1. The petitioner has been fined Rs. 76 under Section 287, Madras City Municipal Act (IV of 1919), read with Section 357. It is found that he is liable to pay a license fee of Rs. 50 for storage of oil on his premises, and Rs. 25 for a fifth press. Apparent, the demand for the fifth press was not disputed.
2. By the wording of the statute it is clear that for the use of premises for any purpose specified in Sch. VI the owner must under Section 287 apply for a license. He cannot get a license for manufacturing oil, and then pack or store it without a license. But it is obviously inequitable to charge a person the same fee for manufacturing and packing or storing. This point was raised before the Standing Committee of the Municipal Council, and on 12th September, 1923, it resolved that no separate license is necessary for each process in respect of the same article: Ex. I. What is probably meant was that no separate fee is necessary, for under Section 287(3) a license is obligatory.
3. In these circumstances the present prosecution is difficult to understand. When confronted with Ex. I the Assistant Revenue Officer P.W. 1 merely said that he was not aware of it, and the learned Presidency Magistrate ignores it altogether. The right fine would therefore seem to be Rs. 26. This is not a question of law, but a mere matter of Municipal routine; and the resort to the Courts for what should be done in the office is strongly to be deprecated. When the matter does get to the Court, however the Court should read the exhibits and not merely issue a summary, ukase.
4. The fine is reduced by Rs. 50.