Decided on December 21,1983

M S Desai And Co Nadiadwala Appellant


N.H.BHATT - (1.) This is a petition by one firm which was dealers appointed by the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. the sole respondent in this petition. The grievance in this petition after it was amended was that a writ of mandamus be issued directing the respondent-corporation to resume the supplies of petroleum products to the petitioner-firm and also directing the respondent-corporation not to terminate the arrangement with the petitioner-firm and also for a writ directing cancellation of the impugned decision of the Respondent Cooperation dated 24-11-82 (passed during the pendency of this petition) and for other reliefs.
(2.) In order to understand the controversy a few facts are required to be noted carefully. The petitioner-firm consists of one Desai and his brothers wife. The respondent is a Corporation wholly owned by the Central Government and therefore it is a State within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India and as it was discharging the Governmental functions which were initially being discharged by the Department of the Government namely Pertroleum Ministry the respondent-Corporation is nothing but a limb of the Central Government. The say of the petitioner is that the respondent-Corporation wanted to install a petrol pump on the outskirts of village Bareja on the National Highway and had therefore taken on lease a parcel of land on which the petrol pump in question is situated. Then the petitioner was asked to construct the rooms and necessary structures thereon after leveling the land and the petitioner firm had incurred substantial expenditure in putting up the said construction suitable for the purpose of the petrol pump. All this was between the year 1964 to 1966 and because of the active interest taken by the lady-partner of this firm the special facility of establishing a multi-purpose departmental distribution centre also was established there which was also run by this petitioner-firm. This was in the year 1980 and the petitioner-firm had substantially contributed towards the construction of the asphalt road there. It is the say of the petitioner that when the petition was filed there was taken a decision in respect of some alleged adulteration of petrol having been detected there on 22-7-81 by the so-called Officers of the respondent-Corporation which after getting the said samples duly tested had allegedly found the petrol etc. at the outlet to be adulterated. Because of this finding the respondent-Corporation had stopped the supplies in the month of November 1981 after some notice was issued to the petitioner by the respondent-Corporation. After waiting for some months the petitioner moved this court initially for a mandatory injunction of the supply of petroleum products. My Brother Ahmadi J. had passed an interim order because of Annexure A the alleged guidelines assumedly issued by the Petroleum Ministry directing that the full enquiry may be conducted and a speaking order be passed. The final decision was required to be sent to this court and the same is produced on the file of this court by the respondent- Corporation. The petition thereafter had come to be amended anti the petition as it stands in the form of the prayers set out above is to be dealt with by me.
(3.) Affidavit-in-reply has been filed on behalf of the respondent- Corporation wherein a number of preliminary objections has been taken They inter alia are: (i) that the petitioner had not come with clean hands and therefore was not entitled to the discretionary relief under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India:(ii) that the petitioners supplies had been suspended as far back as on 10-11-81 whereas the petition had come to be filed on 21-9-82 and therefore there was gross delay which disentitled them to the discretionary relief; (iii) that the respondent- Corporation was not a state; and (iv) that the relationship between the parties was that of pure contracting parties and therefore this courts writ jurisdiction was not attracted.;

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