DELUXE BAR Vs. EXCISE SUPERINTENDENT
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
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P.Venkatarama Reddi, J. -
(1.)The increase in the licence-fee for various categories of liquor licences by G.O.Ms.No.160 Revenue (Ex.III) dated 3-3-1990 has led to the filing of this batch of writ petitions.
(2.)The petitioners herein, by and large, are holders of wholesale licence (FL 15), retail licence (FL 24), bar licence (FL 17) and storage licence for godo wns (FL 19). A few of them are having distributor's licence (FL 27). The grant of these licences is governed by the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Foreign Liquor and Indian Liquor Rules, 1970 issued under the Andhra Pradesh Excise Act, 1968, hereinafter referred to as 'the Rules' and 'the Act' respectively.
(3.)Section 15 of the Act enjoins that no person shall sell or buy any intoxicant except under the authority and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a licence granted in this behalf. Under Sec.17 of the Act, the Government may, subject to such conditions as they may deem fit to impose, grant for a fixed period to any person at any place a lease or licence or both either jointly or severally for the exclusive privilege of manufacturing and/or of supplying any liquor or intoxicant by wholesale or selling by wholesale or by retail. Under sub-section (2) thereof, the Government may confer on any officer the power to grant a lease or licence. Section 17 is subject to the provisions of Section 28 and the Rules made thereunder. Sec.28 lays down that every licence granted under the Act lays down that every licence granted under the Act shall be subject to payment of such fees, for such period, subject to such restrictions and conditions and shall be in such form as may be prescribed. Section 31 deals with the power to cancel or suspend the licence. Inter alia, it says, if any duty or fee payable by the holder thereof is not duly paid, the licence may be cancelled or suspended. Section 72 confers the rule-making power on the Government. The Government may make rules for carrying out all or any of the purposes of the Act. In particular, the Government may make Rules regulating the time, place and manner of payment of any duty or fee and the taking of security for the due payment of any duty or fee (Vide Clause (g) of Sec.72(2)). Under Clause (h) the Government is empowered to prescribe the authority by which, the form in which and the terms and conditions on and subject to which any licence or permit shall be granted or issued and may, by such rules among other matters prescribe the scales of fees or the manner of fixing the fees payable in respect of any lease, licence or permit or the storing of any excisable article. Sub-section (3) of Section 72 enables the Government to make the Rules retrospectively as well. The sub-section also says that when such a rule is made, the reasons for making the rule shall be specified in a statement to be laid before the Legislature. Every rule made under the Act is required to be laid before the House of the State Legislature within the stipulated time.
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