ARUN PAPER PRODUCTS AHMEDABAD Vs. UNION OF INDIA
HIGH COURT OF GUJARAT
Arun Paper Products Ahmedabad
UNION OF INDIA
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(1.)This is a typical case where a defaulter is able to invoke various principles of law for the purpose of getting a mandatory order to re-connect his disconnected telephone. The admitted facts are that the telephone which stands in the name of the appellant fell into arrears regarding the telephone charges and the said telephone was disconnected and subsequently the other telephone which is also in the name of the appellant was disconnected for the arrears that fell due in respect of the disconnection of the previous phone. The appellant herein came forward with the Special Civil Application praying for a writ of mandamus directing the respondents therein to re-connect telephone No. 877267 lying at A/1/1 Arun Products GIDC Vatva Ahmedabad stating that the action of disconnection and the intimation dated 11-2-1986 are clearly illegal mala fide erroneous and as such it has to be set aside. The learned single Judge of our High Court after issuing notice and getting the affidavit-in-reply on the C. A. filed on behalf of the Telephone Department dismissed the Special Civil Application. It is as against that order the present Letters Patent Appeal has been filed.
(2.)The short facts of this case for the purpose of deciding the issues in this case are that the appellant got telephone connections for numbers 54146 and 877267. Telephone No. 54146 was first installed at No. 45 Kalyanbag Society in 1974. Telephone No. 877267 was installed at A/1/1 Arun Products GIDC Vatva Ahmedabad in the year 1971. It is the case of the appellant that the appellant along with his cousins and father was carrying on business jointly and the business came to be dissolved in 1983. It is the further case of the appellant that his cousin made a transfer application to transfer telephone No. 54146 in order to instal the same at No. 64 N. S. Market Ratan Pole Ahmedabad. 387876 is the present number for the phone originally installed viz. 54146. In as much as the arrears fell due in respect of this telephone which according to the appellant herein he is not responsible the Telephone Department not only disconnected the telephone No. 387876 but also telephone No. 877267 for. the alleged arrears of over Rs. 18 0
(3.)Mr. Gandhi the learned counsel appearing for the appellant submitted as his first contention that disconnection can be in respect of the phone where there is a default and not in respect of the phone where there is absolutely no arrears in respect of the telephone bills. In this connection we can usefully refer to Rule 443 which deals with default of payment. This rule is clear to the effect that any telephone or telephones or any telex service rented by the subscriber may be disconnected without notice if the bills for charges remained due from the subscriber in respect of the telephone or telephones. Reading the rule as such it is clear that the arrears that fell due in respect of one connection in the name of the subscriber may be a ground for dis-connecting the other connections also if the arrears remained unpaid. Mr. Gandhi next submitted that the Department should not have transferred the phone on the application made by his cousin to a different place and if it has done so any arrears that fell due in respect of the phone that has been transferred without the authority of the subscriber cannot be the liability of the subscriber himself. In this connection we can usefully refer to the transfer application made both by the appellant and his cousin which is dated 4-6-1987. This letter is addressed to the Commercial Officer (East) Ahmedabad Telephones Ahmedabad requesting the authority concerned to shift telephone No. 54146 to 64 N. S. Market Ratan Pole Ahmedabad. In this application dated 4-6-1987 we are able to see the signature of both the appellant and also his cousin. Mr. Gandhi states that this is a forgery. In the first place such a disputed question of fact cannot be looked into in a petition filed under Art. 226 of the Constitution. Secondly the authorities concerned have acted on the request made by the subscriber and there cannot be anything wrong in shifting the phone to the place mentioned in that letter. The fact remains that the telephone stands still in the name of the appellant herein and he has not taken any steps either to disown the service connection or write to the Department for the purpose of disconnecting the same on the ground that he is no more using the said phone. It is too much for a subscriber to say that he does not know what has happened to his phone which he got after making necessary deposits and which he was using for a number of years. Hence this contention of Mr. Gandhi cannot have any substance.
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