POONAM GARG Vs. UNION OF INDIA
LAWS(DLH)-2007-7-226
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
Decided on July 10,2007

RAM GOPAL,AMAR SINGH,GIAN CHAND,JOGINDER SINGH,BABU SINGH,ASHOK KUMAR,BALDEV SINGH,SUBHASH CHANDER,DINESH KUMAR,VINOD KUMAR,BHARAT BHUSHAN BANSAL,ANIL KUMAR,SUBHASH SHARMA,SATISH KUMAR,BALWINDER SINGH,SANJEEV KUMAR,KRISHNA KUMAR SINGH,NARENDER SINGH,ASHA RAM,DEEPAK KUMAR,LAKHWANT SINGH,AMARJEET SINGH,SURINDER PAL SINGH,SUSHIL KUMAR AGGARWAL,KULBIR SINGH,VIJAY AGGARWAL,SANTOSH SHARMA,NARESH JAIN,SUDESH,PRAMOD SHARMA,SHIV CHARAN LAL,INDERJEET SINGH,POONAM GARG,PRADEEP SINGHAL,JASBIR SINGH BAL,SHAMA PARVEEN,CHANDRA PAL SINGH,RAM CHANDRA RAHEJA,SANYOGITA SINGH,SAURABH,CHANDRA MOHAN NATH SETH,RAJESH BORA,BRIJ BIHARI UDAINIYA,NAND KISHORE RAI,DINESH KUMAR TIWARI,VIVEK MALHOTRA,TEJBIR SINGH,JAGDEEP SHARMA,PRIYANKA JAIN,MAJOR GIRISH CHANDRA (RETD),RAJNISH THAPAR,AMARJIT BANSAL,ALOK KUMAR JAISWAL,SANJEEV KUMAR NARULA,MEERA KATARIA,ANEEL MAAN,DEEP CHAND RAI,HANS RAJ TUTEJA,AMAR NATH SINGH,MOHD. HASAN IMAM,KHURSHID AHMED CHIPPA,RAJESH KUMAR PANDIT @ RAJESH P.,MOHAL LAL,MILAN RANI,MOHD. JAMAL,MEGHNA SINGH,MOHD. SHAHNAWAZ ALAM,SATYA NARAIN KUMAR SINGH,LAKHVINDER SINGH BAJWA,SANJEEV KUMAR KHURANA,GAURAV GUPTA,PAWNA KUMAR PURBEY,SUNIL MALIK,SANJAY GOEL,SAJJAN KUMAR AGARWAL,KANCHAN MEENA,SUNITA GOEL,DEEPIKA KAPUR,ATESH AGGARWAL,RAVINDER KUMAR SINGHLA,SANT ATAM PRAKASH,ARUNA AGGARWAL,SANDEEP SINGH,DHARAM PAL GOYAL,JAGDISH CHANDER DABAS,KRISHAN KUMAR SULTANIA,ASOKE KHAN,BISHWANATH PRASAD JAISWAL,SHYAM LAL CHATTERJEE,RAVI SHANKAR SINGH,SURENDER PRASAD CHAURASIA,RAKESH KUMAR MITTAL,BISHESWAR GAUR Appellant
VERSUS
UNION OF INDIA Respondents

JUDGEMENT

BADAR DURREZ AHMED, J. - (1.) In all these petitions, the prayers sought are virtually identical. In the first instance, the petitioners have sought the quashing of notification No.P-19011/9/2001-IOC dated 06.09.2006 on the ground that the same is not applicable to the petitioners' retail outlets / petrol pumps because the petitioners / petitioners' nominees had been given the retail outlets under the land owner category pursuant to the Policy / MDPM No.319/2002 dated 08.10.2002. The petitioners have also sought the issuance of an appropriate writ, order or direction to restrain the respective oil companies from enforcing / implementing the said notification dated 06.09.2006. Alternatively, the petitioners have also prayed that, if, for any reason, the reliefs sought for above are not granted by this court, the respondent oil companies be directed to surrender to the petitioners and the petitioners be put in actual and physical possession of the lands belonging to them within a time frame to be fixed by this court. This alternative prayer has been made on the ground that if the object of taking the land on lease for allotment of retail outlets for the petitioners and / or their nominees would have been frustrated, the the lands ought to be returned to the petitioners, who are the owners thereof.
(2.) In these petitions, there are four oil companies, namely, IBP Company Ltd (IBP), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), against whom the reliefs have been claimed. It was pointed out by all the petroleum companies other than IBP that the policy dated 08.10.2002 upon which the petitioners seek reliance was only in respect of IBP and there is no such policy with regard to the other petroleum companies. In any event, it was submitted on behalf of the petroleum companies that the petitioners had not, in any of the petitions herein, been granted retail outlets or petrol pumps by any of the petroleum companies.
(3.) They submit that what the petitioners are calling retail outlets / petrol pumps are nothing but lease agreements / deeds in respect of lands and Maintenance and Handling Contracts. The two agreements are with separate petitioners, but even if they are taken conjunctively, they do not constitute a retail outlet / petrol pump. The notification of 06.09.2006 issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas pertains to the subject of operation of retail outlets of oil marketing companies on company- owned-company-operated (COCO) basis. It was submitted on behalf of the petroleum companies as well as the UNION OF INDIA that the retail outlets in question were essentially company-owned-company-operated outlets. The lands for these outlets had been taken on lease from the petitioners with the right to sub-let. The oil companies invested huge sums of money to set up their retail outlets on the lands so taken on lease. By and large, in respect of all these retail outlets, Maintenance and Handling Contracts have been entered into with parties other than the petitioners who leased out the lands to them. Such persons are also petitioners alongwith the land owner petitioners. On behalf of the petitioners, it was contended that the Maintenance and Handling Contracts were given to the nominees of the land owners.;


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