1. Since the points involved in all these petitions are the same, they are dealt with together.
2. As the facts in all the cases are substantially the same, it is enough if we deal with the facts in the first case, that is, W.P. 465 of 1978. The petitioner in W.P. No. 465 of 1978 is one Satish Mazumdar. who has adopted the affidavit filed by one N. S. Mani in W.Ps. 463 and 464 of 1978 which have already been disposed of by one of us on 9-2-1978. The petitioner in W.P. 465 of 1978 was a holder of liquor permit issued by the State of Tamil Nadu since September 1974 and that permit expired on 20-1-1978. On 3-2-1978, he applied for the renewal of the said permit in accordance with the Madras Liquor (Licence and Permit) Rules 1960, hereinafter referred to as the rules, in the prescribed form. Just before the renewal application was filed, certain modifications were effected in the said rules by G. O. Ms. 3495 Home dated 31-12-1977 published on 1-1-1978. Rule 10(B)(1) of the Rules relating to the grant of permits on grounds of health was substantially altered. Under the new rule--
(1) Only persons who are 45 years of age and above on the date of the application can apply for permits to consume liquor on grounds of health, and (2) Every applicant shall be examined by a Medical Board consisting of the Dean of the local Medical College, who will be the Chairman, a Psychiatrist and a local Doctor specialising in alcohol cases.
3. The petitioner who was 42 years of age on the date of the application, apprehending that his application for renewal will be rejected on the basis of the rules as amended by G. O. Ms. No. 3495 Home dated 31-12-1977, has approached this court for the issue of a writ declaring the amended rules as void and for mandamus directing the respondents herein to consider and grant the renewal of his permit in accordance with the rules relating to such renewals as they stood before 31-12-1977 on the following three grounds:--
(1) G. O. Ms. N. 3495 Home dated 31-12-1977 which amended the relevant rules with effect from 1-1-1978 is not retrospective in character and, therefore, it cannot apply to pending applications;
(2) that the rules as amended with effect from 1-1-1978 are ultra vires the Prohibition Act in so far as it is intended not to facilitate the grant of personal permit in accordance with the scheme and object of the Act, but to deter persons from applying for or being granted such permits.
(3) That the rules as amended enable the authorities to refuse renewal of liquor permits merely on the ground of age and the classification based on age had no reasonable nexus to the purpose sought to be achieved by the Prohibition Act and that, therefore, the classification based on age violates Arts. 14 and 19(1)(f) of the Constitution.
4. For appreciating the above contentions, it is necessary to trace briefly the history of legislation relating to prohibition in the State of Tamil Nadu. In the year 1936, purporting to exercise legislative power under Entry 31 of List II of the Government of India Act, 1935, the Madras Legislature enacted the Madras Prohibition Act, 1937. The preamble to the said Act stated that it was expedient to bring about prohibition, except for medicinal, scientific, industrial or such like purposes, of production, manufacture, possession, export, transport, purchase, sale and consumption of intoxicating liquors and drug in the State of Madras. In the statement of objects and reasons it is stated--
'The Bill penalises all traffic and consumption of liquor and intoxicating drugs but provides (1) for the exemption of certain articles which may contain alcohol but which the medical profession need for their work, such as, certain forms of cod liver oil and the like, or which may be needed for any industrial or scientific purposes or any purpose other than as a beverage; (2) for permission being granted under licences to medical men and others to deal on prohibited articles, it is necessary for medical,, scientific and industrial purposes etc. (3) for the issue of personal permits to those who, in the opinion of the Government may be specially exempted and permitted to keep and consume liquor; (4) for the issue of licences to existing institutions and clubs to possess liquor and issue it to such of the members as are permitted to consume liquor. It is the intention to use the last two provisions only in favour of bottled foreign liquor and of persons and institutions consisting of persons who by long habit cannot dispense with the use of the same and who are not likely in the opinion of the licensing authority to abuse the concession.'
'Intoxicating drug' and 'liquor' had been defined in Ss. 3(8) and 3(9) of the Act respectively. 'Liquor' is defined in Section 3(9) as including toddy, arrack, spirits of wine, denatured spirits, spirits, wine, beer, and all liquids consisting of or containing alcohol. Sec. 4 prohibited the manufacture of, traffic in, and consumption of liquor and intoxicating drugs. Sec. 16, however, gave power to the State Government to exempt, subject to such conditions as they think fit, any specified liquor or intoxicating drug from the observance of all or any of the provisions of the Act on the ground that such article is required for a medicinal, scientific, industrial or such like purpose. Sec. 18 empowered the State Government or the Collector to issue licences to any person for the manufacture, export, import, transport, sale or possession of any liquor or intoxicating drug on the ground that the same was required by such person for a bona fide medical, scientific or industrial purpose. Sec. 20 provided for the issuance of permits and licences by the Government or any officer empowered by them in that behalf. That section is as follows--
'The State Government or any officer empowered by them in this behalf may issue--
(a) permit authorising any person to consume and possess for personal consumption any liquor or intoxicating drug;
(b) licences to any institution to possess liquor and issue it to such of its members as hold permits under Cl. (a),
(c) licences to any person in charge of a restaurant car attached to a railway train to possess liquor and serve it to bona fide passengers travelling by the train;
(d) licences to any person to possess liquor and issue it to persons or institutions who hold permits or licences under this Act or who have been exempted under this Act from so much of the provisions of Sec. 4, sub-sec. (1), Cl. (a) or (j) as relates to the possession, consumption or buying of liquor'.
Sec. 23 provided for the cancellation of the permits or licences granted for violation of the provisions of the Act or the rules or the conditions of the permit or licence. Sec. 54 authorised the making of rules by the State Government for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of the Act and in particular for the issue of licences and permits and enforcement of the conditions thereof.
