1. [His Lordship, after dealing with the facts of the case, proceeded :] It was further urged that it is only the inhabitants of the area who are to be subjected to a collective fine under Section 6(1) of the Act. The petitioner was no doubt living on the upper floor of the building in which the hotel and the pan-shop were situate but so far as Mahomed Aiya the alleged owner of the pan-shop was concerned, he was not staying in that building but in a room which was obtained on a lease in a building at Bapty Road or 1st Kamathipura Lane, whatever the locality may be, and therefore he certainly was not an inhabitant of that area, and the collective fine which was imposed on the petitioner an inhabitant of the area and Mahomed Aiya who was not an inhabitant of the area could not be justified under the terras of Section 6(2) of the Act. It was contended that in order to be an inhabitant of the area one has to be a permanent resident in that area. The learned Advocate General, however, pointed out that the word 'inhabitant' as used in this context did not mean a permanent resident in that locality but meant an occupant or a person who was carrying on business in that particular locality having regard to the provisions of the collective fine enacted in the Act. He drew my attention to a case in Leigh v. Chapman 2 Saunders' Rep., Part 2, p. 422 (f) in which an occupier of land within a hundred, was held to be an inhabitant within the statutes of Hue and Cry, although he had neither a house nor lodges there. I find in the foot-note at p. 423 (e) of this report a passage which is very instructive on this point. After referring to several cases which illustrated the meaning of the word 'inhabitant', the note proceeds to say that the word cannot be said to have any fixed meaning, but must be taken according to the subject-matter. The authority for this proposition is The King v. Mashiter (1837) A. & E. 153 and the judgment of Littledale J. which is reported there. It runs as follows (p. 165) :
It is difficult to assign a meaning to the word 'inhabitants'. Under the Statute of Bridges it means persons holding lands in the county. In the grant of a way over a field to church it would extend to all persons in the parish. It must be taken according to the subject-matter, and be explained, as circumstances allow, sometimes by usage, sometimes by the context or object of a charter. It cannot be said to have any fixed meaning. It ought, therefore, to have been shewn, on this application, who, beyond tenants, were meant by the words 'tenants and inhabitants.' It might be lodgers, inmates, servants, or, perhaps, other descriptions or persons. Those who rely upon the term ought to have shewn what was the character of: those whom they seek to introduce under it.
2. Having regard to these observations, I am of opinion that the word 'inhabitant' as used in this context of the Act, Bombay Public Security Measures Act, 1947, is not used in the sense of residents of that locality or permanent residents thereof, but in the sense of the persons who are besides being permanent residents also the occupants in the sense of carrying on business of the nature which I have before me. If that is the true construction, the result will be that if Mahomed Aiya be proved to be the owner of the pan-shop, he would be an inhabitant within this area along with the petitioner who admittedly had a dwelling house on the upper floor of the building in which the hotel as well as the pan-shop were situate.
3. [After dealing with the facts of the case, the judgment concluded : J I have come to the conclusion that the petitioner has failed to establish what was incumbent upon him to do in order to succeed in view of the collective fine receipt which he produced that he was at all material times the owner of the hotel as well as the pan-shop.
4. The result, therefore, will be that the collective fine order would be valid and legal and passed in accordance with the provisions of Section (1) of the Act and the petitioner is not entitled to any relief in respect of the same as prayed for by him. The petition will, therefore, be dismissed.
5. As regards costs, the petitioner came to the Court on two counts, (1) the collective line order and (2) the suspension of the license order. As I have stated before in my judgment, counsel for the petitioner very wisely did not press that that order was wrong and did not take up unnecessary time of the Court in order to justify the stand which he had taken in the petition. So far as that order is concerned, therefore, without anything more I would say that there should be no order as to costs of and occasioned by reason of putting that order of suspension of the license in issue between the parties. The petitioner would no doubt be liable to pay the costs of the petition in so Car as he canvassed the legality of the order as to collective fine which was imposed on him by respondent No. 1. The fairest order, therefore, in my opinion, would be that the petitioner should pay to the respondent one-half of the costs of this petition.