w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n

Kavita v/s Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd.

Company & Directors' Information:- BHARAT PETROLEUM CORPORATION LIMITED [Active] CIN = L23220MH1952GOI008931

Company & Directors' Information:- A R C INDIA PETROLEUM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U11202TG2009PTC063249

Company & Directors' Information:- S R PETROLEUM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U23200MH1999PTC122909

Company & Directors' Information:- N. P. PETROLEUM LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U23201UP1995PLC018153

Company & Directors' Information:- R H PETROLEUM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U23209MH1996PTC101701

Company & Directors' Information:- K S M PETROLEUM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U01120TZ1978PTC000800

Company & Directors' Information:- A. M. PETROLEUM PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51524MH2014PTC255581

Company & Directors' Information:- S V S PETROLEUM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2002PTC116940

Company & Directors' Information:- INDIA PETROLEUM COMPANY LIMITED [Dissolved] CIN = U99999MH1936PTC002453

    Civil Writ Petition No. 6689 of 2018

    Decided On, 06 May 2019

    At, High Court of Rajasthan


    For the Appearing Parties: Tejaram Choudhary, Sunil Beniwal, S.G. Ojha, Suresh Kumbhat, Advocates.

Judgment Text

1. This writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India has been preferred claiming the following reliefs:

"I. The notice of list of selected candidate of LPG distributorship for the location Balera showing the name of respondent No.3 may kindly be quashed and set aside.

II. The respondents may further be directed to give first preference to the petitioner for LPG distributorship for location Balera being resident of the said Gram Panchayat and accordingly grant LPG distributorship;

III. Any other appropriate order or direction, which this Hon'ble Court considers just and proper in the facts and circumstances of this case, may kindly be passed in favour of the petitioner."

2. Brief facts of this case, as noticed by this Court, are that the petitioner participated in the process of allotment of an LPG distributorship in pursuance of the advertisement issued by the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), amongst others, for the location of Balera in the State of Rajasthan.

3. The eligibility conditions, as per the advertisement, were mentioned in sub-clause D, which provides that there shall be preference for the draw of lots to the eligible candidates. The said eligibility conditions, which are relevant to resolve the present dispute, read as under:-

"(i) The applicant resident of the concerned Gram Panchayat of the location.

(ii) The applicant resident of sub division of the concerned location.

(iii) Applicant not resident of concerned Gram Panchayat or concerned sub division of the concerned location."

4. After the selection process, respondent No.3 was selected for allotment of LPG distributorship by the BPCL for Village Balera. The petitioner immediately made a complaint to the Regional Manager, BPCL, Udaipur in accordance with the grievance redressal clause on the count that respondent No.3 was not a permanent resident of the location in question i.e. Village Balera.

5. In the aforementioned complaint, the petitioner mentioned that respondent No.3 belonged to Village Bichhawadi. The petitioner further claimed that since sub clause D, as reproduced hereinabove, clearly mentions that preference shall be given to the applicants, who are residents of the sub division of the concerned location, and the same thus, required the BPCL to issue LPG distributorship in favour of the petitioner.

6. The BPCL sent a communication to the Tehsildar, Chitalwana to verify the residence status of respondent No.3. The respondent No.3 filed an affidavit before the respondents authorities claiming herself to be the tenant of one Hanchanda Ram, and that, she was residing in Village Balera since 2013. The said affidavit is Annexure 9 of the writ petition.

7. The aforementioned complaint was further forwarded by the Tehsildar to Patwar Halka, Balera seeking report about the status of residence of the respondent No.3 in regard to the location in question i.e. Village Balera. The petitioner also submitted the version of Gram Sewak, Panchayat Samiti Chitalwana stating there was no ration card issued by Gram Panchayat, Bhatki in favour of respondent No.3, and thus, she is not the resident of Village Balera.

8. Learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the respondents authorities have not acted in accordance with their own policy and have relied upon the reports which are not correct, as respondent No.3 was not a resident of the concerned Panchayat Village and would not fall under the preferential clause issued by the BPCL.

9. Learned counsel for the petitioner further submitted that the petitioner has submitted an affidavit that respondent No.3 is not a resident of Panchayat Village in question and such affidavit has not been controverted by another affidavit of the respondent.

10. Learned counsel for the petitioner also submitted that respondent No.3 was not the resident of Village Balera until 30.11.2017 when the draw for allotment of the LPG distributorship was opened.

11. Learned counsel for the petitioner further submitted that on 22.12.2017, the respondent No.3 made a Bhamashah Card, and also, an affidavit has been made on 22.12.2017 regarding the rent note.

