Madras HC Dismisses Petition Concerning Relaxation in Payment of License Renewal

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A Petition was filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. It challenged a demand notice issued by The Commissioner which demanded the payment of approximately Rs. 65 lakhs for the renewal of the license of the Petitioner. The matter was heard and decided upon by Hon’ble Justice Abdul Quddhose.

Facts of the Case

The Petitioner was granted a license by the Commissioner for collecting fees from motor vehicles and carts, entering the market at Kovilpatti. This area was governed by the Commissioner. The Petitioner maintains that he was issued the license for a period of three years. He had paid Rs. 60 lakhs for the period from 01.12.2019 to 30.11.2020. The Commissioner issued a demand notice calling upon the Petitioner to pay license charges amounting to Rs 65 lakhs approximately for the period from 01.12.2020 to 30.11.2021. The Petitioner would contend that due to the pandemic, he was unable to collect charges for a period of three years commencing from 01.12.2019. 

Arguments Before the Court

The Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that the Commissioner prevented the Petitioner from collecting charges from his customers for the period from March to September. For the same, the Petitioner had produced representations seeking waiver/ concession of the payment of the license charges for the said period in January, March, May, July, September and November 2020. 

The Counsel for the Respondent submitted that as per the license granted to the Petitioner by The Commissioner, license charges payable for the first year, second year and third year was different. The impugned demand notice pertained only to the second year. 

Court’s Observations and Decision

The Court observed that if the Petitioner was aggrieved by Covid – 19 lockdown, his inability to generate income during the lockdown period and had suffered huge losses, he would not seek for renewal of license for the second year. The Court noted that only a person who in all probability would make a profit would want to renew his license for the second year. No prudent business person would renew the license when he had already suffered huge losses for the first year of the license.

The Court further noted that the petitioner cannot claim to have suffered in his first year, and then go on to ask for waiver/concession in the payment for his license renewal for the second year. 

The Court pointed out that the remedy available to the petitioner was to seek for a refund of the proportionate license charges paid by him for the period of March to September 2020. The petitioner does not have any legal right to challenge the impugned demand notice pertaining to the second year of the license for the period between 01.12.2020 to 30.11.2021

The Court dismissed the Writ Petition for lack of merit. 

Read the original judgment here.


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