SC: A license is always revocable

License or permit fee is a charge imposed under the police power for purposes of regulation. License is in the nature of a special privilege, of a permission or authority to do what is within its terms. It makes lawful an act which would otherwise be unlawful. A license granted by the State is always revocable. (G.R. No. L-41480)

It is one of the first principles in the field of administrative law that a license or a permit is not a contract between the sovereignty and the licensee or permitee, and is not a property in any constitutional sense, as to which the constitutional prescription against impairment of the obligation of contracts may extend. A license is rather in the nature of a special privilege, of a permission or authority to do what is within its terms. It is not in any way vested, permanent, or absolute. A license granted by the State is always revocable. As a necessary consequence of its main power to grant license or permit, the State or its instrumentalities have the correlative power to revoke or recall the same. And this power to revoke can only be restrained by an explicit contract upon good consideration to that effect. The absence of an expiry date in a license does not make it perpetual. Notwithstanding that absence, the license cannot last beyond the life of the basic authority under which it was issued. (G.R. No. L-41480)

SUGGESTED READINGS:

[1] Heslep v. State Highway Dept., 171 SE 914; Federal Land Bank of Wichita v. Board of Country Com's., 7 L. Ed. 199; Galvan v. Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco, 452 F. 2d 930; 51 Am Jur 2d 25-26.

[2] Doyle v. Continental Insurance Co., 24 L. Ed. 151.

[3] Climaco v. Barcelona, L-19597, July 31, 1962, 5 SCRA 852-53.

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