12. Learned counsel for the petitioner also submitted that on 08.12.2017, there was an amendment made in the Aadhar Card issued to the respondent No.3, and as per the said amendment, the respondent No.3 does not become a resident of Village Balera. The Tehsildar and the District Collector, Jalore have erred in treating her as a resident of the said Village Balera.

13. Learned counsel for the petitioner also submitted that the Aadhar Card date i.e. 06.02.2017 remained the date of original issuance of the Aadhar Card, whereas the same was amended subsequently after the date of opening of draw on 30.11.2017.

14. In support of his submissions, learned counsel for the petitioner relied upon the precedent law laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Manohar Vs. State of Karnataka & Ors., (1995) Supp4 SCC 218, relevant para 2 of which reads as under:

"2. In spite of an opportunity having been given to the respondents to file counter-affidavit by our order dated 11.10.1993, till date no counter-affidavit has been filed. The Tribunal has dismissed the case on the ground of laches. In view of the fact that the respondents have not controverted the explanation given for the laches, we find that there is some justification for the appellant to file the proceedings at a belated stage. However, the relief cannot be granted here since no counter-affidavit has been filed. In the circumstances, we remit the matter to the Tribunal to examine the case on merits and dispose of the matter according to law."

15. Reliance has also been placed by learned counsel for the petitioner on the judgment rendered by the Hon'ble Allahabad High Court in M/s. Jagan Prakashan (P) Limited Vs. The Industrial Tribunal (IV) U.P., (1992) CivCC 232 (Allahabad), relevant para 8 of which reads as under:-

"8. The second objection taken by the Tribunal for not accepting the application is that the application did not accompany a medical certificate or injury report. In my opinion, the Tribunal was not justified in taking this view in view of the fact that the affidavit filed in support of the application remained uncontroverted. In number of cases, it has been held that uncontroverted affidavit should normally be believed unless there was something on record falsifying the facts mentioned in the affidavit. The learned Tribunal has not pointed out any such material on record for not accepting the affidavit. Learned counsel for respondents has also not been able to point out any such material on which basis it could be said that affidavit filed by petitioner should not be believed. In the facts and circumstances of the case, the Tribunal committed a manifest illegality in rejecting the application on the ground that medical certificate or injury report was not filed."

16. Learned counsel has also placed reliance on the judgment rendered by this Hon'ble Court in Prem Singh & Ors. Vs. State of Rajasthan & Ors., (2001) 3 WLC(Raj) 470, relevant para 19 of which reads as under:-

"19. The impugned order is based on the Hydrological Survey or Complete Survey Report which makes it evident that in certain cases there was difference in the design datas and the existing datas so far as the lands of the petitioners are concerned. It cannot be said to be a general order for every Chak or outlet as the impugned order shows that the Superintending Engineer himself had held in large number of cases that there was no difference in the said datas, therefore, no change or adjustment was required. The reply filed by the respondents makes it evident that the volume of discharge of water from the said outlets which have been directed to be remodelled, was either more or less than required as per their designs. The order had been passed in public interest so that the tenure-holders may get their due shares in water and the persons having their lands on the tale of the minor or canal, may also get sufficient supply of water for irrigating their lands. The respondents have given an undertaking that neither the due share of the tenureholders would be curtailed nor the irrigation facilities would, by any means, be adversely affected in response to due design-share of water. Undoubtedly, the State Government is under an obligation to provide water for irrigation facilities as per the actual need or as per the design-share of water and not beyond that and if the cultivators are getting the excess water, the respondents are under the legal obligation to control and administer the system by either readjusting or remodelling the outlets. Respondents filed the reply on 21st January, 2001. Petitioners did not consider it appropriate to file rejoinder-affidavit, rebutting the contents thereof. Therefore, the stand taken by the respondents cannot be doubted as it goes unrebutted."

17. On the other hand, learned counsel for the respondentBPCL submitted that the process in question was made strictly in accordance with law and on the basis of the information given by the eligible applicants.

18. Learned counsel for the respondent-BPCL further submitted that on receiving the complaint from the petitioner, the Field Verification of Credentials of selected candidate i.e. respondent No.3 was carried out by nominated Field Verification Committee.

19. Learned counsel for the respondent-BPCL also submitted that all points of complaint were covered in the aforementioned Field Verification of Credentials, and after taking proper report from Tehsildar, Chitalwana and after verification of the residentship of respondent No.3 as being the resident of Gram Panchayat Balera, the BPCL proceeded with the process of allotment of LPG distributorship.

20. Learned counsel for the respondent-BPCL has shown to this Court the communication made by the Tehsildar, Chitalwana on 12.02.2018, in which he has verified the residentship of respondent No.3 in Village Balera.

