1. Rule. Mr.Manan Bhatt, learned advocate waives service of Rule for the respondent no.1.
2. By this petition under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, the petitioner has prayed for the following relief(s):-
"7(A) Your Lordships may be pleased to issue a writ of mandamus or a writ in the nature of mandamus or a writ of certiorari or a writ in the nature of certiorari or any other appropriate writ, order or direction quashing and setting aside the impugned communication/letter dated 30.08.2019 forwarded by the respondent no.2- Corporation to the petitioner through Email and further be pleased to declare and hold that the petitioner is selected candidate for retail outlet dealership of petrol pump in HPCL Company as Group-1 candidate not in group-3 candidate;
(B) During the pendency and final disposal of the present petition YOUR LORDSHIPS may be pleased to stay the operation, implementation, execution of the impugned communication/letter dated 30.08.2019 forwarded by the respondent no.2-Corporation to the petitioner through Email and further be pleased to direct the respondents herein shall not allot the retail outlet dealership of the petrol pump in area of Village:Halol on Halol Pratapura road and any other candidate till final disposal of this petition;
(D) Pass any such other and/or further orders that may be thought just and proper, in the facts and circumstances of the present case;"
3. The brief facts of the case are that the petitioner applied for dealership of petrol pump advertised by respondent no.2. The petitioner found eligible in Group-1 for allotment of retail outlet dealership of petrol pump in Village:Halol situated on Halol Pratapura Road. The respondent no.1, vide letter dated 02.07.2019, informed the petitioner to produce various documents for verification. The petitioner accordingly submitted documents for verification. One of the documents to be submitted was Appendix-IIIB (Advocate's letter) along with Appendix-IIIA (for offer of land) if applicable.
4. It is the case of the petitioner that vide letter of the advocate dated 04.07.2019, it is certified by the advocate that the land offered to the petitioner in the retail outlet was as per the requirement of respondent no.1 for consideration of application of the petitioner for Group-1. However, respondent no.1, vide letter dated 30.08.2019, rejected the offer given to the petitioner for retail outlet dealership of the petrol pump on the ground that the advocate's letter at Annexure-IIIB is submitted after the date of application. The date of application was 10.12.2018 whereas letter of advocate which was submitted by the petitioner was dated 04.07.2019, which was after two days of letter dated 02.07.2019 by which the respondent no.1 was called for various informations from the petitioner including the said letter.
5. Heard Mr.Y.J.Patel, learned advocate for the petitioner and Mr.Asim Pandya, learned Senior Counsel appearing with Mr.Manan Bhatt, learned advocate for the respondent no.1 and learned advocate Mr. R.D. Raval for respondents no. 3 and 4.
6. Learned advocate for the petitioner submitted that in response to the letter dated 02.07.2019, the petitioner obtained a fresh letter of the advocate on 04.07.2019, however, the petitioner was already having the letter of advocate dated 07.12.2018 with him prior to the date of submission of application. It was, therefore, submitted that due to misunderstanding another afresh letter was obtained by the petitioner inspite of the fact that the petitioner was already having letter of the advocate with regard to the land to be offered for the purpose of retail outlet of dealership of petrol pump. He, therefore, submitted that the land offered to the petitioner is having clear title and there is no objection from any person including respondent no.1 with regard to title of such land. It was, therefore, submitted that on such hyper technical ground, offer given by the respondent no.1 could not have been rejected and the respondent no.1 could have given an opportunity to the petitioner to submit requisite documents in form of letter of the advocate.
7. On the other hand, learned Senior Advocate Mr.Asim Pandya appearing with Mr.Manan Bhatt, learned advocate for the respondent no.1 submitted that the petitioner has produced letter dated 07.12.2018 along with affidavit-in-rejoinder for the first time before this Court. The said letter was never with the respondent no.1 and if the said letter would have been produced by the petitioner before the respondent no.1, impugned letter/communication/order dated 30.08.2019 would not have been issued/passed by the respondent no.1. He further submitted that without entering into the larger question as to whether the applicant is in possession of the requisite documents on the date of application or not, in the peculiar facts of this case and without treating this case as a precedent, appropriate orders may be passed.
