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Sevantilal Chimanlal Shah Vs. V.D. Dalvi and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberMisc. Petn. No. 81 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1961Bom105; 1961BomCR(Cri)105; (1960)62BOMLR832
ActsPost Office Act, 1898 - Sections 7,9, 9(1) and 9(2); Constitution of India - Articles 19 and 226; Post Office Rules - Rules 30, 30(1), 30(2), 30(3) and 30(5); Press and Registration of Book Act - Sections 5; Specific Relief Act - Sections 42
AppellantSevantilal Chimanlal Shah
RespondentV.D. Dalvi and anr.
Appellant AdvocateM.K. Shah, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateSorabjee, Adv.
Excerpt:
indian post office act (vi of 1898), 9, 7, schedule i - indian post office rules, 1933, rule 30--question whether periodical etc. satisfies provisions of section 9(2) of act justiciable by court--articles relating to news or current topics not contained in publication in great part--whether such publication newspaper within section 9(2)--rules whether give right of hearing to applicant or to notice of hearing.;whether an applicant's periodical, magazine or newspaper satisfies the provisions of section 9(2) of the indian post office act, 1898, and the conditions in rule 30(1) and (2) of the indian post office rules, 1933, is a question left to be determined by and is wholly in the discretion of the postmaster-general and/or other officer as mentioned in the note under rule 30(3) and rule.....order1. this is a petition under article 226 of the constitution for directions and orders quashing and setting aside the decision of the post master general, bombay, refusing renewal of registration of the petitioner's monthly magazine 'savita' under the provisions of the post office act and also for directions requiring the respondents to reconsider the petitioner's case for registration purposes of the said monthly magazine under the said act,2. the relevant facts are that the petitioner started publishing of the said monthly magazine 'savita' in august 1947. the circulation of the said magazine at the date of the petition was 14,000 copies out of which 3,500 copies were meant for despatch by post. in pursuance of an application made for the purpose in 1950 the petitioner's publication.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. This is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution for directions and orders quashing and setting aside the decision of the Post Master General, Bombay, refusing renewal of registration of the petitioner's monthly magazine 'Savita' under the provisions of the Post Office Act and also for directions requiring the respondents to reconsider the petitioner's case for registration purposes of the said monthly magazine under the said Act,

2. The relevant facts are that the petitioner started publishing of the said monthly magazine 'Savita' in August 1947. The circulation of the said magazine at the date of the petition was 14,000 copies out of which 3,500 copies were meant for despatch by post. In pursuance of an application made for the purpose in 1950 the petitioner's publication was registered under the said Act under No. B 5750. It has been the invariable practice of the Post Master General to issue notice in printed form to all registered newspapers in connection with the renewal of registration at the end of every year for the next year. Registration under the statutory rules made for the purpose is granted tor each year expiring on December 31st of the year. The statutory rules until the same were amended in September 1957 inter alia provided that

'x x x x newspapers, applications for renewal of registration of which are made within a month prior to the date of expiry, shall be renewed within a week from the dale ot receipt of the application of renewal x x x'.

The petitioner continued to submit annually the applications for renewal on printed forms provided for the purpose. The registration of the petitioner's publication was from year to year renewed and the last registration thereof expired on December 31st, 1957. By an application dated November 18th, 1957 the petitioner applied for renewal of registration of his publication under the Act. By his letter dated November 30th, 1957 the Post Master General wrote to the petitioner stating that the registration of the petitioner's publication was withdrawn with effect from January 1st, 1958. By his another letter dated January 3rd, 1958 the Post Master General wrote to the petitioner to state that renewal of registration of his publication could be considered when the petitioner complied with certain provisions of the Act. Bv his another letter, dated January 30th, 1958 the Post Master General again rejected the application for renewal of registration of the petitioner's publication for the year 1958. The reasons mentioned in tho correspondence by the Post Master General will have to be scrutinised in detail in connection with the contentions ot the petitioner in this petition.