5. Madras Liquor Permit (Personal Consumption) Rules,1956, were made to regulate the issue of liquor permits for personal consumption. Rule 4 of these rules provided for the issue of permits to possess and consume liquor on grounds of health on payment of a fee of Rs. 70 payable in two installments of Rs. 20 at the time of the application and Rs. 50 at the time of the issue of the permit. The said rule also provided that any person desiring to possess and consume liquor on grounds of health should apply to the Medical Officer, who should be a Stipendiary Civil Surgeon or a District Medical Officer, for medical certificate in Form B and the Medical Officer may give a medical certificate on completion of the medical examination, if in his opinion a permit may be granted to the applicant. Sub-rule (3) of R. 4 provided for the application along with the medical certificate being sent to the Government. The Government, on receipt of the application along with the medical certificate has to satisfy themselves (i) that the applicant is not a minor, (ii) that the health of the applicant will be seriously and permanently affected if he is not permitted to possess and consume liquor mentioner in the application, and (iii) that the personal circumstances of the applicant justify his being granted a permit and that he is not likely to misuse the permit. If the Government is not satisfied with the bona fide of the medical certificate enclosed along with the application, the applicant concerned may be required to appear before the Director of Medical Services, or his nominee at Madras for a second medical opinion, which second opinion shall be accepted by the Government. If the Government is satisfied that there is no objection, then it will issue a permit on payment of the second installment of the fee of Rupees 50. Sub-rule (6) of Rule 4 provided that no permit shall be granted for a period exceeding that recommended by the Medical Officer and it shall in no case exceed one year at any one time. Sub-rule (7) of Rule 4 requires the holder of a permit desiring to renew the permit to make an application for renewal at least one month before the date of expiry of the permit and the proviso to that sub-rule stated that it shall not be necessary to produce a medical certificate with an application for renewal, unless the holder desire that the quantity of liquor allowed under the permit should be increased.
6. In supersession of the said rules, a fresh set of rules called the Madras Liquor (Licence and Permit) Rules 1960, were issued by G. O. Ms. No. 2462 Home dated 18-8-1960. Chapter III of the said Rules dealt with the grant of personal permits. Rule 10(B)(1) of the said Rules sets out the procedure for the grant of permit on grounds of health and this procedure was practically the same as the one under the 1956 rules referred to above, except that the medical certificate which is to accompany the application for personal permit was to be in for F. P. Mc. This form was substantially the same as the original form B. However, on 29-4-1970 a slight modification was made in that every registered medical, practitioner was authorised to issue a medial certificate in form B at the request of an applicant on payment of the usual fee for medical examination.
7. On 1-9-1971, the operation of the Prohibition Act 1937was suspended by the Tamil Nadu Prohibition (Suspension of Operation) Act, 33 of 1971, with effect from 1-9-1971. Later, the Tamil Nadu Prohibition (Revival of Operation (Amendment)) Act 1974 revived the operation of the Prohibition Act 1937 with effect from 1-9-1974. The said Act of 1974 also brought in certain amendments to the 1937 Act. In the original Act, a new Sec. 24-A was introduced which provided for the auction of the privilege of selling by retail any liquor or article containing any such liquor. Subsequently by Tamil Nadu Act 1 of 1975, the said S. 24-A introduced in 1974 has been repealed and in turn new Ss. 20-A and 20-B were introduced. Sec. 20-A provided for the mattes to be taken into consideration by the licensing authority for granting a permit under the Act. Section 20-B gave preference to Co-operative Societies over every other applicant in the matter of grant of licence under Cl. (d) of S. 20. On 4-5-1977 the Madras Liquor (Licence and Permit) Rules 1960, were amended and those amendments are not of much consequence except that the definition of 'medical officer' who is entitled to give a medical certificate was again give altered so as to apply only to a Stipendiary Civil Surgeon in the service of the State Government or a District medical Officer. By the impugned G O dated 31-12-1977, the 1960 rules were substantially amended and the amendments came into force on 1-1-1978. As per the amended Rule 10(B)(1) a person who is 45 years of age and above can alone apply for a permit to possess and consume liquor on grounds of health and a Medical Committee consisting of the Dean of the Medical College as Chairman and a Psychiatrist and a local doctor specialising in alcohol cases as members has to be constituted for the purpose of granting the medical certificate, and six such committees are to be constituted in each of the following places: Madras, Chingleput, Coimbatore, Madurai, Thanjavur and Tirunelveli. The fee for grant of a permit was fixed at Rs. 130 payable in two installments, of Rs. 30 at the time of the application and Rs. 100 at the time of the grant of permit. Under the amended rules there is no provision for a second medical opinion. It is perhaps due to the fact that a committee consisting of three members of the medical profession headed by a Dean of a local Medical College has been constituted to issue a medical certificate in form F. P. Mc. which was not the case before. It is the latest amendment made in R. 10(B)(1),which brought about two main changes in the existing rules, (i) persons above 45 years of age alone can apply for a permit, and (ii) the applicants must undergo medical examination before a medical board instead of a single medical officer, that is under challenge in these writ petitions.
8. The tenability of the first of the three contentions put forward by the petitioners has been practically accepted by the respondents. The learned Advocate General represented to the court that the renewal applications filed on or before 31-12-1977 will be considered only in the light of the rules which existed prior to that date. Similar statement of the learned Advocate General was recorded by this court on 9-2-1978 in another batch of cases, which is as follows:
'The learned Advocate General states that the case of the petitioner would be considered only in the light of the rules which existed prior to 31-12-1977, this statement is recorded and the writ petitions are ordered in terms of that statement, the applications of the petitioner would be considered on merits'.
The stand taken by the respondents in their counter affidavits is also the same. Therefore, this contention need not detain us any further.
9. As regards the second contention that the provisions of the amended rules are ultra vires the Act, the petitioner's case is that the composition of a medical committee instead of one medical officer for issue of a medical certificate and the cumbersome procedure provided for under the rules as amended practically defeats the object and the scheme of the Act which provides for the grant of a personal permit on grounds of health. It is also contended that the amended Rule 10(B)(1) so far as it enables only those persons who are more than 45 years ago to apply for a permit is contrary to the provisions of the Act as the Act enables all persons irrespective of their age to apply for a liquor permit on grounds of health and that it is not open for the rule-making authority to travel beyond the provisions of the Act and fix a minimum age limit for making applications for the grant of a liquor permit. It has been alleged by almost all the petitioners in these cases that the creation of six medical committees consisting of three doctors each to medically examine all the applicants throughout the State is quite inadequate having regard to the number of applications filed after 1-1-1978, seeking renewals and that even if the medical committees were to work 8 hours a day, without the Dean of the Medical college or the specialists attending to their normal work, at the rate of half an hour per applicant, the Medical Board may not be able to examine all the applicants before the expiry of the permit of which the renewal is sought. According to the petitioners there were 65000 permits throughout the State of which 40000 were in the Madras City alone on 31-12-1977 and in view of the number of applications for renewal, an applicant for a new permit will have to wait as long as 8 years before he is called before the Medical Board for examination. The petitioners also complain that as six medical boards had been created only at six centres and not in all district centres, an applicant will have to travel over 100 miles for being examined by the Medical Board and if he is not examined for some reason on a particular day fixed by the Medical Board, he will have to repeat his visits to the Board. According to the petitioners the cumbersome procedure in the matter of grant of liquor permits on grounds of health introduced by the rule-making authority under the amended rules was only intended to prevent an applicant being granted a permit which he is entitled to get under the Act and that the amended rules which are thus intended to defeat the scheme and object of the Act are ultra vires the Act.
