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Garapati Construction v/s State of Andhra Pradesh & Others

    Writ Petition No. 11589 of 2021

    Decided On, 03 August 2021

    At, High Court of Andhra Pradesh

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE BATTU DEVANAND

    For the Petitioner: P.S.P. Suresh Kumar, Advocate. For the Respondents: G.P. for Panchayat raj Rural Dev. (AP).



Judgment Text

1. This Writ Petition has been filed against the action of the respondents in not releasing the amounts pertaining to the works “providing new SVS at Vidyadhara Colony, H/o Gundugolanugunta Village, D. Tirumala Mandal”, West Godavari District and construction of “Providing new SVS at Venkatakrishnapuram Village, D. Tirumala Mandal, West Godavari District, in pursuance to Work Agreements dated 10.03.2019, even after successful completion of the said works and issuing stoppage of payment letter to the Bank by respondent No.3 after issuing cheque dated 28.04.2021 bearing No.268855 without giving any opportunity and without conducting any enquiry as illegal, arbitrary, violation of principles of natural justice and violation of Articles 14, 19 (1) (g) and 21 of the Constitution of India and for a consequential direction to respondent No.3 to release payment of Rs.18,56,746/- along with interest @ 12% towards the bills of the petitioner and pass such other orders in the interest of justice.

2. Heard Sri P.S.P. Suresh Kumar, learned counsel for the petitioner, and the learned Government Pleader for Panchayat Raj appearing for Respondents. With their consent, this Writ Petition is disposed of at the stage of admission.

3. Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the petitioner is a Civil Contractor engaged in civil contracting services. The petitioner is doing Government Contracts i.e., construction of water tanks, laying of water pipe lines, attending civil constructions in the villages and gram panchayats etc. He obtained all sorts of licenses for this purpose and he has been doing this construction works for the past 20 years. The petitioner participated in tenders for construction of “providing new SVS at Vidyadhara Colony, H/o Gundugolanugunta Village, D. Tirumala Mandal”, West Godavari District and construction of “Providing new SVS at Venkatakrishnapuram Village, D. Tirumala Mandal, West Godavari District and he was declared as higher bidder and accordingly, respondent No.3 has executed two separate agreements with the petitioner on 10.10.2019 and thereafter, respondent No.3 issued work orders to the petitioner to execute the works.

4. Learned counsel further submits that the petitioner has successfully completed the works as provided in the Schedule “A” of the agreements dated 10.10.2019. Respondent No.3 and some other officials have inspected the works and after duly satisfying with the work, they have processed and sanctioned the bill for Rs.18,56,746/-. Subsequently, respondent No.3 has issued a Cheque bearing No.268855, drawn on State Bank of India, Kovvuru Station Road, Kovvuru, West Godavari for an amount of Rs.18,56,746/- dated 28.04.2021. The petitioner deposited the said cheque in his bank i.e., ICICI Bank, RPC, Vijayawada and the said cheque was returned by way of Cheque Return Memo dated 04.05.2021 with an endorsement “PAYMENT STOPPED BY DRAWER”.

5. Learned counsel further submits that when the said cheque was issued towards the clearing of the bills, there is no reason for stopping the payment. No notice was issued to the petitioner for stoppage of payment and straight away respondent No.3 instructed the Bank to stop the payment. Though the petitioner approached respondent No.3 and other officials to know the reasons for stoppage of the cheque, there was no response from them. Though the petitioner got issued legal notice to respondent No.3 for the purpose of release of amount, even after receipt of the said notice, there is no action on behalf of the respondents.

6. Learned counsel further submits that without any lapse on the part of the petitioner, respondent No.3 has stopped the payment of the cheque amount and resultantly the petitioner is facing severe loss and injury. The action of respondent No.3 is in clear violation of principles of natural justice as no opportunity was given to the petitioner and no enquiry was conducted before taking such decision to stop the payment. Under the circumstances, the petitioner is constrained to file this Writ Petition.

7. Learned Government Pleader for Panchayat Raj appearing for the respondents filed a Memo dated 20-07-2021 stating that a cheque bearing No.268870, dated 16.07.2021 for an amount of Rs.18,56,746/- drawn on SBI, Station Road, Kovvur District, West Godavari District, issued in favour of the petitioner and it was sent to the petitioner through Registered Post on 17.07.2021. Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the petitioner received the said cheque and payment also received.

8. Having heard both the counsel and upon considering the facts and circumstances of the case, this Court noticed that there is no any acceptable reason submitted by Respondent No.3 to instruct the bank to stop the payment of the cheque, which was issued in favour of the petitioner in earlier occasion. As and when respondent No.3 issued cheque bearing No.268855 dated 28.04.2021 for an amount of Rs.18,56,746/- for successful execution of the works as per the Agreement dated 10.10.2019 by the petitioner, issuing instructions to the banker by respondent No.3 to stop the payment without informing to the petitioner and without issuing any notice to the petitioner, is unreasonable, illegal, unjust and violative of principles of natural justice.

9. Issuing check for the works executed by the petitioner and sending such instructions to the banker without intimation to the petitioner is unjustifiable and it effects the reputation of the petitioner before the banker. In fact, this Court directed respondent No.3 to appear before this Court to explain the reasons. On 14.07.2021, respondent No.3 appeared before this Court, but he could not explain any reason for issuing such instructions to the banker to stop the payment. The only thing he submitted to the Court is to excuse him for the mistake.

10. In the considered opinion of this Court, such illegal actions of the Officers like Respondent No.3 is to be taken seriously to give a message to such type of Officers, who are violating the fundamental rights of the citizens for their whims and fancies.

11. As

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it is reported by the learned counsel for the petitioner that subsequent to the issuance of Cheque dated 16.07.2021, the petitioner received the payment, in the opinion of this Court, no further orders are required in this Writ Petition. 12. Accordingly, this Writ Petition is disposed of with costs of Rs.25,000/-. Respondent No.3 shall pay the costs of Rs.25,000/- to the petitioner and file a Memo along with receipt issued by the petitioner before the Registrar (Judicial) of this Court through the learned Government Pleader within two weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this Order. As a sequel, miscellaneous petitions pending, if any, shall stand closed.
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