1. This is an application under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution for quashing an order dated 20th November 1963 of the Excise Commissioner, Madhya Pradesh, and an order dated 28th November 1963 of the Collector, East Nimar, Khandwa, rejecting the petitioner's application for the grant of a permit for possession of two tolas of Ganja per month. The petitioner also prays that a direction be issued to the opponents to consider and dispose of according to law his application for the grant of a permit.
2. Having heard learned counsel for the parties we have reached the conclusion that this application must be granted. By his order dated 28th November 1963 the Collector simply informed the applicant that according to an order dated 20th November 1963 of the Excise Commissioner the permit applied for by him could not be granted. The Commissioner rejected the application for the grant of a permit by observing;
'There being no provision for grant of permit to Ganja addicts, no such permit can be granted to Shri Sampat Rao Pawaji.'
3. The matter of possession of intoxicants, which includes Ganga, is regulated by Section 16 of the Madhya Pradesh Excise; Act, 1915. The first sub-section of Section 16 gives to the Government the power to prescribe by notification a limit of quantity for the possession of any intoxicant. The next sub-section deals with the circumstances and terms under which a person can have in his possession any quantity of any intoxicant in excess of the limit prescribed under Sub-section (1). The third sub-section excludes certain foreign liquor from the purview of Sub-section (2). The last subsection says that notwithstanding anything contained in any of the earlier sub-sections, the State Government may, by notification, 'prohibit the possession by any person or class of persons, either in the State or in any specified area, of any intoxicant, either absolutely, or subject to such conditions as it may prescribe.'
4. It is clear from the above provisions that while dealing with the petitioner's application for the grant of a permit for Ganja what the respondents Nos. 1 and 2 were required to consider was:
(1) Whether the Government had prescribed a limit of quantity of Ganja that could bo possessed by a person;
(2) Whether the Government had laid down under Sub-section (2) the terms- and conditions under which a person could possess Ganja in excess of the limit, prescribed, if any, under Sub-section (1); or
(3) Whether the Government had issued a notification in terms of Sub-section (4) prohibiting absolutely or subject to certain conditions the possession of Ganga by any person or class of persons residing in Khandwa from where the petitioner hails.
In connection with these questions, the aforesaid authorities had to consider the Ganja and Bhang Rules made under the Excise Act as also the effect of Part-B and Part-D of Notification dated 4th July 1959 (published in the M. P. Gazette of 31st July 1959) issued by the Government under the Excise Act, 1915, in so far as they related to the possession of Ganja. Instead of deciding the matter with reference to the aforesaid provisions, the Commissioner rejected the petitioner's application solely on the ground that there was no provision for the grant of permit to a Ganja addict. We have not been able to find any provision in the Act or the Rule's or in the Notification referred to above that a Ganja addict is not entitled at all to any permit. The rejection by the Excise Commissioner of the petitioner's application was thus on an altogether extraneous ground and without giving any consideration whatsoever to the relevant provisions of the Act and the Rules and the Notification regulating the matter.
5. For these reasons, this application is allowed. The order dated 20th November 1963 of theExcise Commissioner rejecting the petitioner's application, which was communicated to him by theCollector by his letter dated 28th November 1963,is quashed. The Excise Commissioner is directedto entertain and dispose of the petitioner's application for the grant of a permit in accordancewith law. In the circumstances of the case, we makeno order about costs, The outstanding amount ofthe security deposit shall be refunded to the petitioner.