10. With reference to these contentions, the respondents, in their counter affidavit state that the object and scheme of the Act being total prohibition, the grant of permit under Sec. 20 being an exception, it has been rightly made subject to such conditions as are necessary to effectuate the object and the scheme of the Act and the avowed policy contained in Art. 47 of the Constitution, and that as such the amended rules prescribing the conditions for the grant of permit are perfectly valid and quite in accord with the scheme, object and provisions of the Act. As regards the petitioners' allegation that the constitution of six medical boards is quite inadequate for the entire State, it is stated in the counter affidavit that if it is found that the committees constituted are not able to cope up with the number of applications, the Government would constitute more committees to meet the needs. As regards the hardship pointed out by the petitioners in appearing before the Medical Boards constituted under the rules situated at far off places, the counter affidavit points out that the allegation of hardship is not warranted, that the grand of permits under S. 20 being an exception it is open to the Government to impose such conditions as are necessary to have an effective check and that the rules in question which provide for such checks can under no stretch of imagination be attacked on personal ground of hardship, inconvenience etc.
11. Mr. K.K. Venugopal, appearing for some of the petitioners, submits that a rule making authority can make rules to implement only the legislative policy and cannot go behind it with a view to give effect to a policy decision taken by the executive, that a decision has been taken by the State Government to fix the minimum age limit of 45 years for making an application for a liquor permit on grounds of health and to make the provisions for the grant of permit more stringent with a view to see that even people above 45 may not be able to get the liquor permit, and that it is only in pursuance of that policy the rules have been amended. According to him, the preamble to the Prohibition Act 1937 makes it clear that the consumption of liquor for medicinal purposes is not prohibited under that Act. The preamble to the Act is the best guide to find out the scheme and the policy behind the Act. Even Art. 47 of the Constitution which sets out one of the directive principles of the State Policy merely contemplates prohibition of consumption, except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health and, therefore, the consumption of liquor for medicinal purposes was not intended to be completely prohibited at any time, either by the Constitution or by the provisions of the Prohibition Act. While so, the executive has attempted to impose virtually a partial prohibition on the consumption of liquor for medicinal purposes by introducing a minimum age limit for making an application and making the regulatory provisions for the grant of a liquor permit on grounds of health more stringent with a view to substantially, if not altogether, prohibit the grant of liquor permits. It is urged by the learned counsel that as the provision of the Act has facilitated the issue of liquor permits on grounds of health and did not prohibit altogether the grant of such permits, it should be taken that the Act has given a mandate to the rule making authority not to prohibit the consumption of liquor for medicinal purposes and that when the statue is so explicit, it should be taken to be conclusive, both in what it directs as well as what it forbids. According to the learned counsel, therefore, the statute not only forbids consumption of liquor for non-medicinal purposes but also permits the consumption of liquor for medicinal purposes. The learned counsel refers to the following well known passage in Attorney General for Ontario v. Attorney General for Canada, 1912 AC 571
'In the interpretation of a completely self-governing Constitution founded upon a written organic instrument, such as the British North America Act, if the text is explicit the text is conclusive, alike in what it directs and what it forbids.'
In support of his submission that the Prohibition Act should be taken to forbid the rule making authority not to prohibit consumption of liquor for medicinal purposes by imposing such restrictions as will make it impossible for the applicants to get the permits for consumption of liquor on grounds of health. It is pointed out that ever since the commencement of the Prohibition Act, liquor permits were being granted on grounds of health, that though there were slight changes in the procedure for the grant of such permits, still the right to get the permit on grounds of health was not seriously affected or taken away, that even after the Act was revived in 1974, the practice of granting liquor permits on grounds of health continued and that it is only by the amendments made on 31-12-1977, the rule making authority has attempted to go behind the legislative policy of facilitating grant of liquor permits on grounds of health, by making the regulatory provisions stringent and by fixing a minimum age limit for making an application for the grant of such a permit. According to the learned counsel there is a legislative mandate for giving liquor permit for medicinal purposes and the rule making authority which is a delegate of the Legislature can not go behind that mandate and prevent the consumption of alcohol for medicinal purposes. In effect the learned counsel goes to the extent of saying that the Prohibition Act is intended to prohibit consumption of alcohol for non-medicinal purposes and it does not prohibit consumption of alcohol for medicinal purposes.
12. On this aspect, the learned Advocate General appearing for the respondents submits that the Prohibition Act is intended to bring about total prohibition of consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health, that in the process of giving effect to that object of total prohibition, it has to necessarily regulate the consumption of alcohol for medicinal purposes as otherwise in the guise of using alcohol for medicinal purposes one can violate the provisions of the Act with immunity, that alcohol may be used as an ingredient for the manufacture of drugs or as a beverage, that the user of alcohol as an ingredient for medicinal purposes is regulated by one set of rules made under the Act, that in a like manner the user of alcohol as a beverage for medicinal purposes is regulated by the different set of rules, and that it is neither correct nor possible to say that the rule making authority cannot regulate consumption of liquor for medicinal purposes. The learned Advocate General refers to Ss. 4, 18, 20 and 25 and submits that the statute itself gives a mandate to regulate user or consumption of liquor for medicinal purposes and that it is only in purposes (sic) (pursuance?) of such a regulatory and persuasive? granted to the rule making authority under the Act, the rules have been framed. According to the learned Advocate General, once the regulatory power is conceded on the part of the rule making authority, then the rules which are made in exercise of that power cannot be questioned either on the ground of hardship or unreasonableness.
