Mere Payment of the Challans Do Not Give Petitioner the Right To State That the License of the Mill Is Extended, Proper Application Must Be Submitted: Andhra Pradesh High Court

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Excerpt

A single judge bench consisting of Honorable Justice D.V.S.S. Somayajulu passed an order on the Writ Petition no. 5482 of 2019 and 288356 of 2014. The Writ Petition has been filed challenging the orders issued in 2014 requesting him to vacate the present Saw Mill and shifting it 5kms away from the Reserve Forest area. Whereas in 2019 Writ Petition was filed with the prayer to restrain the Respondent State from interfering with the running of the Saw Mills business. 

Facts

In these cases, the Petitioner is the same. In 2014 he was ordered to vacate the Saw Mill and was asked to shift 5 kilometers away from the Reserve Forest area. The Petitioner did not accept the orders of the Respondents therefore the Respondent-State started interfering with the running of the Saw Mill business. Aggrieved by the same the Petitioner approached the court and sought directions against the Respondent-State. 

Arguments Advanced 

The learned counsel for the Petitioner submitted before the court that the Petitioner was the lawful owner of the Saw Mills. He had filed all the necessary documents before the Respondent who was a forest official, who agreed to change the title of the land. The license was transferred and extended up to 31.12.2012. The counsel submitted that the Petitioner was lawfully running the business when the series of notices were issued to him. Further it was added that according to the Andhra Pradesh Saw Mills (Regulation) Rules, 1969 and Rule 3 for setting up a Saw Mill within the distance of 5 km from the boundary of a forest applies only to fresh Saw Mills and not for the shifting of the existing Saw Mills. 

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The learned counsel for the Petitioner argued that the Petitioner is in settled possession of the property and had secured a valid license. He had been paying the fees for the extension of the license. The counsel further submits that the Petitioner is paying all the challans periodically but the Respondents were trying to stop him from conducting the business by interfering in his matters. Therefore, he prayed for an order in both the Writ Petition. 

The learned government pleader for forest submits before the court that the issue in the present case is not about 5 km radius but it is about the failure of the Petitioner to extend the license after 2012. The counsel says that the Petitioner had not renewed his license which had expired in 2012 itself. Therefore, there is no valid license and the Petitioner had to apply for a fresh license as the mere payment of challan is not valid. 

Court’s Analysis

The court is of the opinion that there is not much dispute about the facts. It is clear that 1969 Rules are applicable in the Writ Petition no. 28856 of 2014. These rules clearly specify the manner in which the application is to be filed and if the renewal application was not filed till the end of the February it is clear that the license had lapsed and the Saw Mill owner should apply for a fresh license. In this case the license had lapsed but no documentary evidence was produced for the renewal before February. No documents except of challans were produced and it was clear that the application was not complete in all respects. It was clear that 1969 rules were not followed and even the 2018 rules were not taken into consideration. Therefore, the license had lapsed and no proof was filed to show that the application was complete in all aspects. 

Court’s Decision

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The court held that the Petitioner was under the obligation to submit an application but he did not do so. The mere fact that he paid the challans will not give him the right to state that the license had extended. No proof was filed to show that a correct and proper application has been submitted. Therefore. In the absence of such proof the Petitioner cannot claim any relief from the court. He needs to submit all the documents properly and then get any relief. No orders as to cost and any application pending shall stand closed. 

Click here to view full judgment.


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