1. This is an appeal against an acquittal. The charge against the accused, Nanjappa Pillai was under Section 21 of the Abkari Act that he sold liquor without being licensed.
2. The facts are briefly these--Nanjappa's own license was cancelled for some breach of the regulations. He then put forward one Maktem as a proper person to be licensed for the shop in which he himself had been vending. Maktem was duly approved and licensed by the Collector under Section 8 of the Act, and under cover of that license Nanjappa has been continuing his old business, paying Maktem a certain sum monthly. The accused was convicted by the First-class Magistrate, but this conviction has been reversed by the Court of Session.
3. The argument relied on by Government is briefly this : that although a licensed vendor may undoubtedly conduct his business by an agent, Nanjappa cannot be regarded as Maktem's agent so as to take advantage of Maktem's license. The view of the Sessions Judge is that the Collector is estopped by his own license and cannot inquire into the private arrangements between the licensee and the person conducting the business.
4. We are of opinion that the Sessions Judge has come to a right conclusion.
5. It is Section 8 of the Act which provides for the taking out of a license. 'Every person placed...in charge of a shop...shall first sign an engagement containing such conditions as the Board may prescribe.' One copy shall be deposited with the Collector, who shall thereon issue a license to the person in charge of such shop. The other and the license shall be fixed up in a conspicuous place in the shop. In this case the Collector accepted Maktem as a proper person to be in charge of, and responsible to himself for the shop in question, and it has not been alleged that he has not stuck up his license in the shop. He is at all events the licensed vendor for that particular shop, and he seems to work in the shop. In our judgment his license covers sales which may be conducted in the shop by any person whom he allows to sell on his own responsibility, and, in the words of the Sessions Judge, it is not open to the Collector to inquire into the private arrangements which he, the licensee, may make with such person. It was suggested by Mr. Government Pleader that, if this arrangement could be upheld, any person might trade in liquor under cover of a license fraudulently taken out in the name of a deceased or fictitious personage; but it is unnecessary to consider such a case: we cannot suppose that the Revenue officials would issue a license in the name of a non-existent person.
6. We therefore dismiss this appeal.