Decided on August 10,1978



S.Acharya, J. - (1.) The facts in both these two writ petitions are similar and the orders impugned in both the writ applications are identical. The counsel appearing for the parties in both the cases are the same; facts are similar; the questions of law involved for decision in both these cases are the same; the counsel appearing for the parties advanced only one set of arguments which covers both the cases and they desire that both the cases may be disposed of by one judgment. Accordingly both the cases are hereby disposed of by this one judgment.
(2.) The Patia stone quarry and the Kalarahang stone quarry were put to public auction on 6-3-78 as per notice (Annexure 3) issued by opposite party No. 3. The petitioner in O.J.C. No. 725/78 was the highest bidder in respect of the Patia stone quarry, and the petitioner in O.J.C. No. 738/78 was the highest bidder in respect of the Kalarahang stone quarry. The petitioners in both the cases deposited 50% of the lease amounts as required under the notice Annexure 3 and being called upon by the concerned authority. The Additional District Magistrate, Puri thereupon recommended to the higher authorities that the said quarries should be settled with these highest bidders. The Tahsildar, Bhubaneswar (opposite party No. 3) in his report (Annex. 6 in both the cases) also reported that the previous lessee, opposite party No. 4, had defaulted and misconducted himself in various ways in complying with the terms and conditions of the lease of the previous year. In spite of the above facts the Revenue Divisional Commissioner, Central Division, Cuttack (opposite party No. 1) directed that the said two stone quarries be settled with opposite party No. 4, a co-operative society, and not with the petitioners, as can be seen from Annexure 7. Accordingly the said two Sairats have been settled for one year in favour of opposite party No. 4 in spite of the highest bid amounts offered by the petitioners in the auction. While confirming the lease of the said two Sairats in favour of opposite party No. 4 the lease amounts as stated above were directed to be paid in four equal instalments, as can be seen from the order of the Sub-divisional Officer, Bhubaneswar (opposite party No. 2) dated 24-5-78 quoted in paragraph 11 of the counter filed on behalf of opposite parties 1 to 3. The aforesaid orders, settling the Sairats with opposite party No. 4 in preference to the petitioners, are being challenged in these two writ applications.
(3.) The stand taken by opposite parties 1 to 3 is that the two stone quarries in question are the property of the Government; Government has the exclusive power to dispose of the same or to carry on any trade or business in respect of the same in any manner it thinks fit and proper; the administrative order of the Government in that direction is not justiciable and cannot be questioned in these writ applications; merely because the petitioners were the highest bidders they did not acquire any right to get settlement of the said Sairats as specifically mentioned in Clause (4) of Annexure 3; and that a case of monopoly, as urged by the petitioners, is not made out in settling the Sairats in favour of opposite party No. 4, The writ petitions are contested mainly on the above averments.;

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