T.O. FRANCIS Vs. CHIEF EXECUTIVE MEMBER AND ORS.
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
Chief Executive Member And Ors.
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C. Sanjeeva Row Nayudu, J. -
(1.) THE point that arises for consideration in this petition under Article 226 of the Constitution is whether the authority hearing an appeal under the terms and conditions of the tender notice is obliged to hear the party with whom a settlement had already been made, and which settlement is made the subject -matter of the appeal before that authority.
(2.) AT the outset we may state some facts. On 25th May 1966 tenders for settlement of the Haflong Region Cane Mahal were called for. The last date of submitting tenders was 15th July, 1966 and the period of settlement was three years from the 1st August, 1966 to the 31st July, 1969. The time for receiving tenders was thereafter extended upto 12 noon of 1st August, 1966. The Petitioner T.O. Francis submitted his tender for Rs. 6,161, whereas Sri. Manindra Chandra Dey, the third Respondent herein, submitted a tender for Rs. 8,000.01 P. Thereafter the Petitioner was asked whether he would raise his bid to the highest bid which was offered by the third Respondent. On the Petitioner agreeing to raise his bid, the Mahal was settled with him for that amount and the security deposit was called for and furnished and accepted. Thereafter an appeal was apparently preferred to the Chief Executive Member, North Cachar Hills District Council, who is impleaded as Respondent No. 1 in this petition, by the third Respondent, against the order of settlement made with the Petitioner. This appeal was disposed of by the Chief Executive Member without giving an opportunity to the Petitioner to be heard therein, and the Chief Executive Member set aside the settlement made in favour of the Petitioner and ordered settlement with the third Respondent. The Petitioner contends that once his tender had been accepted and the settlement was made with him and an appeal was preferred against the order of settlement, he being the person affected by the result of the appeal, should have been given an opportunity to be heard in support of his own settlement. In other words, the contention is that the Petitioner should have been afforded an opportunity to show that the settlement made in his favour is valid and should not be interfered with. Without affording the Petitioner such an opportunity the Chief Executive Member on the appeal preferred by the third Respondent decided the matter behind the back of the petitions and allowed the appeal and set aside the settlement made in favour of the Petitioner which is clearly an order to the Petitioner's prejudice.
(3.) IT is contended by Mr. Bhattacharjee, the learned Counsel for the District Council North Cachar Hills District that the terms of the sale notice are not statutory, they were more in the nature of a contractual arrangement and therefore, any violation of the terms and conditions of such notice cannot be made the subject of a writ application under Article 226 of the Constitution, nor can we issue a writ of mandamus or other writs in regard to any such matter. Thus any appeal preferred against the order of settlement under such terms cannot be regarded as a judicial or quasi judicial proceeding and, therefore, the question of applying the principles of natural justice to such proceedings would not arise. Hence he contended that the order of the Chief Executive Member was valid and, therefore, should not be interfered with.;
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