1. The petitioner is a society registered under the Societies Registration Act. It is claimed that some of its members actually do business in maintaining and extruding oil from country chekkus. They were having the privilege of an exemption from paying eithev the purchase tax or the sales tax on the purchase of groundnuts, or sale of oil manufactured out of such country chekkus for a considerable length of time. But by reason of certain malpractices adopted by the manufacturers processing oil through expellers and rotaries, the Government modified the privilege granted to the country chekku-owners' and made the said exemption conditional upon certain events. This was passed with a view to check evasion of tax. It is this Government Order dated 1st November, 1969, that is challenged in this writ petition.
2. The case of the petitioner is that the withdrawal of the privilege enjoyed by users of country chekkus in the matter of the purchase tax and the sales tax already referred to, appears to be an arbitrary exercise of power Section Section 17 of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act and, therefore, the modified exemption ought not to be given effect to. On the other hand, the learned counsel for the respondents would state that there is a rationale behind the modification and the withdrawal of the privilege enjoyed by country chekku-owners and that the purpose behind the amendment was to check tax evasion. The second objection goes to the root of the matter. The respondents would say that this petition is not maintainable as the petitioner cannot be said to be, an aggrieved person entitled to a rule Section Article 226 of the Constitution.
3. It is by now clear that rules Section Article 226 of the Constitution are issued only if person's aggrieved or affected seek for them and such affectation is with reference to the person who approaches the court for relief. In the instant case, it is the society which is the petitioner. But the claim is that its members are all owners of country chekkus, whose common interest is involved. This contention was repelled in the past by our court and other courts as the fundamental basis on which a writ in the nature of certiorari, mandamus or prohibition is issued is only at the request of a person personally aggrieved or affected. A society registered under the Societies Registration Act and a body of persons having a common interest in the grievance cannot he said to be personally aggrieved persons to enable them to approach the court Section Article 226 for the appropriate rule. This preliminary objection of the learned counsel for the respondents has to be upheld.
4. Even otherwise, I am not satisfied that the rule in question is in any way arbitrary and is purposeless. As a matter of fact, it is made clear that by reason of the attitude adopted by persons having expellers and rotaries, the owners of country chekkus had to be necessarily roped in so that the entire body of traders in that field may not evade taxation. As the rule is based upon a very salient principle, namely, the non-evasion of lawful tax, I am unable to agree that the rule is purposeless and is the product of arbitrary or capricious exercise of power Section Section 17 of the Tamil Nadu General Sales Tax Act.
5. On both the grounds, the writ petition has to fail. The rule nisi is discharged. The petition is dismissed. No costs.