21. Learned counsel for the respondent-BPCL further submitted that in order to re-verify the fact regarding residentship of respondent No.3, another report was sought from the District Collector, Jalore so as to ascertain as to whether respondent No.3 is a resident of Gram Panchat, Balera or not. In response to the said communication made by the BPCL, the District Collector, Jalore vide communication dated 28.03.2018 confirmed that respondent No.3 is the resident of Gram Panchayat, Balera since 09.01.2013. The aforementioned reports of the Tehsildar as well as District Judge, Jalore have been brought on record by the BPCL as Annexure-R/1/1 and Annexure-R/1/2 respectively alongwith the reply of the BPCL.

22. Learned counsel for the BPCL further pointed out that the selected candidate respondent No.3 owns a plot of land for a godown in Village, Balera, Tehsil Chitalwana, District Jalore. Further the clause, which is being invoked by the petitioner as eligibility criteria, required only residentship and not permanent residentship.

23. Learned counsel for the BPCL also submitted that the Domicile was not in the eligibility criteria for inter se priority list I for DKV (Durgam Kshetriya Vitrak Category) location, and it was simply for the applicants who are residing in Gram Panchayat, Balera, and here, since respondent No.3 was a resident of Village Balera, therefore, she was treated as eligible for inter se priority I for the location in question.

24. Learned counsel for the BPCL further submitted that the complaint made by the petitioner was scrutinized and a well considered decision has been taken by the Corporation. Learned counsel for the respondent-BPCL also submitted that the Corporation has conducted the selection process strictly as per the guidelines, and that, no illegality or irregularity has been committed by the BPCL, as the contents of the complaint made by the petitioner were found to be false and incorrect.

25. After hearing learned counsel for the parties as well as perusing the record of the case alongwith the precedent law cited at the Bar, this Court is of the opinion that invocation of the writ jurisdiction, pertaining to a factual dispute, is always a challenge for the Court, which ought not to be accepted till a definite outcome is in sight. However, after hearing counsel for the arties at length and examining the record, this Court finds that the allotment of LPG distributorship by the BPCL is being challenged by the petitioner, a co-contender alongwith the respondent No.3, on the sole ground that respondent No.3 was not a permanent resident of Village Balera.

26. This Court further finds that the BPCL has sufficiently shown that the Field Verification Committee was in place to handle the complaint and the same took reports from Tehsildar, Chitalwala as well as District Collector, Jalore who in their respective reports dated 12.2.2018 and 28.03.2018 have confirmed the residentship of respondent No.3 as Village Balera.

27. This Court has also seen that as per the BPCL, the requirement was of simple residence and not of a permanent resident or a resident with domicile certificate, and thus, the simple residentship of respondent No.3, which has been confirmed by the Tehsildar as well as the District Collector, Jalore cannot be gone into any further by this Court.

28. Primarily, this Court is satisfied regarding the process of redressal by constituting the Field Verification Committee and its report for the purpose of the allotment in question. The word in the guidelines is 'resident' and not 'permanent resident' or 'permanent domicile'. The DKV (Durgam Kshetriya Vitrak Category) location requires that the applicant should be a resident of the location, for which the distributorship is to be granted. The BPCL has already brought the fact on record that respondent No.3

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owns a plot of land for the godown in Village, Balera, Tehsil Chitalwana, District Jalore, and as per the reports of Tehsildar and the District Collector, Jalore, she is a resident of Village Balera. 29. The contention of affidavit of the petitioner being uncontroverted is of no consequence, as this Court has only gone by the records produced by the BPCL, and not by the assertions. 30. On the learned counsel for the petitioner asserting vehemently before this Court that the Aadhar Card of respondent No.3 was forged and fraudulent, learned counsel for the BPCL was directed to produce the original Aadhar Card of respondent no.3, which was produced in the Court and the same, on a bare perusal, seems to be an original Aadhar Card, and thus, the claim of the petitioner that the said Aadhar Card is fraudulent falls flat. 31. Regarding the date of issuance of the Aadhar Card to respondent No.3, this Court does not find it necessary to go into the dates of Aadhar Card. This Court's conclusion is based upon the reports of the Tehsildar and the District Collector, Jalore, the reply filed by the BPCL regarding the ownership of a plot of land by respondent No.3 at Village Balera, and the bare perusal of the guidelines as well as the fact that a valid Aadhar Card is in existence. This Court cannot go on a fact finding mission beyond this, and thus, no interference is called for in the present writ petition. 32. Consequently, the present writ petition is dismissed. Stay application No.6674/2018 also stands dismissed accordingly.