13. The rules regulating the issue of liquor permits on ground of health have been there right from the inception of the Act and it is not the contention of the petitioners that the said rules which provide for such a regulation are contrary to the provisions of the Act. The petitioner's attack is only against the amended R. 10(B)(1) which brought about a change in the existing rules. Thus the question ultimately comes to this: Whether the regulatory provisions contained in the amended R. 10(B)(1) of the Madras Liquor (Licence and Permit) Rules 1960, fall outside the rule making power contained in S. 54 of the Prohibition Act 1937, and as such ultra vires the Act. Sec. 54 of the Act enables the Government to make rules for giving effect to the provisions of the Act and in particular for the issue of licences and permits. In pursuance of that rule making power the State Government framed the 1960 Rules. Those rules originally provided for the examination of the applicant by a Medical Officer on payment of certain fee. That procedure is now modified by virtue of the amendment of the rules brought in on 31-12-1977 and a new procedure of medical examination by a medical board has been introduced. The mere fact that there is an alternation in the personnel who are to give the medical certificate will not make the amended rule ultra vires the Act. The other amendment brought in on 31-12-1977 is fixing a minimum age limit for making an application for a liquor permit on grounds of health. Even before the said amendment, only those persons who are above the age of 18 could make an application for liquor permits under the rules. Now the rule making authority by amending R. 10(B)(1) made all persons below the age of 45 ineligible to make an application. Once the statute vests in the rule making authority the power to regulate the issue of permits, the rule making authority can, in exercise of that regulatory power, decide the class or category of persons who can be considered suitable for the issue of a liquor permit. At this stage, we are not concerned to whether the fixation of age limit violates Arts. 14 or 19 of the Constitution. That question will be dealt with later while dealing with the third contention. We are, at this stage, concerned with the question whether the amended rules are ultra vires the provisions of the Act. On a due consideration of the matter, we are not in a position to say that the amendments brought in by the impugned G.O. on 31-12-1977 are ultra vires the Act. We are not inclined to agree with the learned counsel for the petitioners that the Prohibition Act does not at all deal with the consumption of liquor for medicinal purposes and that the act should be construed, having regard to its preamble, only as dealing with consumption and possession of liquor for non-medicinal purposes. As already stated, S. 20 permits the possession and consumption of liquor only on the basis of a permit or licence issued by the State Government. The statement of objects and reasons set out in the Bill makes it clear that personal permits are intended to be issued only to persons who by long habit cannot dispense with the use of the same. Even assuming for purposes of argument that the Act is intended only to prohibit possession and consumption of liquor for non-medicinal purposes as urged by the petitioners, still an effective enforcement of such a prohibition will not be possible unless the Act or the rules define as to what are medicinal and non-medicinal purposes and who are the persons entitled to consume liquor for medicinal purposes. It is not the case of the petitioners that the rules as amended do not altogether give effect to the provisions of the Act or further its objective. On the other hand, what is stated by them is that the amended rules only give a limited operation of the provisions of the Act, facilitating the grant of liquor permits for medicinal purposes, by extending the privilege, only to persons beyond the age of 45, that the amended rule should not have imposed such a restriction as to age in the matter of an application for a liquor permit and that such a restriction runs counter to the provisions of the Act. We are of the view that this contention cannot be accepted as tenable. The Act nowhere gives an absolute privilege to all persons irrespective of age to get a liquor permit for medicinal purposes. The Act has left it to the rule making authority to decide as to whom and under what conditions a liquor permit is to be granted for medicinal purposes. The rule making authority while making the earlier rule in 1960 had imposed certain conditions and restrictions in the matter of granting liquor permits. It fixed the minimum age limit for application for permit at 18 and provided for medical examination of the applicants by a single doctor. Now the rule making authority had decided to fix the minimum age limit at 45 and to provide for the medical examination of the applicants by a board of three doctors, and in pursuance of that decision suitably amended the rules. So long as the Act itself does not say as to who are entitled to the issue of a liquor permit on grounds of health and on what conditions, and they are left to the rule making authority, it can change the rules from time to time. Merely because the rule making authority has chosen to impose severe and more stringent restrictions than before, it will not mean that it has acted contrary to the provisions of the Act or overstepped its authority as a delegate. It may be that if the rule making authority while making the rules have made a rule that no liquor permits will be granted under S. 20 for medicinal purposes under any circumstances, it can be said to be ultra vires the provisions of the Act. But where the statute itself gives a discretion to the rule making authority to regulate the issue of permits for consumption of liquor, it can enumerate the class of persons who can apply for the permit and the conditions which they have to satisfy for getting the permit. We are not able to construe the provisions of the Prohibition Act as containing a mandate to the licensing authority to give a permit for medicinal purposes and to hold that the said mandate has been violated or disobeyed by the rule making authority by making stringent provisions, which might allegedly inconvenience some.
14. The learned counsel for the petitioners would say that the rule making authority has exceeded its powers as a delegate in two ways. Firstly, it has excluded persons below the age of 45 from applying for a permit and secondly even among the persons above 45 years of age the issue of a permit is restricted to addicts only. According to the petitioners till the impugned amendment of the rules a medical certificate was being granted even to a person who is not an addict on grounds of health, but now after the amendment it is only persons who are addicts and who are above the age of 45 can apply and succeed in getting a permit. The learned Advocate General however submitted that the procedure for getting a liquor permit before the amendment of the rules was somewhat liberal but that does not mean that the rule making authority cannot make the procedure more rigid, strict, stringent and rigorous to strictly enforce prohibition and that so long as the discretion is left to the rule making authority in the matter of issuance of liquor permits, it can lay down its own policy for deciding as to whom the permits are to be given and under what conditions, provided its policy does not conflict with the scheme of the Act. The statement of objects and reasons of the Prohibition Act which has been extracted above on which the petitioners themselves relied seems to suggest that the Legislature has decided to leave the matter of issue of personal permits for consumption of liquor to the Government. Therefore, when the power to exempt is specifically entrusted to the State Government, the State Government can, it its discretion, select persons to whom the exemption is to be granted provided the principle of selection has a reasonable nexus to the object of the Act. The statement of objects and reasons also makes it clear that the intention of the Legislature was to confine the exemption only in respect of bottled foreign liquor and to persons who, by long habit, cannot dispense with the use of the same and whose health is likely to be affected for want of liquor. The amended rule, by restricting the grant of permit to persons above the age of 45 who by long habit cannot dispense with the use of the same, cannot be said to have acted contrary to the said statement of objects and reasons. The question whether the amended rules are ultra vires the provisions of the Act cannot be decided with reference to the earlier unamended rules. It may be that the rule making authority had made provisions for the liberal grant of the permit earlier to all applicants who are above 18 years of age. But later, it has changed its opinion and chosen to confine the exemption only to those who are above 45 years of age and who have become addicts to drink and whose health is likely to suffer for want of liquor. In these circumstances, we are not in a position to say that the amended rules are ultra vires the provisions of the Act.
