Decided on July 28,1971

G.LINGAIAH Appellant


- (1.)1. The petitioner is a licensee for Makhtbal and Kodangal groups of toddy shops for two consecutive excise years, 1969-70 and 1970-71. He is the sole licensee in both the yearsi In 1969-70 he was allotted certain trees of which some of them were neither tapped nor even marked, as the petitioner did not pay the tree-tax or tree owner's rent. In these writ petitions he claims that by virtue of sab-rule (4) of Rule 13 of the Andhra Pradesh Excise (Tapping of Trees and Toddy Shops Special Conditions of Licences) Rules, 1959, hereinafter called the rules, he is entitled to tap those trees without paying any tree-tax or tree owner's rent even in the year 1970-71i Writ Petition No. 4923 of 1970 is concerned with the Makhtal group of abkari shops and Writ petition No. 5228 of 1970 is concerned with the Kodangal group of shops.
(2.)Sri Dasaratha Ramayya, the learned counsel for the petitioner argues that with the intention of giving incentives to the abkari licensees and to induce them to bid at the auctions and become licensees for successive years the rule makers have introduced rule 13 (4) and thereunder exempted licensees for successive years from paying free- tax and tree owner's rent altogether He strongly relies upon the language of sub-rule (4) which reads as follows :-
"The trees that remain untapped at the expiry of the licence shall be given for tapping without payment of tree- tax and tree owner's rent to such shop for which the trees were allotted, subject to the condition that the same shop is acquired during the ensuing year and the licensee or one of the licensees of the shop is also the same"

(3.)In particular the learned counsel relies upon the three words that occur in the sub-rule which are "untapped", "tapping" and "allotted". From the sub-rule in general and from the use of the three words in particular, the learned counsel wants to infer the intention of the rule making authority that if there are any trees allotted in the previous year, the licensee who continues to he the same for the succeeding year also, can tap in the succeeding year those trees which were untapped iu the previous year, without any payment of tree-tax and tree owner's rent. This exemption, according to this contention, is unqualified and is available, despite the fact that no such tree-tax and tree owner's rent was paid in the previous year. In other words the contention comes to this :-If a person is a licensee for two years and was allotted some trees in the first year. he can tap them in the next year without paying any tree-tax or tree-owner's rent either in the first year or in the second year. Well, this is certainly an extraordinary claim. One of the purposes of the A.P. Excise Act is the levy of excise duty and collection of revenue. It is certainly not to encourage drinking of toddv, sendhi or liquor, hut to regulate is If Sri Dasaratharamayya's contention is accepted, it would lead to a very amazing result that this particular rale is intended to encourage tapping, sale of alcohol aud liquors without paying any tree-tax and tree owner's rent.

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