3. On Februay 24th, 1958 the petitioner filed this petition. The petitioner inter alia contends that refusal of the Post Master General to renew registration of the petitioner's publications was mala fide and discriminatory inasmuch as publications similar to the petitioner's publication continued to be registered under the Act. The petitioner tor the said reasons also contends that the decision of the Post Master General was arbitrary and capricious. The petitioner further contends that under the statutory rules for registration once a publication is registered as a newspaper under the Act renewal of registration must be granted except when two specific conditions mentioned in Sub-clause (2) of section 9 of the Act are found as not having been complied with. Except for the purpose of determining the question of compliance of the two conditions no further enquiries are contemplated or permissible under the statutory rules and that the reasons given by the Post Master General in the correspondence for refusal to renew registration did not relate to non-compliance of such conditions. The petitioner therefore contends that in refusing to renew registration the Post Master General acted beyond the scope of his authority and jurisdiction and the refusal was in exercise of powers not existing in law and illegal. The petitioner also contends that he had not been given any notice in respect of the question of refusal of renewal of registration and that he was entitled to have an opportunity of being heard in that connection. The petitioner therefore contends that ru!es of natural justice have not been observed. The petitioner further contends that the right to transmit his publication at concessional rates is a statutory right of the petitioner and by reason of the refusal to renew registration the petitioner has been deprived of his statutory right and it. was incumbent on the respondents in law to renew registration of the petitioner's publication. The petitioner contends that bv reason of refusal of renewal of registration and the consequent withdrawal of concessional rates for transmission of the petitioner's publication by post, the petitioner had been directly made to incur such heavy costs and undergo such unhealthy competition that the petitioner was deprived of his fundamental right to trade. The petitioner therefore contends that the decision of the Post Master General was in violation ot fundamental rights and invalid by reason of provisions of Article 19 of the Constitution. For all these reasons the petitioner contends that the decision of the Post Master General should be set aside and he should be directed to reconsider the question of renewal of registration of the petitioner's publication once again.

4. Tho provisions of law relevant in considering the contentions raised by the petitioner are to be found in sections 7 and 9 and the 1st Schedule of the Indian Post Office Act and Rule 30 ot the Indian Post Office Rules made under the provisions of the said Act. These provisions must be read together to arrive at the true construction and effect thereof. Section 7 provides for power to fix rates of inland postage. By Sub-clause (1) of section 7 it is provided that 'the highest rate of postage, when pre-paid, shall not exceed the rate set forth for each class of postal article in the first schedule'. Tho first schedule divides the postal articles into four classes and provides for the postal rates to be charged in respect of each of the classes. The two relevant classes are: (1) Book, Pattern and sample packets, and (2) Registered newspapers. Registered newspapers are in comoarison with book, pattern and sample packets charged at extremely lower rates. By Sub-clause (2) of section 9 of the Act provision is made for including in the category of newspapers, publications which might not be newspapers in the commonly understood meaning ot that phrase. The Sub-clause (1) of section 9 provides for framing of rules for registration of newspapers for transmission by inland post as registered news-papers.

5. Sub-clause (2) of section 9 provides as follows :

'For the purpose of such registration, every publication, consisting wholly or in great part of political or other news, or of articles relating thereto, or to other current topics, with or without advertisements. shall be deemed a newspaper, subject to the following conditions, namely :

(a) that it is published in numbers at intervals of not more than thirty one days; and

(b) that it has a bona Sdo of subscribers.'

6. Rule 30 relates to registered newspapers. Rule 30(1) runs as follows :

'30(1) Newspapers as defined in section 9 ot the Act shall be transmitted by post as registered newspapers, provided that they comply with the following conditions : (a) The newspaper shall have been registered in the office of the Post Master General, x x x' (We are not concerned with the remaining provisions in Sub-clause (1)(a)).

7. Sub-clause (2) of Rule 30 relates to an application for the first registration of a newspaper and except in connection with the Government publi-cation makes it compulsory for all such applications to be accompanied by (i) a list showing names and addresses of at least 50 bona fide subscribers and (ii) certain certificate from the District Magistrate and (iii) declarations under Section 5 of the Press and Registration of Books Act.