15. Then we come to the third contention which is based on the violation of Arts. 14 and 19(1)(f). The petitioners' case is that liquor as defined in the Prohibition Act is properly protected by Art. 19(1)(f) and hence a citizen is entitled to possess and consume it subject to reasonable restrictions permitted by Art. 19(5). Reliance is placed on the decision of the Supreme Court in State of Bombay v. F. N. Balsara, AIR 1951 SC 318. In that case, the constitutional validity of the Bombay Prohibition Act 1949 was challenged. The Supreme Court held that to the extent to which the Bombay prohibition Act prevents the possession, use and consumption of non-beverages and medicinal and toilet preparations containing alcohol for legitimate purposes, the provisions are void as offending Art. 19(1)(f),even though they may be within the legislative competence of the Provincial Legislature. There the court dealt with the consumption of non-beverages and medicinal and toilet preparations containing alcohol for legitimate purposes, and it was not dealing with the consumption of alcohol as a beverage. As a matter of fact, in the case before the Supreme Court, it has not been disputed that the restrictions imposed by the Bombay Prohibition Act on the rights of a citizen to possess and consume methylated spirits of wine, beer and toddy are in view of the directive principles of the State Policy set forth in Article 47 of the Constitution quite reasonable, and the court was asked to consider the reasonableness of the provisions of the Bombay Act only with reference to liquids consisting of or containing alcohol which are normally and ordinarily used as toilets or medicinal preparations. As pointed out in that case when judging the reasonableness of the restriction imposed by the Act one has to bear in mind the directive principles of the State Policy set forth in Article 47 under which the State is charged with the duty of bringing about a prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health. The above decision does not support the stand taken by the petitioners that every citizen has got a right to possess and consume liquor as beverage and the restrictions imposed on such a right are not reasonable restrictions. On the other hand the said decision proceeds on the basis that the citizen's right to possess and consume liquor as a beverage can be subjected to reasonable restrictions in view of Art. 47.
16.The learned counsel for the petitioners would submit that Art. 47 itself provides an exception in the case of consumption of intoxicating drinks or drugs for medicinal purposes and as such their use as medicine must be permitted and not prohibited by the Act or the rules, that inasmuch as the amended Rule 10 prohibits consumption of liquor by persons below the age of 45 even for medicinal purposes far from implementing Art. 47 is in direct violation thereof, and that, therefore, as no public interest can possibly be served by prohibiting medicinal use of alcohol, the amended rule cannot be taken to have been saved by Art. 19(5). Art. 47 uses the expression 'except for medicinal purposes'. The words 'medicinal purposes' seem to contemplate the user of liquor for making medicinal preparations and do not contemplate the free use of intoxicating drinks as medicine. The learned counsel for the petitioners would say that the Constitution makers expressly recognised the consumption of alcohol for medicinal purposes and provided it as an exception in Art. 47, and, therefore, it is not open to the State to say that intoxicating drinks cannot be consumed for medicinal purposes. We are not able to agree with Mr. K. K. Venugopal, learned counsel for the petitioners that Art. 47 contemplates free use of alcohol as a drink or as a beverage on the ground that it is for a medicinal purpose. As already stated, the expression 'medicinal purposes' contained in that Article has to construed in the light of the directive principles of State Policy of bringing about prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health and so construed, it deviously refers to the user of alcohol for the manufacture of medicine, as otherwise, by allowing the free use of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health on the ground that it is a medicine will defeat the very object of that provision. The words 'consumption for medicinal purposes' cannot be equated as consumption as a medicine. This is apart from the question whether intoxicating drinks and drugs can have any therapeutic or medicinal value. If intoxicating drinks have any therapeutic value and can be used as a medicine, it is possible to say that Art. 47makes an exception in that regard. The learned counsel for the petitioners say that in so far as the impugned rule prohibits consumption of liquor by persons below the age of 45 amounts virtually a total prohibition of liquor even for medicinal purposes, that the expectation of life of an average Indian male and female is 48 and 46 respectively as per the 1971 census, and that the minimum age of 45 fixed for an application for a health permit will clearly be an unreasonable restriction not protected by Art. 19(5). Art. 47 of the Constitution merely seeks to impose an unenforceable duty on the State to bring about total prohibition of the consumption of liquor and the exemption contained therein in favour of medicinal purposes does not confer any enforceable or vested right on the citizen to own or consume liquor even for medicinal purposes. In any event, the exception contained in Art. 47 has to b strictly confined to cases where the consumption of alcohol in the form of intoxicating drinks is necessary on medical or therapeutic grounds. Medical opinion appears to be uniform that alcohol has no medicinal or therapeutic value, except in cases where the disease itself has been brought about by long-standing drinking habit.
17. The Teckchand Committee's Report on better enforcement of prohibition says--
(1) Medical opinion in America and Western countries has proved that the belief in the curative effect of intoxicating drinks is false. (2) The claim that alcohol is curative by internal use has been held to be false though it is widely used by physicians as an antiseptic and astringent for external purposes. (3) That alcohol has a harmful effect on human system which leads to problems like bounding pulse, insanity, lowering of resistance, hindering of immunity and digestion, cirrhosis of liver, cancer etc.
18. The High Level Committee appointed by the Government of Tamil Nadu for the stricter enforcement of prohibition headed by Mr. Sadasivam, a former Judge of this court has, in its report, pointed out that the majority of the medical experts who have given evidence before it are unequivocal in their opinion that liquor is not required for reasons of health and that the only justification for the consumption of liquor is on ground of addiction or long habit or for psychological reasons. The said report also refers to a dissenting opinion expressed by another medical expert that there were medicinal uses of alcohol for certain diseases, but says that he was not able to substantiate his view with reference to any well known authority in medicine. The Committee is of the view that modern medicine has got more effective drugs for all ailments and that the use of alcohol may not have any real medicinal value particularly in a tropical country like India.
19. In Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume I, under the head 'Alcohol and therapeutics' at page 440, the following passage occurs and the same is relied on by the petitioners in support of their stand that alcohol as a beverage has certain medicinal and therapeutic value.
