1. Shri Ghevarchand of Padi applied for issue of a Gold Dealer's licence for setting up business in Padi for the year 1982. The Deputy Collector of Central Excise (Gold), Madras rejected the application by her order CNo. XVII/7/68/82-G.C, dated 29-4-1983 (Annexure-B) taking into account the turnover in Chingleput District (in which Padi was situated), for the preceding three years viz., 1979, 1980 and 1981. On appeal, the Collector of Central Excise (Appeals), Madras, observed that Padi was part of Ambattur Township and it was highly industrialised area,, By his order No. 135/83 (M) GC, dated 13-7-1983 (Annexure-C) he directed that the matter be examined afresh with reference to the turnover of the gold dealers in Ambattur Township as well as the number of dealers in Padi Industrial Area. He further noted that it would also be necessary to take into account the proximity of Padi to Madras City while deciding the application of the respondent and not simply consider Padi as part of Chingleput District ignoring the fact that it is a highly industrialised belt of Madras City.
2. On appeal by the applicant against the above order, the Tribunal in its order No. GC(MAS) 110/84 and CO. (MAS) No. 9/84, dated 27-11-1984 (Annexure-A) concurred with the decision of the Collector (Appeals) to remand the case, but directed the Deputy Collector to take into consideration the number of gold dealers in the ten revenue villages of Ambattur Township and the turnover of those dealers for the purpose of grant of gold dealer's licence on the ratio detailed in paragraph 7 of the order of the Tribunal which is reproduced below :- "We note that Ambattur is a "municipal township". It is seen from the information gathered from the Government of Tamil Nadu that a township has the status of a municipality and there are eight such townships in the State of Tamil Nadu. A township is administered by a nominated committee as referred to above, and the township comes under the direct control of the Revenue Department. It is seen from the recital that a township is not a town as envisaged in Rule 2(f) of the Gold Control (Licensing of Dealers) Rules, 1969; not is it for that matter a village. It would seem to be something in between.
Rule 2(f) refers to "the need to increase the number of licensed dealers in the city or town ... or where the applicant intends to carry on business in a village the need to increase the number of licensed dealers in the district within (which) such, village is situated".... For purposes of ascertaining the demand for ornaments, a town or a district is carved out as a distinct entity, whereas in respect of a village, the demand in the district as a whole has to be taken into account. In specially, carving out jurisdictions of a city or a town, the factor that have been taken into account in estimating the demand for ornaments would appear to be the concentrated and active demand that would arise in a city or a town, as distinct from a diffused and not so intensive demand in a village. If one were to go by such an intention of the rule making authority, a township would seem to be more akin to a town in that there will be both . concentrated demand and larger volume thereof.
A township seems to have been set up to look after not only the interests of small number residents of the area covered by it, but also the larger volume of floating population that draws in its resources whether it be a health resort like Kodaikanal or Coutralam or an industrial area like Ambattur,, In this view of the matter, we are inclined to equate a township with a town, though the status of a township has not been expressly laid down in Rule. To interpret the rule rigidly would mean leaving out these 8 townships in the State of Tamil Nadu without any yardstick for considering applications for issue of gold dealers licences. Under the circumstances, we direct that in dealing with an application for issue of a gold dealers licence from any of the revenue villages within the Ambattur township, the number of gold dealers in the ten revenue villages and the demand of those dealers in those villages be taken into account for purposes of grant of gold dealers licence.
We note that as on 22nd September, 1984, the Ambattur township had the following revenue villages under its jurisdiction : 3. The applicant has filed an application under Section 82 of the Gold (Control) Act, 1968 seeking to refer the following questions said to be of law and arising from the order of the Tribunal.
(i) Whether the Order of the Tribunal directing that the application for issue of licence at Padi Village be considered on the basis of turnover and the number of dealers falling under Ambattur Township is correct in law when Rule 2(f) of the Gold (Control) (Licensing of Dealers) Rules, stipulates that in respect of application for issue of licence in a village the turnover of the district in which it is located should be considered for the purpose of the said rule.
(ii) When there is a specific and expressly worded provision in law for assessing the demand for the gold for the purpose of issue of gold control licence, whether the Tribunal was correct in ignoring such expressly worded provision and basing its decision on intent of rule making authority.
4. We have heard both sides on the application for reference. As a result of discussion, it has been decided to refer the following question to the Honourable High Court of Judicature at Madras : "Whether in the facts and circumstances of the case, the decision of the Tribunal to equate Padi Township with a 'town' for purposes of issue of a gold dealer's licence, for purposes of Rule 2(f) of the Gold Control (Licensing of Dealers) Rules, 1969, is correct in law."