8. Learned advocate Mr.R.D. Raval for respondents no. 3 and 4 who have been allotted the retail outlet on rejection of the allotment made to the petitioner, relied upon the averments made in the affidavit in reply filed by respondnet no.3-Dilipkumar Thakkar on behalf of respondents no. 3 and 4 and submitted that the petitioner is not worthy of falling within zone of consideration for allotment of retail outlet as the petitioner has misrepresented the facts and misled respondent no.1. It was submitted that the documents submitted by the petitioner clearly show that the land offered by the petitioner does not fall on Halol-Pratappura road but it falls on Halol-Arad road which is different and far away from the retail outlet location which is advertised by respondent no.1. Reference was made to revenue record of the land offered by the petitioner which is annexed with the affidavit in reply. It was therefore, submitted that respondent no.1 has rightly considered the application of respondents no. 3 and 4 in Group-I because respondents no. 3 and 4 are having their own land as per the requirement of respondent no.1. It was also submitted that respondents no. 3 and 4 have already deposited Rs. 50,000/- as security deposit with respondent no.1. In view of such circumstances, it was contended that respondents no. 3 and 4 have a better case than that of the petitioner.
9. Learned advocate for respondents no. 3 and 4 further submitted that the respondent Corporation has no right to show any leniency or give any direct or indirect concession to the petitioner, if he fails in scrutiny test itself whereas respondents no. 3 and 4 have offered perfect location on Halol-Prataapura road and thereby fulfilled the requirements for allotment of retail outlet. It was therefore, submitted that case of the petitioner canvassed before respondent-Corporation as well as before this Court that he was shunted out only because of some minor mistake or error cannot be permitted to be cured.
10. Learned advocate for respondents no. 3 and 4 thereafter, referred to the letter of the advocate submitted by the petitioner to contend that such letter was obtained by the petitioner by misrepresenting the facts.
11. Having heard the learned advocates for the respective parties and going through the materials on record, it is not in dispute that the petitioner was having letter of advocate prior to the date of submitting the application. Therefore, the impugned order dated 30th August, 2019 passed by respondent no.1 on the ground that advocate's letter was obtained after the date of application is not tenable.
12. In view of above undisputed facts, the petitioner is required to be given another opportunity to submit his case before the respondent Corporation and respondent no.1 is required to be directed to accept letter dated 7th December, 2018 for compliance of its letter dated 2nd July, 2019. The respondent corporation is therefore, required to take a fresh de-novo decision as to whether retail outlet should be awarded to the petitioner or not.
13. So far as contentions raised on behalf of respondents no. 3 and 4 are concerned, the respondent corporation may also give an opportunity of hearing to respondents no. 3 and 4 while taking the decision fresh de-novo as to whether the retail outlet can be awarded to the petitioner or not after taking into consideration the contentions to be raised by respondents no. 3 and 4.
14. In view of the aforesaid, impugned order dated 30.08.2019 i
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s quashed and set aside in peculiar facts and circumstances of the case without treating this case as a precedent and if any subsequent or consequential order is passed, same is also hereby quashed and set aside. Respondent no.1 is directed to decide the offer of allotment of retail outlet dealership of petrol-pump at Halol fresh de-novo after giving opportunity of hearing to the petitioner after accepting the letter dated 7th December, 2018 in compliance of its letter dated 2nd July, 2019 and after providing opportunity of hearing to respondent nos.3 and 4 to raise all the contentions available to them in accordance with law. Such exercise shall be completed expeditiously and preferably within three months from the date of receipt of this order. 15. With the aforesaid observations and directions, the petition stands disposed of. Rule is made absolute to the aforesaid extent. No order as to cost. Direct service is permitted.