'Alcohol is often used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. Whiskey is popular for treating colds and snake bites, brandy for treating faintness, wine for blood building, beer for lactation and any alcoholic beverage for treating sleeplessness or over excitement. Many of these uses survive from folk medicine. Alcohol is administered by physicians in hospitals, usually by vein, sometimes for anesthesia before minor surgery; more often it is given for sedation after surgery and as a source of easily absorbed calories when it is desirable to by-pass the digestive system. Physicians often prescribe 'a drink' for a variety of purposes; to stimulate a sluggish appetite, as a sedative to induce sleep, as an anxiolytic in premenstrual tension, as a vasodilator in arteriosclerosis, to relieve the vague aches and pains that beset the elderly, and as a supplement in special diets.'
In the same page under the head 'the serious indirect effects of alcohol' it has been pointed out that excessive users of alcohol suffer from both acute and chronic diseases such as disturbances of neuromuscular and mental functions and of body chemistry and that they are abnormally liable to accidents and injuries. In extreme cases, delirium tremens will develop a gross trembling of the whole body, sometimes with seizures, mental clouding, disorientation, and hallucinations both visual and auditory. It may be that alcohol has sometimes certain medicinal and therapeutic use for specific ailments such as cold, snake bites, faintness, blood building, lactation, sleeplessness or over excitement. By the question is when modern medicine has got more effective suitable drugs or medicines for all ailments it is not possible to say that alcohol is the only remedy without the use of which the ailments cannot be cured. Therefore, even assuming that alcohol has some medicinal or therapeutic value, unless it is shown that its use is absolutely necessary for curing a particular ailment or for maintaining good health, preventing consumption of alcohol in the course of achieving the object of total prohibition cannot be said to be unreasonable. Reasonableness of any restriction has to be tested with reference to the object of the legislation and the object of the legislation being total prohibition and the issuance of liquor permits on grounds of health being an exemption to the general rule, that exception cannot be claimed as of right. Therefore the restrictions or conditions imposed on an applicant for a liquor permit by the amended rule R. 10(B)(1) of Mad. Liquor (Licence and Permit) Rules have to be considered as reasonable restrictions.
20. In Md. Hanif Qusareshi v. State of Bihar : 1SCR629 it has been held that the test of reasonableness should be applied to each individual statute impugned and no abstract standard or general pattern, of reasonableness can be laid down as applicable to all cases. It has also been pointed out by the Supreme Court in State of Madras v. V. G. Row : 1952CriLJ966 that the nature of the right alleged to have been infringed, the underlying purpose of the restrictions imposed, the extent and urgency of the evil sought to be remedied thereby, the disproportion of the imposition, the prevailing conditions at the time, should all enter into the judicial verdict on the question of reasonableness.
21. This leads us to the further question as to whether the amended rule 10 is violative of Art. 14 of the Constitution. According to the petitioners the permit being one to the issued for medicinal purposes, the classification of persons with reference to age has no reasonable nexus to the objects of permit. As has already been pointed out, intoxicating drug has very little or no medicinal or therapeutic value, and even if it has, the advantage by using the intoxicating drink as a medicine is lost by the adverse effect it has on the human system. The only persons who will probably be benefited by using liquor as a beverage are those who are found to be addicts and whose health is likely to deteriorate for want of such intoxicating drinks. Having regard to the above circumstances, classification of persons into two categories, one whose health conditions do not absolutely require the use of intoxicating drinks and those whose health is likely to suffer for want of intoxicating drinks because of long addiction, has been made. As already referred to, even before the impugned amendment of rule 10, the rule made a distinction between persons above 18 years of age and below that age for the grant of permit and provided for the grant of permit only to those who are above 18 years of age. The only difference made now in the amended rule is that instead of 18 years of age, the age has been raised to 45. If the rule making authority as a delegate of the Legislature can make a classification of persons into two categories based on age and such a classification has been there right from the inception of the Prohibition Act, 1937, the fact that the age has been raised does not amount to the classification being void and violative of Art. 14. All the world over, in almost all the licensing regulations dealing with liquor, persons under 18 years of age are disabled from getting a licence. It may be that the age of 18 was fixed as the minimum age required for getting a licence under the regulatory legislation taking note of the fact that a person under the age of 18 should be protected from health hazards by preventing them consuming intoxicating drinks. In some of the regulatory measures, even the holder of a licence to sell liquor is prohibited from selling such drinks to people under 18 years age. Uniformly the sale to and purchase by persons under the age of 18 of intoxicating drinks by licensees who are authorised to sell are made penal. For example, under the English Licensing Act 1968, a holder of a licence under that Act knowingly selling or allowing another person to sell intoxicating liquor for purposes of consumption to a person under 18 years of age is punished.
22. The learned counsel for the petitioners would, however, say that in the matter of obtaining liquor permits for purposes of consumption the fixing of the minimum age limit of 45 cannot, in any event, be said to be reasonable. The learned counsel refers to the fact that even the report of the High Level Committee for the stricter enforcement of prohibition in Tamil Nadu has reported that the minimum age for the grant of liquor permits on grounds of health can be fixed at 30 years, that even otherwise as a person normally becomes an addict by regular consumption of liquor for a period of ten to fifteen years it is wrong to assume that people above the age of 45 alone would be addicts and not people below that age. On this aspect, the counter affidavit of the respondents proceeds on the basis that the classification based on age limit of 45 and the provisions for enabling only a person who has completed 45 years of age to apply for a permit is just and reasonable and is quite consistent with the spirit, object and purposes of Act. According to the respondents the age has a relation to health and the law can prescribe an age limit below which it cannot be reasonably claimed that some illness exists which has necessarily to be treated with alcohol, and it is reasonable to assume that at the age of 45, a man who has become an addict to alcohol may find it difficult to give up that habit at the risk of his health being deteriorated and, therefore, he is to be permitted to consume alcoholic drinks for maintaining his health. It is said that the purpose behind fixing the minimum age limit of 45 is to see that the younger generation should not get themselves acquainted with and used to the consumption of intoxicating liquor having deleterious effect on his health and longevity, and that the classification based on age has a direct relationship to the objects sought to be achieved and there is nothing discriminatory or unreasonable about the said classification.
