PRESIDENT, FISHERMEN CO Vs. COLLECTOR, WEST GODAVARI, ELURU AND OTHERS
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
President, Fishermen Co
Collector, West Godavari, Eluru And Others
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UMAMAHESWARAM, J. -
(1.)This is an application for the issue of a writ of certiorari to call for the records in R.o.c.B. 1-14690/54, dated 20-6-55 on the file of the Collector West Godavari District, Eluru, and to quash the orders passed by him granting to respondent 3 the lease of fishery rights in Tamara-Cheruvu of Dendulur village.
(2.)The case of the petitioner is that the Government of Andhra by its order dated 24-5-1955, in G.O. No. 1130-A granted the rights of fishing in respect of six tanks and that the Collector of West Godavari at Eluru by his order dated 14-6-1955 communicated to him that the lease of fishery rights in the six tanks of Dendulur village was granted to the petitioner for the year 1955 for Rs. 1175/-. He further states that for no valid reasons the Collector by his order dated 20-6-1955 modified the prior order and granted the lease of fishing rights in only five tanks excluding Tamara tank.
The main objection raised by the Government Pleader and Sri Neti Subramanyam on behalf of Respondent 3 is that the proper remedy open to the petitioner in a case of this description is to file a suit, and that I ought not to interfere in a writ under Article 226 of the Constitution. They contend that the Government being the owner of the tanks was entitled to lease out the fishing rights to whomsoever they like in accordance with G.O. No. 200 Development Department dated 16-1-1950 and that if in the course of leasing out the Government violated the terms of the contract, the remedy of the petitioner is only one by way of suit for damages or for any other appropriate relief. I agree with this contention and hold that when there is an adequate remedy by way of suit, this Court ought not to interfere by means of a writ. In a similar case viz., 'Indian Tobacco Corporation v. State of Madras', AIR 1954 Madras 549, it was held by a Bench of the Madras High Court that Article 226 ought not to be invoked. It was pointed out therein that an application under Article 226 of the Constitution is not an alternative remedy to the usual remedy by way of suit. That was a case where the Government entered into a contract with the petitioner and the question was whether there was a violation of the terms of the contract. In 1954 Mad WN SN of recent cases at page CXVII, it was held by Rajamannar, C.J. and Rajagopala Ayyangar J. that :
"Where the Government is in the position of an ordinary lessor, the rights of the lessee, if any must be enforced in the usual course by resorting to an action at law and the remedy by way of application under Article 226, Constitution is misconceived".
(3.)To the same effect is the decision of the Punjab High Court in 'Chatar Singh v. State of Punjab', AIR 1953 Punjab 239. It was held that a writ of mandamus does not lie to enforce or restrain the performance of a contractual obligation. The learned Advocate for the petitioner contended that he is not seeking relief by a mandamus but only to quash the subsequent order of the Collector dated 20-6-1955. In my opinion, that does not make any difference. If the Government had granted the fishery rights in all the six tanks, and if they violated the terms of the contract by modifying it, the proper course open to the petitioner would be to sue the Government for damages. If the Government is entitled to rescind or modify the order as contended by the learned Government Pleader and Sri Subramanyam, the petitioner has really no grievance. I do not think that, in the circumstances of the case, it is necessary that I should quash the subsequent order by issuing a writ of certiorari.
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