1. This is an application for the issue of writ of mandamus directing the respondent to act according to law by ignoring the amendatory Act V of 1960 and the Rules made thereunder.
2. The relevant facts are. They contend that they are the document writers. They contend that Section 69 (bb) of the Act is ultra vires and the rules made thereunder cannot be given effect to. Their further contention is that the petitioners have been carrying on their profession as Document Writers since a long time. They could not have, therefore been subjected to the tests which the rules prescribe. It is also contended that the rules are unreasonable.
3. The petition is resisted by the respondent. Section 69 of the Registration Act has been amended by the Indian Registration (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) Act V of 1960 on 16th February, 1960. The following clause has been added:
'(bb) Providing for the grant of licences to document writers. the revocation of such licences, the terms and conditions subject to which the authority by whom, such licences shall be granted the exemption of any class of document writers from the licensing provisions and the conditions subject to which such exemption shall be granted and generally for all purposes connected with the writing of documents to be presented for registration.'
It is under this rule-making provision that some of the rules have been made. R. 210 prescribes the tests for the document writers. It states that they should pass the test in Registration Act, Transfer of Property Act, Stamp ACT and a standard book on conveyance. Rule 199 (4) however prescribes that any person who proves to the satisfaction of the licensing authority that he is well conversant with the preparation of deeds of conveyance etc. and has been in continuous practice as a document writer in the territories of the State of Andhra Pradesh for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding the date on which these rules come into force subject, however, to the condition that he secures a pass in the 'document writers' licensing test' prescribed in Rule 210(1) within a period of two years from the date of issue of a licence to him. There is a proviso attached to this rule which says that :
'The Inspector General of Registration and Stamps may in appropriate cases and on the recommendation of the District Registrar exempt any person or class of persons from the provisions of this rule' Rule 203 prescribes the fees categorising these document writers into three classes and prescribes the fee of Rs. 50 Rs. 75, and Rs. 100 for the grant of the first licence and Rs. 10 Rs. 15 and Rs. 20 for renewal in the second or any part of the succeeding calendar year. Rule 207 and Rule 214 relate to the maintenance of registration and supervision.
4. In so far as the first contention is concerned that the State Legislature could not have amended Section 69, it was realised by the learned advocate for the petitioners that in view of entry NO. 6 of the concurrent list, the State Legislature has necessary powers to make amendments in the Act. Therefore, he has not seriously pursued this point further, it is not, therefore, necessary to consider whether entry No. 26 is also attracted to such a case.
5. The next question that the tests prescribed are unreasonable has very little substance. The document writers ought to know that the Registration Act and Stamp Act and the Transfer of Property Act and a standard book on conveyance are the minimum requirements of an efficient document writer and if they do not conform with these minimum requirements of an efficient document writer I fail to see how they could be able to draft a document. No one can draft a document unless he has the necessary minimum knowledge of these four Acts. A defectively drafted document has very serious repercussions. I do not, therefore, think that Rule 210 in prescribing the tests has overstepped the limit of reasonableness. In fact, apart from these things the up to date knowledge of case law on these laws also may be necessary for these document writers although it is not prescribed. I am not, therefore, impressed with the argument that Rule 210 being unreasonable should be struck down. I am also doubtful on the ground of reasonableness whether Rule 210 could be struck down.
6. It was then contended that Rule 199 also is not reasonable and affect those who are already in the field. Rule 199(4) gives protection to such people only if they are conversant with the order of document writing and they satisfy the licensing authority and give an undertaking that they would complete the 'document writers' licensing test' within two years from the date of issue of a licence to them. There is also a provision that the Inspector General of Stamps on the recommendation of the District Registrar exempt any person or class of persons from the provisions of that rule. I, therefore, think that Rule 199 takes a liberal view of those who are already working in the field. If they claim that they are conversant with all these laws, they would certainly be exempted. They may, therefore, approach the authorities concerned and seek exemption. I do not therefore, consider that Rule 199 in any manner imposes as unreasonable restriction upon those who are carrying on the profession of document writers.
7. There is no force also in the contention that the fees prescribed in Rule 203 is a tax and not a fee. It cannot be doubted that in order to regulate this profession and to carry out the supervision some standard would be required and expenditure is involved. The fees prescribed for the grant of licence and for renewal cannot by any stretch of argument be said to be heavy. No data was furnished to say that the fee prescribed is out of proportion with the expenses which are involved in maintaining the registers work. Rule 203, therefore, cannot be said to suffer from any vice.
8. Since no other argument was advanced the petition must fail and is hereby dismissed. In the circumstances of the case I make no order as to costs.
9. Petition dismissed.