23. Having regard to the scheme and object of the Act, in the grant of permit for personal consumption of intoxicating liquor, age cannot be said to be an irrelevant factor and, therefore, the fixation of a minimum age limit cannot be said to be arbitrary. The question as to what should be the minimum age is a matter of policy within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Government and the Government in this case have taken into account the totality of the circumstances, the social requirements, the public interest and the provisions of Art. 47 of the Constitution of India, and fixed the age of 45 years as the minimum age. Whether a particular restriction is reasonable or not has to be decided with reference to the nature of the activity sought to be regulated and the scheme and object of the Act under which the regulation is to be made. The scheme of the Act is to prohibit the manufacturer, sale and consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs. S. 4 of the Act prohibits the manufacture, of traffic in and consumption of liquor and intoxicating drugs. Art. 47 of the Constitution states that the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health. While the Act proceeds on the basis that consumption of intoxicating drinks is injurious to health, it should be taken that the manufacture, possession and sale of intoxicating drinks is a noxious trade and the regulations imposed on such a trade has to be considered as reasonable. The tests laid down for judging whether the restrictions imposed on ordinary trade are reasonable or not have no application to the restrictions imposed on noxious trade like trade in intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health. Though the object of the Prohibition Act inter alia was total prohibition, of consumption of intoxicating drinks, the Act contemplates exemption being granted in the matter of consumption of alcohol for medicinal purposes. Therefore, the Act provides for the grant of permits for persons who may require intoxicating drinks on grounds of health. The Legislature has given the power to the rule making authority, the Government, to select persons and prescribe the conditions for the grant of liquor permits on grounds of health. In exercise of such a discretion the Government has prescribed that people above the age of 45 who have become addicts by long habitual drinking will alone be granted liquor permits on grounds of health, as such persons will suffer in health if they are suddenly prevented from consuming alcoholic drinks. In those circumstances, there is nothing improper or illegal in restricting the grant of liquor permits only to those persons who have become addicts by long and habitual drinking and whose health will suffer for want of intoxicating drinks. Having regard to the fact that the discretion has been given to the rule-making authority to decide as to who should be allowed to consume intoxicating drinks, the rule making authority can select persons for the grant of liquor permits having regard to the absolute need of intoxicating drinks for health purposes. It is submitted by the learned counsel for the petitioners that the word 'addict' has neither been defined nor any criterion laid down on the basis of which a particular person can be considered as an addict or not and therefore the rule making authority cannot fix an arbitrary age by saying that people above that age can alone be addict, and if really such a power has been given to the rule making authority, that will be an arbitrary and unguided power and will, as such, amount to excessive delegation by the Legislature. But having regard to the object of the Act which is one to prohibit consumption of intoxicating drinks, the discretion given to the rule making authority to give the permit to such of those persons as it considers suitable cannot be said to be arbitrary and unguided. As already stated, the power given to prohibit possession and consumption of any liquor is undoubtedly a reasonable restriction on the individual's right and that power is obviously controlled by the object and purpose of the Act. The policy of the legislation has been fully set out in the Act and discretion has been given to the Government in the matter of working out that policy and to achieve that policy. The Government in the exercise of that discretion selects some persons for the application of the Act and exempts some others. In those circumstances, the power of the Government cannot be said to be unguided or uncontrolled. When the Legislature has laid down the guiding principles in the Act and a discretion has been given to the Government to select the persons to whom the restrictions are to apply, such a power cannot be said to be an excessive delegation. Once the power is given to the rule making authority to exempt certain persons from the provisions of the Act, the rule making authority has to select persons for the grant of exemption in the light of the scheme and object of the Act. Therefore it cannot be said that the selection made by the rule making authority will be bad for excessive delegation or for abdication of the legislative power. It is well established that the legislature cannot be expected to provide for every minute detail connected with the subject of the legislation and that it is open to the Legislature to leave ancillary matters for the decision of the rule making authority as long as the Legislative policy is enunciated with sufficient clearness. The rule making authority, of course, has to act within the framework of the law and within the limits of the policy framework laid down therein. It is also well established that it is open to the Legislature to leave it to the executive to determine the details for carrying out the legislative object and intent such as the selection of persons for the application of the provisions of the Act. Though it is true that the Legislature cannot delegate its essential legislative function in any case, it can delegate any subsidiary or ancillary powers to a delegate of its choice to be exercised in accordance with the legislative policy. As pointed out by Cooley in his Constitutional Limitations, Volume I, 8th Edn, at page 228--
'The maxim that power conferred upon the Legislature to make laws can be delegated to any other authority does not preclude the Legislature from delegating any power not legislative which it may itself rightfully exercise. It may confer an authority in relation to the execution of a law which may involve discretion, but such authority must be exercised under and in pursuance of the law. The Legislature must declare the policy of the law and fix the legal principles which are to control in given cases but an administrative officer or body may be invested with the power to ascertain the facts and conditions to which the policy and principles apply. If this could not be done, there would be infinite confusion in the laws, and in an effort to detail and to particularise, they would miss sufficiency both in provision and execution.'
24. Will ough by on the Constitution of the United States, 2nd Edn. Vol. III, page 1637 says--
'The qualifications to the rule prohibiting the delegation of legislative power which have been earlier adverted to are those which provide that while the real law making power may not be delegated, a discretionary authority may be granted to executive and administrative authorities; (1) to determine in specific cases when and how the powers legislatively conferred are to be exercised; and (2) to establish administrative rules and regulations, binding both upon their subordinates and upon the public, fixing in detail the manner in which the requirements of the statutes are to be met, and the rights therein created to be enjoyed.' As already stated, in this case, the statute gives a discretion to the rule making authority to select persons for the grant of exemption, that is, for the purpose of granting liquor permits on grounds of health. In the exercise of that discretionary power, it is open to the rule making authority to restrict the exemption only to such of those persons whose health will positively be affected by reason of prevention of consumption of liquor. The rule making authority has proceeded on the basis that only persons above the age of 45, because of their long addition to drink will require alcoholic drinks as a beverage for the proper upkeep of their health, and that the health of people below the age of 45 may not suffer for want of drinks as in their case the period of addiction may not be considerable. Admittedly, the statute has not prescribed the period of addiction to drink, which will entitle any person to get the exemption. The statute also does not say as to what are the ailments for which consumption of liquor as a pure medicine should be permitted. The entire matter has been left to the rule making authority in its discretion has to decide the class of persons who have to be granted exemption from the provisions of the Act by the grant of permits for consumption of alcoholic drinks. The scheme of the Act, as already stated, is to have a total prohibition and by way of exemption, permits have to be granted to such of those persons who require alcoholic drinks as a medicine for their ailments. The rule making authority in this case has proceeded on the basis that it is only persons who are above 45 years of age who are addicted to drink and whose health is likely to suffer for want of drinks who should be exempted from the provisions of the Act. The rule making authority has understood the policy behind the Act as one to permit the consumption of alcohol only in cases where it is required as a medicine and its view only those who are above 45 years of age and whose period of addiction is considerably long may require intoxicating drinks as medicine as without the use of alcohol their health will deteriorate. Medical opinion appears to be uniform against the consumption of alcohol as a curative, except in cases of long addiction. In cases of long addiction, certain withdrawal symptoms occur and those symptoms can be avoided only by use of alcoholic drinks. Drinking of small quantities of alcohol regularly over a long period of time does not have any conclusively demonstrated pathological effect. Therefore such cases may not require the use of alcohol as a medicine. Hence, the rule making authority might have felt that it is not in every case of habitual drinking, that permit is to be granted and that it is only in extreme cases of addiction where the health of the person involved will be affected for want of liquor, the permit should be granted. It is well known that vast majority of drinkers are like occasional and moderate drinkers who experience no harm from their own use of alcoholic beverages, but there is a small minority which fall into the category of heavy or excessive of problem drinkers who invoke sufficient troubles for themselves, their families, their employers, and their occupational or social associates. From the point of view (of) health, it is only this relatively small minority of excessive drinkers who suffer from certain physical and mental disorders that are caused directly or indirectly by heavy drinking and only such extreme cases are thought of for grant of permit to consume liquor to sustain their health.