8. Sub-clause (3) of Rule 30 provides that the first registration shall remain in force till the 31st December of the calendar year and that every subsequent renewal of registration shall remain in force for one calendar year.

9. Sub-clause (5) of Rule 30 until it was amended having regard to certain decisions of the Allaha-bad High Court ran as follows:

'(5) The Post Master General x x x x may cancelor refuse the registration of a newspaper (1) when he is satisfied that the conditions specified in Sub-clause (2) of Section 9 of the Act do not continue to be fulfilled x x x x'

10. Now, in connection with the true construction and effect of the above reterred provisions ot law, it is permissible to bear in mind the intention and object of the above provisions and in that connection also the administrative history in regard to registration of newspapers for transmission by inland post. Concessional rates were granted to newspapers not only in this country but (as appears from reported cases) in the United States of America and other countries. In the case of Hannegan v. Esquire, United States Supreme Court Reports (1945) 90 Law Ed 586 appears:

'We know the reason for which papers are allowed to go at a low rate of postage, amounting almost to the franking privilege, is because they are the most efficient educators of our people. It is because they go into general circulation and are intended for the dissemination of usetul knowledge such as will promote the prosperity and the best interests of the people all over the country'. x x x x

'The policy of Congress has been clear. It has been to encourage the distribution of periodicals which disseminated! 'information of a public character' or which were devoted to 'literature, the sciences, arts, or some special industry', because it was thought that those publications as a class contributed to the public good, x x x x'

'Tho original object in placing on second-class matter a rate far below that on any other class of mail was to encourage the dissemination of news and of current literature of educational value. This object has been only in part attained. The low rate has helped to stimulate an enormous mass of periodicals, many of which are of little utility for the cause of popular education. Others are of excellent quality, but the experience of the post office has shown the impossibility of making a satisfactory test based upon literary or educational values. To attempt to do so would be to set up a censorship of the press.'

11. Provision was made for transmission at concessional rates of registered newspapers with the object as appears in the aforesaid quotation. The intention and the object of the legislative provisions being as aforesaid and being entirely for the welfare of the citizens it would not be improper to construe these provisions liberally and in such manner as the benefit thereof is available to as large a number of publications as possible.

12. It is clear to me that under Sub-clause (1) of Rule 30 a publication which falls within the wider connotation of the word 'newspaper' as contained in Sub-clause (2) of Section 9 is entitled to and/or acquired the right to be transmitted by post as registered newsoaners provided certain administrative conditions as found in the aforesaid provisions were satisfied. The right to be transmitted as registered newspapers is nothing but the right to be transmitted at lower concessional rates as are to be found in the first schedule. That is a statutory right and there is no doubt that ordinarily stated a citizen whose publication consists of such material as mentioned in Sub-clause (2) of Section 9 is denied registration would have legitimate and justifiable grievance and would be entitled to a declaration under Section 42 of the Specific Relief Act in connection with such grievance. In such a case it would be for the Court to give the citizen such apprporiale relief as necessary so that his publication may become registered newspaper and his publication wouid be transmitted by payment at concessional rates as provided by the Act.

