions by a common judgment.
(2.) The statutory provisions pursuant to which the fee is insisted upon are contained in S.96 and 109 of the Kerala Panchayats Act, 1960. We may read these sections. "Purpose for which places may not be used without a licence The Panchayat may with the previous approval of the Director notify that no place in the Panchayat area shall be used for any of the purposes specified in the rules made in this behalf being purposes which in the opinion of Government, are likely to be offensive or dangerous to humanlife or health or property, without a licence issued by the executive authority and except in accordance with the conditions specified in such licence: Provided that no such notification shall take effect until the expiry of sixty days from the date of its publication. 109. General provisions regarding licences and permissions.-- (1) Save as otherwise expressly provided in, or may be prescribed under, this Act, every application for any licence or permission under this Act or any rule, bye law or regulation made thereunder or for the renewal, thereof, shall be made not less than thirty and not more than ninety days before the earliest date with effect from which, or the commencement of the period (being a year or such less period as is mentioned in the application) for which the licence or permission is required. (2) Save as otherwise expressly provided in, or may be prescribed under, this Act, for every such licence or permission fees may be charged on such units and at such rates as may be fixed by the Panchayat with the approval of the Director." Sub-s.(3) to (12) of S.109 are not material for the purpose of disposing of these writ petitions in the view that we have taken of the case and are therefore not read.
(3.) The Kerala Panchayats (Licensing of Dangerous and Offensive Trades and Factories) Rules, 1963 has provided in R.3 thereof that the Government may specify in Schedule I to these Rules the purposes which in their opinion are likely to be offensive or dangerous to human life or health or property and item 28 of Schedule I to the Rules reads thus: Coconut husks and cadjan leaves -- Soaking of".;

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