NARAYANAN NAIR Vs. DISTRICT MANAGER
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
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(1.)Petitioner is an Ex-Serviceman. Pursuant to the notification inviting applications for opening public call offices in various places in Alleppey District, petitioner submitted Ext. P2 application for allotting him one of the public telephones, under the Ex-Servicemen quota. Ext. P2 is dated 22-4-1994. The address of installation shown in Ext. P2 as 'Puthenpurackal building", Karuvatta South, Karuvatta'. On the basis of Ext. P2 application petitioner was allotted a public telephone along with two others. From the details contained in the allotment order, shown in para.8 of the O.P., it is clear that all the three telephones were allotted within the local area of Karuvatta though the place of installation of the telephones was indicated separately. Pursuant to the allotment order, the petitioner seems to have completed all the formalities to have the telephone installed for using the building as a public call office. The main grievance of the petitioner highlighted in the O.P. is that the 5th respondent who has also been allotted a telephone in the general category indicating the place of installation as Vazhiyambalam, 4 kms. away from Karuvatta, is now permitted to install his telephone in Karuvatta South just about 100 to 200 yards away from the place where the petitioner was permitted to install his telephone. According to the petitioner the above action of respondents 1 to 3 is totally illegal. Petitioner would contend that if the 5th respondent is permitted to install his telephone in Karuvatta South very near the place where he has installed his telephone, it will totally deprive him of his livelihood. Petitioner has averred that he has invested more than 40000/- rupees taking huge loan from the bank and other sources. The action of respondents 1 to 3 in permitting the 5th respondent to install his telephone near the place where he has already installed his telephone would amount to an action in violation of Art.14 and 21 of the Constitution of India in the facts and circumstances of the case. Petitioner has contended that the telephone allotted indicating the place of installation as Vazhiyambalam cannot be legally allowed to be installed at a different place and that too in the near vicinity of another telephone to be used as a public telephone. On the above allegations petitioner has prayed for a declaration that the 5th respondent can install the public telephone allotted in his name only at Vazhiyambalam and that respondents 1 to 3 should be directed not to permit the 5th respondent to open the public call office allotted in his name at Karuvatta South.
(2.)Respondents 1 to 3 have filed a counter affidavit producing Ext.R2(a) guidelines dated 14-8-1992 issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Communications, Department of Telecom regulating the allotment and installation of public telephones. Fifth respondent has also filed a detailed counter affidavit stating that he is filing the counter affidavit on behalf of the 4th respondent also.
(3.)Respondent 1 to 3 have contended that the petitioner has no right to insist that i the public telephone allotted to be installed at a particular place coming within the local area of an Exchange should not be shifted to another place within the local area which is near to the place Where he has installed his telephone. The policy of the Government is to allow the public telephones on first come first serve basis. Government has taken a policy decision regarding shifting of public telephones not to impose any condition with regard to the minimum distance of separation between the two pay phones. The only condition required to be satisfied while shifting a public telephone from one location to the other is to see that the new location also has free access to the public and is facing a road/lane. In the counter affidavit respondents 1 to 3 have pointed out that even the petitioner has shifted his place of installation of the telephone to a place other than the place shown in Ext. P2 application. They have also pointed out that the three telephones including the one allotted to the petitioner are telephones allotted under the serving area of Karuvatta Telephone Exchange and such telephones can be shifted freely to any other place within the serving area of Karuvatta Telephone Exchange without insisting upon any distance rule between the existing public telephones. Respondents have also disputed the claim of the petitioner that by the act of permitting the 5th respondent to shift his telephone to Karuvatta South, they have infringed the petitioner's fundamental right under Art.14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
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