13. The administrative history of the publications being registered newspapers under the Act and the rules appears not only in the petition and the affidavit in rejoinder but in the case of Mitra Prakashan Ltd. v. Post Master General : AIR1957All662 . In the Allahabad case the petitioner had been publishing a Hindi periodical known as 'Manorama' since 1928. That periodical was registered since 1926 as a newspaper for transmission by inland post with a No. A-278. The postal authorities for 29 years had been treating the contents of 'Manorama' as fulfilling the requirements of Section 9 of the Act and the Rules made thereunder. The petitioner was also the owner of three other periodicals which Wore also very old periodicals and had been registered newspapers under the Act. The registration of 'Manorama' and three other periodicals of the petitioner in that case had been cancelled in 1955 and several petitions were filed in that connection. The contentions of the respondents in that case were similar to the contentions before me. As is mentioned in the petition in this case several publications issued from different parts of the State of Bombay and the Indian Union similar to the publications of the petitioner have been registered newspapers for continuously long periods. By way of illustration in para 18 of the petition the petitioner has given particulars of 11 such publications. The petitioner's publication and all those other publications including publications mentioned in the Allahabad case are publications which loosely stated are 'magazines and periodicals containing short stories only'. All these publications had been for considerable periods considered as publications entitled to be registered newspapers and the privilege of concessional rates under Sub-clause (2) of section 9 and the other provisions mentioned above. As appears from the Allahabad case and the facts in this petition since about the end of 1955 the Post Master General and the postal authorities raised a question as to short-story magazines being not entitled to registration us newspapers under the Act and the Rules. Curiously enough for considerable period no one had raised such a question and had any doubt regarding these publications and/or periodicals being newspapers within the meaning of Sub-clause (2) of Section 9 of the Act. It appears to me having regard to the aforesaid administrative history of these provisions that the question has been started by some Post Master Generals who disliked and/or censored circulation of romantic fiction generally contained in short stories.

14. Before dealing with the facts of the present case, it is convenient to deal with the decision in : AIR1957All662 on which the petitioner has relied. The decision in that case has led to certain amendments in the Rules made under Section 9 of the Act for registered newspapers. The question before the Allahabad High Court related to refusal to renew registration and relying upon the provisions in the said Rules as quoted above it was held that the word 'conditions' referred to in Rule 30(5) only mean conditions mentioned in Section 9, namely, (a) that it is published in numbers at intervals of not more than thirty one days, and (b) that it has a bona fide list of subscribers. It was also held that if either of these two conditions ceased to continue to be fulfilled the registration may be cancelled. But the fact that the publication should consist wholly or in great part of political or other news. Or of articles relating thereto, or to other current topics with or without advertisements cannot be regarded as 'condition' specified in Section 9 Subsection (2). The Post Master General had no discretion to refuse to renew registration of a newspaper (which had once been registered) even' if it was held that the periodical did not consist wholly or in great part of political or other news, or of articles relating thereto or to other current topics with or without advertisements. Relying on the note following the Rule 30(3), namely,

'...Registration of newspapers, applications for renewal of registration of which are made within a month prior to the date of expiry, shall be renewed within a week from the date of receipt of the application for renewal xxxxx'.

It was held that renewal of registration was compulsory upon an application having been made in time and that the refusal to renew registration was invalid. To obviate the effect of that decision and in effect to enforce the idea of censoring newspapers, periodicals and magazines, the provision in Rule 30(5) and the note under Sub-rule 30(3) were amended by executive fiat. The relevant words in the note-as amended now run as under:

'Renewal in all cases shall be granted only when the Post Master General or other officer referred to in Sub-rule (1) is satisfied that the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 9 of the Act are-fulfilled.'

The words 'conditions specified in Sub-section' as originally contained in rule 30(5) have now been. substituted by the words 'provisions of Sub-section (2)'. I have to consider the effect of the statutory rule-and note as amended as aforesaid and give effect to the same. It is obvious that the original application for registration as registered newspapers as also an application for renewal of registration must fulfil all provisions of Sub-clause (2) of Section 9 and the conditions in Sub-clauses (1) and (2) of Rule 30. Whether an applicant's periodical, magazine or newspaper satisfies the said provisions and conditions is a question left to the decision of the Post Master General or other officer as mentioned in the note and the Sub-rule (5) of Rule 30 mentioned above. It is also obvious that there is no provision in the rules for a right of hearing to the party concerned or an obligation to assign or state reasons for the decision made or for an appeal against the decision. In the absence of such provisions, it would be impossible for me to hold that the question is directed to be determined judicially. On the contrary the absence of any provision in respect of the aforesaid matters is indication that the question is left to be determined and is wholly in the discretion of the executive authority, namely, Post Master General and/or other officer as mentioned in the rules. The question is thus in my view left to be determined by subjective satisfaction of the executive authority and it is not left open for the Court to examine into the facts of any periodicals, magazine or newspapers to find out whether the same satisfied the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Section 9. Even though I have come to the conclusion that publication, periodical, magazine or newspaper which fall within the wider connotation of the word newspaper as mentioned in Sub-section (2) of Section 9 are entitled to the right of transmission at concessional rates as registered newspaper, I must hold that the question of enforcement ot such right is, generally stated, left for the determination and final disposal of the Post Master General and/or other officer by reason of the provisions in the statutory rules and note as hereinbefore mentioned.

