1. This writ petition has to be allowed. The petitioner is the sole proprietor of S. N. Sundaram and Co., and has a wholesale licence to trade in paddy and rice. On 3-10-1970 he is said to have received 105 bags of rice from Tirunelveli and as he had no accommodation is his shop he unloaded it in the premises of Smt. Arunachalammal his brother's wife. According to him, he intimated the fact of the said unloading at the above premises to the concerned authority as it is obligatory on his part to do so under one of the conditions of the licence. At about 4 p. m. on 3-10-1970 the Circle Inspector of Police of the region inspected the shop and under the guise of exercising power under Rule 14 of the Tamil Nadu Paddy and Rice Dealers Licensing and Regulation Order, 1968, he seized certain quantity of paddy in the shop of the premises, some other bags at his residence and the 105 bags referred to above at the brother's wife's house. The reason given was that the petitioner was unauthorisedly keeping excess quantity of rice both in his shop and in his house and the 105 bags of rice were kept in an unauthorised godown. In spite of the explanation given by the petitioner to the seizing authority and seizure was effected. The petitioner is aggrieved against the said act of seizure made by the first respondent and he has come up with an application for the issue of a writ of Mandamus directing the respondents to return the bags of rice seized. The second respondent is the District Collector, Kanyakumari, in whose custody apparently the goods are.
2. In the counter-affidavit it is not in dispute that neither a warrant for such a seizure nor the procedure contemplated in Ss. 102 and 103 of the Criminal Procedure Code were availed of and followed, but the action is sought to be sustained on the facts and merits.
3. In the identical circumstances in W.P. No. 3120 of 1969 = (reported in AIR 1971 Mad 275). M.S.M. Mangudi v. State of Tamil Nadu, I held that as the police who effected the seizure were not armed with a warrant under Section 102 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and as the mahazar was not prepared in connection with such seizure in accordance with Section 103, Criminal Procedure Code, and as such a procedure as prescribed under the very rule from which the seizing authority drew the requisite power to seize the entire process of seizure is vitiated. Following the decision as above and without adverting to the merits as contended by the respective parties before me, the rule has to be made absolute as the seizure is illegal. The writ petition is therefore allowed. There will be no order as to costs.
4. There will be a direction to the respondents to return the rice to the petitioner within six weeks from this date. It is open to the respondents, however, to take such steps as are authorised under the order if there is otherwise a violation of the same.