Decided on February 19,2007

UOI Respondents


MUKUL MUDGAL, J. - (1.) Rule DB. With the consent of the learned counsel for the parties the writ petition is taken up for final hearing.
(2.) The brief facts narrated in the writ petition read as follows:- (i) This writ petition had been filed seeking relief against a tender notice dated 18th July 2006 for the sale of an LPG dealership, being auctioned by virtue of the order dated 29th August 1997 in W.P.(C) 4003/1995 in the case of Centre for Public Interest Litigation v. Union of India as clarified and amended by orders dated 11th September, 1998 and 23rd Septmber 1998. In pursuance of the said tender notice, the LPG dealership at Mylavaram, Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh was to be auctioned on 21.8.2006 without including the land and structures as part of the dealership. (ii) The petitioner was allotted the LPG Distribution dealership vide proceedings No. F P-19015/34/95-IOC dated 1st June 1995 by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India. Based on the said letter of intent the petitioner procured land from her husband and constructed a godown and showroom. After the petitioner commenced business, a public interest litigation was filed before this Hon"ble Court, questioning the allotment of Petrol Pump/Gas Agencies out of the discretionary quota of the Hon"ble Minister for Petroleum. As per the said directions, the Government of India/concerned Oil Company were to take over pumps/distribution premises from similarly placed persons like the petitioner whose allotments were cancelled by assessing the market value of land and if it belonged to the allotee, the constructions made thereon. In the event of consent being given for both the land and the structures built on the land, they were to be sold at a public auction, and if the amounts received in the auction were in excess of what was to be paid to the allotee then the excess was to be deposited in the Hon"ble Prime Minister"s Relief Fund. (iii) On 1st December 1997, the possession of the premises of M/S Sruthi Gas Agency was taken over the Oil Company. In a communication dated 10th October, 1998, the Oil Company asked the Petitioner whether: a.The petitioner had any legal right over the godown and showroom, possession of which was handed over to the Oil Company, b.In the existence of such a right, the petitioner was willing to sell this interest in the properties in an auction as directed by the Hon"ble High Court at Delhi, c.In the absence of such a right, whether the person who had a legal interest in the said properties was agreeable to disposal of the same in an auction. (iv) In a reply dated 20th October 1998 to the above-discussed communication the petitioner acquiesced to the auction of the dealership in the name of M/S Sruthi Gas Agencies Mylavaram, also stating that her husband did not have any objection whatsoever. (v) The petitioner claims that it is only on 12th November 1998, that she noticed that respondents 2 and 3 are auctioning only the license of the dealership and not the property and structures thereon despite previous acquiescence from her husband who is the owner of the land and consented to the land and structure being auctioned along with the dealership. With regard to the communication dated 12th November, 1998 the petitioner filed WP(C) 32646 of 1998 in the Andhra Pradesh High Court and was granted an interim order. An application was moved to vacate the said interim order and the Hon"ble High Court at Hyderabad passed an order on 3rd August 2005 clarifying that the status quo ordered earlier operated only with regard to the auction of the property and did not extend to other matters. (vi) The Oil Company, issued a notification dated 23rd August 2005 setting out the tender schedule only for the dealership and not for the land and structure thereon which was challenged before the Andhra Pradesh High Court in W.P.(C) No.20211/2005 and was disposed off with the direction that the Oil Company should reconsider the matter after taking into account the objections of the Petitioner. Since another notification was issued with only the dealership being put to auction the petitioner filed another writ petition (C) No.15720/2006 before the Andhra Pradesh High Court. However in absence of a conclusive understanding of the directions of this Hon"ble High Court, the petitioner was granted the liberty to approach the Hon"ble High Court at Delhi for redressal of her grievance in light of the judgment dated 29th August 1997 in WP(C) 4003/1995 later clarified and amended by orders dated 11th September, 1998 and 23rd September 1998.
(3.) Before we go into the merits of the matter, we are required to deal with the preliminary objection raised by Mr. A. Subba Rao, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of D. Sriram Reddy/applicant in CM No. 15316/2006 filed by the applicant for his impleadment in the array of the parties as respondent. He has submitted that the petitioner has suppressed vital and material facts and deliberately not made the applicant a party in this Court and has got an interim order which affected the allotment of the petrol pump to him. The applicant states that he was a successful bidder in the auction held on 21st August, 2006 and has already deposited 10% of the bid amount.;

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