15. Having regard to this position in law and the decision ot the executive authority being final, I have only to see if the allegations of the petitioner that the decision of the Post Master General in this case is mala fide, arbitrary or capricious or whether tho decision as given in this case is not erroneous but altogether extraneous and outside the purpose of this Act. These are the only grounds on which a Court of law would be justified in interfering with the decision of the executive authority, which is final by reason of statutory provisions.

16. The reasons given by the Post Master General in his correspondence whilst refusing renewal of registration of the petitioner's publication 'Savita'' may now be scrutinised.

17. I do not agree with the contention of the respondents that in connection with the consideration of that question I am bound to also examine the contentions raised by the respondents in the affidavit in reply which travel beyond the grounds mentioned in the correspondence. The refusal to renew registration is based on stated grounds. If those grounds are found to be mala fide, arbitrary and capricious or extraneous the respondents would have to reconsider the question of renewal of registration according to law.

18. The grounds found in the correspondence which is annexed as Ex. C to the petition for refusal to renew registration are as follows:

'Registration .....is withdrawn ..... as your publication does not conform to clause 74 of Post and Telegraph Guide inasmuch as the same is mostly devoted to short stories which cannot be termed as news or as articles relating thereto within the meaning of Section 9 of the Indian Post Office Act.' This was the ground mentioned in the letter dated November 30th, 1957. Clause 74 of Guide reproduces section 9 of the Indian Post Office Act. As regards this ground Mr. Shah, the learned counsel for the petitioner contends that the Post Master General did not apply his mind at all to the facts in question. He contends that the short stories in his magazine are articles relating to current topics and that his magazine also contains in some part news. The Post Master General having failed to consider the question of 'articles relating to current topics' and the question of newspapers containing short stories as containing articles relating to current topics and in some parts news failed in his statutory dutv to consider the case ot the petitioner in correct light. There is some force in this contention. It is true that under the provisions of Sub-section (2) of Seq. 9 any periodical which in great part contains news is a newspaper. It is however not true as appears to have been assumed by the Post Master General that the words 'great part' in that section are related to or are connected with the words 'of articles relating therein or to other current topics'. The relevant words in the section are 'every publication, consisting wholly or in great part of political or other news, or of articles relating thereto, or to other current topics'. The last words 'of articles relating thereto' and 'or to other current topics' directly go with the words contained in the previous part of the section. These words do not have any connection with the words 'great part' because the intervening word 'or' alter the words 'other news' appears to me to be disjunctive and not conjunctive. If it was conjunctive, the word 'of' before the words 'articles relating thereto or to other current topics' would seem, to be redundant and inappropriate. The true construction therefore of Sub-section (2) of Section 9 is that every publication containing the articles relating to news or articles relating to other current topices even though such articles are not contained in such publication in great part would be newspapers within the meaning of this Sub-section. The Post Master General was obviously wrong in the matter of ground mentioned in the letter dated November 30th, 1957 because he appears to have decided that a publication to be a newspaper within the meaning of Subsection (2) of Section 9 must contain in great part articles relating to news. I do not think that a publication which contains articles relating to news in small part is not a newspaper. The Post Master General also entirely failed to consider a short story as article relating to current topic. It is relevant to point out that an article is defined in the dictionaries as 'literary composition' and that a short story would be certainly a literary composition. Whether short stories are articles or 'literary composition' relating to current topics is a question which the Post Master General would have to decide.

