1. The petitioner in the above revision petition is the proprietor of Seethalakshmi Mills at Mohanur within the limits of the Pancha-yat Board of Mohanur. He owns and runs a 20 H. P. motor. When he applied for renewal of his licence to use the place for the purpose specified in Schedule VII of the Madras Local Boards Act, under Section 193 of that Act, a sum of Rs. 50 was demanded from him towards licence fees, though the licence fee according to the rates already published was Rs. 25 in cases where a machine of 20 H. P. was installed. The addition levy of Rs. 25 was sought to be justified by the Panchayat Board on the ground that the plaintiff should pay separately at Rs. 25 for each of the purposes for which he put the motor to use namely, rice hulling and decorticating groundnuts. The plaintiff paid that amount under protest and filed the suit for the recovery of the excess fee of Rs. 25 paid by him. His case is that he is liable to pay only one fee of Rs. 25 for running a 20 H. P. motor irrespective of the uses to which he may put the motor.
2. The defendant Board alleged that when the plaintiff was originally granted a licence he was using his electric motor of 20 H. P. only for purposes of running a rice huller and that subsequently the plaintiff installed a disintegrator in the same premises in 1947 and the defendant Board levied an additional licence fee for running the decorticator for the year 1947-48 and collected the same. The further contention of the Board was that the Board was authorised to levy additional fee for using the motor for additional purposes though the horse power of that may not change. They sought support for their action in two Government Orders, Nos. 1570 and 40 dated 13th June 1945 and 4th January 1945 respectively.
3. The learned District Munsiff of Namakkal dismissed the suit on the footing that the Panchayat Board was right in collecting additional fee of Rs. 25 mainly relying upon the instructions issued by the Government in the Government Order, dated 13th June 1945. The material portion of that Government Order is as follows:
'If the machine Installed in the same premises are for different Industrial purposes, a separate licence should be Insisted upon in respect of each of the machines and fees charged for the licence according to the rates fixed.'
Presumably, the licence and fees referred to in this passage relate to the licence issued under Section 193 of the Local Boards Act. They cannot refer to the permission granted under Section 194 for which there cannot be a recurring levy of any fee.
4. Under Section 193 of the Act a Panchayat may notify that no place within the limits of the village shall be used for any one or more of the purposes specified in Schedule VII without a licence issued by the executive authority of the Panchayat Board and except in accordance with the conditions specified in such licence. It is obvious from the plain language of the section that in respect of any one place, only one licence is contemplated though that place may be used for one or more of the purposes specified in schedule VII. One of such purposes mentioned in the schedule is 'using for any Industrial purpose any fuel or machinery.' Under Section 212, Sub-section (2) of the same Act for everylicence issued by the Board fees may be chargedat such rates as may be fixed by the Board. It is not disputed that the rate so fixed when the machinery installed is one not exceeding 20 H. p. is Rs, 25, Reading Section 193 (1) and 212 (2) and the rates published originally by the Board it appears to be clear that the licence fee for a Place used for any of the purposes specified in Schedule VII can be when the machinery installed is an electric motor of 20 H. P. is only Rs. 25. What the Panchayat Board appears to have thought is that they were entitled, if with the help of the same electric motor more than one machine was being run in the same premises to charge separate license fee at the rate of Rs. 25, for each of the purposes though or all these purposes the same motor was being used. This is what they declared in their Resolution Ex. B. 2.
5. It has been pointed out time and again that the licence fees which the Local Boards are permitted to levy are not intended to augment the revenues of the Board and that their real purpose ;was to defray the expenses of the Board for supervising the places for which the licence were granted. Under Section 193 it is the place that has got to be licensed and for one place there can be only one licence, whether that place is being used for one or more purposes, specified In Schedule VII. In any event, as the schedule of rates stands, the Panchayat Board would be not be entitled to levy an additional fee as if for a separate licence in respect of the same place.
6. The revision petition is allowed and the plaintiff's suit is decreed with costs. The petitioner will have his costs of the revision petition.