25. Government efforts to control alcoholic beverages go back as far as recorded history. Controls initially took the shape of regulation of prices, taverns and sellers. There have also been frequent legislative attempts at total prohibition in various countries of the world. In several countries the efforts have been made to control the use of alcohol by introducing licensing system with limited number and locations of places of sale, restriction of days and hours of sale; prohibition of sale to the young, with ages varying from 16 to 21 (16 in Yugoslavia and 21 in parts of the United States) regulation of the strength of beverages, the size of containers, advertising prices, or profits.
26. Therefore, in the light of the objects of the Act which is one to prohibit consumption of intoxicating drinks, the fixation of a minimum age of 45 for the purpose of grant of liquor permits on the ground that for want of consumption of liquor the bodily condition of such persons above the age of 45 and who are addicts will worsen can be justified to be reasonable.
27. The learned counsel for the petitioners submits that the minimum age limit for the issue of liquor permits recommended by the high level committee appointed by the State Government referred to above is 30 years and that the Government at least should have fixed 30 years as the minimum age limit instead of 45. It is true, the high level committee suggested the minimum age limit 30. But the report of the high level committee is not binding on the Government and it is open to the Government to take a view different from that of the committee for stricter enforcement of prohibition in the State and to say that only extreme cases of long addiction will be considered for the grant of permits on grounds of health. Once the discretion has been given to the State Government to select and classify persons in the matter of grant of permits, the classification need not be shown to be scientifically perfect or logically complete so long as it does not exhibit any vice of discrimination. In Coovergee v. Excise Commissioner, Ajmer, : 1SCR873 dealing with the validity of (Ajmer) Excise Regulation it has been held that the Legislature of a State is fully competent to regulate the business of vending intoxicating liquor to mitigate its evils or to suppress it entirely, that there was no inherent right in a citizen to sell intoxicating liquors, that it is not a privilege of citizen, that as it a business attended with danger to the community it may be entirely prohibited or be permitted under such conditions to limit to the utmost its evils and that the manner and extent of the regulation rest in the discretion of the governing authority. In that case it was argued before the Supreme Court that when the liquors are taken in excess the injuries are confined to the party offending and therefore there was no necessity to impose restrictions on the business of selling liquor in small quantities. Rejecting that contention the Supreme Court pointed out that though the injury in the first instance falls upon the person in his health which the habit upon the person in his health which the habit undermines, in his morals which it weakens; and in the self abasement which it creates, it leads to neglect of avocations or business and waste of property and general demoralisation thus affecting those who are immediately connected with and dependent upon him. In Harshankar v. Dy. E. and T. Commr. : 3SCR254 , the Supreme Court has clearly pointed out that there is no fundamental right to do trade or business in intoxicants in a citizen, that the State under its regulatory powers has the right to prohibit absolutely every form of activity in relation to intoxicating liquors, its manufacture, storage, export, import, sale and possession. The reasoning in those cases will squarely apply to this case. Therefore the fixation of the minimum age limit of 45 for making an application for the grant of liquor permits on grounds of health cannot be said to be unreasonable or contrary to the provisions of the statute.
28. In W.P. No. 321 of 1978 one Mr. R. R. Dalavai, claiming to be the secretary of an Addict free society movement, has impleaded himself as the second respondent. One of the contentions raised by him is that the amended rules framed in G.O. Ms. 3495 Home dated 31-12-1977 which have been impugned in the writ petition have not come into force; that the Government order amending the rules is still in its embargo and has not attained any statutory force, that the amended rules will come into force only when they have been placed before the Legislature and approval obtained under S. 54(3) of the Prohibition Act. 1937, and that, therefore, the writ petition should be dismissed as premature. We are not inclined to agree with the above contention. The impugned Government Order says that the amendment shall come into force on the 1st of Jan. 1978. Sec. 54(3) says that all rules made under this Act shall, as soon as possible after they are made, be placed on the table of both the Houses of the Legislature and shall be subject to such modification by way of amendment or repeal as the Legislative Assembly may make within fourteen days on which the House actually sits either in the same session or in more than one session. Sec. 54(3) does not say that till the rules are approved by both the Houses of Legislature, they are not effective. On the contrary, Sec. 55(5) says that all rules made and notifications issued under the Act shall be published in the Officials Gazette and upon such publication, shall have effect as if enacted in this Act. Admittedly the rules have been published in the Official Gazette (extraordinary) dated 1-1-1978. Therefore, it is not possible to say that the rules have not come into force as they have not got the approval of both the Houses of Legislature. In our view, the effect of S. 54(3) is that all rules made under the Act by the rule making authority shall be placed on the table of both the House of Legislature and shall be subject to such modification as the Legislative Assembly may make within a particular period. That provision cannot in our view postpone the operation or enforcement of the rules until after the legislative approval of the rules as made by the rule making authority. Hence the above contention cannot be accepted as tenable and the writ petition cannot be dismissed merely on the ground that the rules have not come into force.
29. In the result, all the contentions advanced by the petitioners fail and the writ petitions are, therefore, dismissed. There will, however, be no order as to costs.
30. Petitions dismissed.