19. By his letter dated January 3rd 1958 the Post Master General informed the petitioner that a registered newspaper should contain more than 50 per cent news or articles relating to news or current topics as per clause 74 of Post and Telegraph Guide and that the renewal of registration of the petitioner's publication could only be considered when his publication complied with that condition. As I have already observed in the matter ot articles relating to news or to other current topics, the words 'great part' in Sub-section (2) of Sec, 9 arc not applicable. Tho Post Master General's contention in that letter that 50 per cent of the publication must contain news and articles as aforesaid in my opinion is contrary to the provisions and/or definition of newspaper in Sub-section (2) of Section 9 and wrong.

20. By his letter dated January 30th, 1958 the Post Master General refused to renew the registration on the ground that the petitioner's publication did not comply with the provisions of clause 74 of Post and Teleeraph Guide inasmuch as the same devoted major portion of its space to short stories which could not be termed news or articles or current topics within the meaning of Section 9 of the Act. The Post Master General does not say that the remaining portion of the publication of the petitioner as contrasted with the major portion thereof does not contain news or articles relating to news or current topics. The Post Master General obviously intended by his letter to mean that a great part ot the publication of the petitioner must contain news or articles relating thereto or relating to other current topics and that if a smaller portion of the petitioner's publication contained news or articles relating thereto or to other current topics, the same would not be a newspaper within the meaning of Section 9(2). As I have already indicated that the words 'great part' do not relate to articles at all and the Post Master General has not held that the smaller portion ot the publication of the petitioner does not contain articles relating to news or other current topics. Having regard to the true construction of Sub-section (2) of Section 9 as indicated above, I am of the view that the Post Master General was not entitled to hold that the petitioner's publication was not a news-paper within the meaning of Sub-section (2) of Section 9 for the reasons indicated in the letter dated January 30th, 1958. If the Post Master General had in that letter stated that no portion of the petitioner's publication contained articles relating to news or to other current topics, I would have at once agreed with him that the petitioner's publication could not be described as newspaper which should be registered under the provisions of Section 9.

21. I have dealt with all the grounds mentioned in the letters addressed by the Post Master General. I have not been able to find that the grounds given by him are extraneous to the purpose of the Act and/or the rules. Though to my mind the decision of the Post Master General as appearing in the aforesaid grounds is erroneous, that does not in law entitle me to interfere with his decision and/or give direction that the same should be reconsidered.

22. The question that remains to be considered is whether the decision of the Post Master Genera) is malicious and discriminatory as contended by the petitioner. There is no evidence of malice of any kind in this case. There is also no evidence of discrimination. The Post Master General has in his affidavit in reply rightly pointed out that he has reconsidered the question of refusal of registration of several of the publications referred to in the petition on the grounds simitar to the grounds mentioned in the correspondence with the petitioner. That some of the periodicals which might be described as short story magazines are registered newspapers cannot mean that the action of the Post Master General is discriminatory. Again executive discrimination cannot at all form ground of attack and/Or justify the Court of law to interfere.

23. Mr. Shah for the petitioner has contended that the right to concessional rates as arising under the provisions of the Indian Post Office Act and the Rules made thereunder is a fundamental right and that the denial by the Post Master General to renew the registration of the petitioner's periodicals is a violation of`cle 19 of the Constitution. That the said right being fundamental right, the Post Master General has no discretion at all to refuse to renew registration of the petitioner's periodicals. 1 have no doubt that there is no question of any fundamental right involved in the petitioner's case and I cannot therefore accept the contention made by Mr. Shah. Mr. Shah has also contended that he was entitled to a hearing before his application was dismissed and that in the matter of refusal to renew registration of the petitioner's periodical, principles of natural justice have not been observed and therefore also this Court should interfere in the matter. Mr. Shah in that connection has relied upon the word 'enquiries' as contained in Sub-rule (3) of Pule 30. I have carefully read this rule. The 'enquiries' referred to in the rules are with reference to the subjective satisfaction of the Post Master General and/or other officer that the provisions oi Sub-section (2) of Section 9 are fulfilled. These enquiries are made departmentally and for satisfaction of the authorities. The applicant may be called upon to give such information as required. The Rules, however do not give any right to a hearing or to any notice of a hearing. In a matter left to be determined by executive discretion and satisfaction there is no question of principles of natural justice being observed. The petitioner was not entitled to any show cause or other notice as regards the enquiries contemplated by the rules. I therefore do not accept the contention of Mr. Shah in that connection.

