At, High Court of Rajasthan Jaipur Bench
By, THE HONOURABLE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. PRADEEP NANDRAJOG & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE GR. MOOLCHANDANI
For the Appellants: Sudesh Bansal, Kunal Jaiman, K. Verma, Lokesh Agarwal, Advocates. For the Respondents: RK. Mathur, Sr. Advocate, Aditya Narain Sharma, Gulab Chand Meena, Advocates.
1. Heard learned Counsel for the parties.
2. Smt. Kailash Meena as well as HPCL are aggrieved by the impugned judgment dated 18.09.2018.
3. Relevant facts are that Dhanpal Meen, son-in-law of Smt. Kailash Meena was appointed as a dealer of a petrol pump by HPCL. The dealership agreement is dated 15.09.2004. The land on which the petroleum pump is situated is owned by Dhanpal Meena. He let out the land to HPCL which spent money to set up the petrol pump and appointed Dhanpal Meena as the dealer.
4. Dhanpal Meena and Smt. Kailash Meena entered into a partnership agreement and applied to HPCL to issue a fresh dealership to the partnership firm informing that in the partnership share of Dhanpal Meena is 51% and that of Smt. Kailash Meena is 49%. Accepting the request, HPCL appointed the partnership firm as a dealer on 16.11.2016.
5. A dispute arose between the son-in-law and the mother-in-law.
6. Dhanpal Meena filed a suit for dissolution of the partnership firm and claimed rendition of the accounts from the mother-in-law on 18.01.2016.
7. But before that, on account of dispute between the mother-in-law and son-in-law supplies were not being lifted by the partnership firm HPCL realised that no sales were being effected from petrol pump in question and thus issued a notice to the partnership firm requiring the firm to lift the petroleum products from HPCL from sale from the petrol pump. The partnership firm could obviously not do so on account of the dispute between the partners. On 15.7.2017 HPCL issued two orders. The first was to suspend the dealership agreement till the two partners resolved their disputes. The second order was to give the petrol pump on ad hoc dealer, to a third party.
7. Dhanpal Meena filed S.B.C.W.P.No.13142/2017 without impleading his mother-in-law as respondent and in the petition he has pleaded that he had made the entire investment and had dissolved the partnership firm. Thus he prayed that suspension of the dealership agreement be declared illegal and even the action to appoint an ad hoc dealer at the petrol pump be declared illegal.
8. Treating the partnership as having been dissolved and right to continue to operate the petrol pump vested in Dhanpal Meena, impugned order dated 18.09.2018 has been passed quashing both the orders dated 15.07.2017 issued by HPCL.
9. Suffice it to state that the learned Single Judge could not have granted relief to Dhanpal Meena in the absence of the (4 of 5) [SAW-1221/2018] appellant impleaded as a respondent. In the writ petition filed by Dhanpal Meena he has suppressed the fact that a suit for dissolution of the partnership firm and rendition of the accounts is pending. On said grounds of suppression of facts itself the writ petition filed by Dhanpal Meena is liable to be dismissed. That apart, there is a serious dispute between the two partners. The suit for dissolution of the partnership firm filed by Dhanpal Meena is pending.
10. It would be in the interest of the two partners to file an application in the said suit for appointment of either partner as a Receiver so that the business of sale of petroleum products from the petrol pump in question is resumed.
11. As regards HPCL, since the petrol pump is a Company owned petrol pump, HPCL would be justified in taking possession of the petrol pump and awarding ad hoc dealership to a third party as no sales are effected from the petrol pump.
12. To grant appellant and Dhanpal Meena time to move the civil Court and get a Receiver appointed we dispose of the appeal setting aside the impugned order dated 18.09.2018. Writ petition filed by Dhanpal Meena is disposed of suspending the operation of both order dated 15.07.2017 for a period of 60 days. If within said
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period a Receiver is appointed in the civil suit filed by Dhanpal Meena, the two orders would not be given effect to. Should a Receiver not be appointed and as a consequence sale of petroleum products does not resume, both orders would be enforceable by HPCL. 13. Needless to state that on account of the appeals being disposed of interim orders passed in the appeals have came to an end. 14. No costs.