24. Mr. Shah has also contended that the short stories as literary compositions relate to current topics. Mr. Sorabji has pointed out from the affidavit in reply that the Post Master General's contention is that the petitioner's Publication consists of romantic fiction not relating to current topics. It is not for me to go into the facts and/or to ascertain the correctness of these contentions of the petitioner and the respondents. I however must observe that it cannot be a general proposition that romantic fiction would not relate to current topics.

25. Mr. Shah has also contended that the statutory right to concessional rates for transmission con- ferred by the sections of the Act could not be deprived of by the Rules made under the Act, viz., by providing in the rules for the decision of the whole of that right by an executive authority. The right of the petitioner to get his publications regis- tered as newspapers does not only arise under the sections but also under these rules. No reliance is placed on any authority for the proposition that in the event of statutory rules making provisions for final determination of statutory rights by executive authority the statutory rules should be held ultra vires or illegal or invalid. I do not appreciate the contention that the decision of rights arising under a statute cannot be left to the subjective satisfaction of executive authority as has been done in this case. I therefore negative the contention of the petitioner in that connection. Mr. Shah has, relying upon the case in : AIR1957All662 , contended that having once received registration in part, the petitioner is entitled to a renewal of registration in respect of his publication. He says that the only right which the Post Master General has is to examine the facts regarding the two conditions in the ultimate part of Sub-section (2) of Section 9 being satisfied as the conditions mentioned in Rule 30(1) and (2) being satisfied. He says that it was decided in 1950 and continuously thereafter that the petitioner's publication is a newspaper entitled to regis-tralion, . He says that the question cannot be reconsidered by the Post Master General. The decision in the Allahabad case was made because of the language of the Rules as existing prior to the amendment made in September 1957 as I have already indicated above. The provisions of the Rules have since been amended, the present language of the Rules as already quoted above in fact provides for satisfaction of the Post Master General even in the case of application's for renewal of registration. I do not agree that the executive authority has no discretion to refuse renewal of registration if it comes to the conclusion that the provisions of Subsection (2) of section 9 are not fulfilled.

26. Mr. Shah has hesitatingly contended that it the Rules gave any power to executive authority to set at naught the statutory right of the petitioner to concessional rates, then to that extent the Rules should be held ultra vires the Statute. Mr, Sorabji contends that if the Rules are ultra vires the statute the petitioner could have no cause of action at all. I cannot accept the contention of the petitioner that the Rule providing for subjective satisfaction of the Post Master General regarding a publication being 'a newspaper' in any way violates statutory rights of the petitioner and that contention of the petitioner must be negatived. The petitioner's contention that the question before the executive authority is a nuestion to be decided judicially is equally untenable.

27. I am bound to point out that Mr. Shah has relied upon the case of United States Supreme Court Reports, (1945) 90 Law Ed 586. The judgment in that case no doubt throws great light on the question of objects for which concessional rates are provided to newspapers and periodicals. In that case however there is no proposition of law which can be usefully applied to the facts before me.

28. Mr. Sorabji has rightly contended that the decision of the Post Master General in this case is purely administrative and ministerial and the petitioner is not entitled to any writ of mandamus unless the decision is extraneous to the purpose of the Act. He also says that there is no duty cast on the executive authority to act judicially and the contentions of the petitioner in that connection are not tenable. Mr. Sorabji has in that connection drawn my attention to the cases of Province of Bombay v. Khushaldas S. Advani : [1950]1SCR621 , and Nathubhai Dhulafi v. Municipal Corporation, Bombay : AIR1959Bom332 .

29. The petition is in the circumstances dismissed with costs and rule discharged.

Mr. Sorabji has asked for costs in excess of fixed scale. I have however refused that application.

30. Petition dismissed.


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