(Prayer: Writ Petition filed Under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying to issue a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus, calling for the records of the 2nd respondent issued vide proceedings in CHTR.Sekar Enterprises (CC 110932) dated 09.04.2019, quash the same and consequently direct the respondents herein to allow the petitioner to shift and relocate his existing licence to sell petroleum products from the place at No.245, GNT Road, Gummidipoondi to the place at Survey No.342/6A2B and Survey No.342/1A2 Pappankuppam Village, Gummidipoondi Taluk.)1. The petitioner has sought for a Writ of Certiorarified Mandamus, calling for the records of the 2nd respondent issued vide proceedings in CHTR.Sekar Enterprises (CC 110932) dated 09.04.2019, quash the same and consequently for a direction to the respondents herein to allow the petitioner to shift and relocate his existing licence to sell petroleum products from the place at No.245, GNT Road, Gummidipoondi to the place at Survey No.342/6A2B and Survey No.342/1A2 Pappankuppam Village, Gummidipoondi Taluk.2. The petitioner is a proprietary concern doing business in petroleum outlet of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (in short BPCL). It is one of the earliest dealers of BPCL from the year 1964, as the dealership was obtained by the grandfather of the petitioner from Burmah Shell, the predecessor of the first respondent. The said petroleum outlet is situate in No.245, GNT Road, Gummidipoondi, Tiruvallur District, in a land which was taken on lease by the petitioner. Originally, the petitioner was granted licence for running a petrol and diesel units under two separate licences. During 1989, BPCL permitted the petitioner to move the Diesel unit to a place in SIPCOT Complex, Gummidipoondi, due to the reason that it was not convenient for the heavy vehicles to enter into the outlet. The diesel unit was also run only till 2000 at the relocated place and the same was closed thereafter. Thus the petitioner is running a petrol unit at the above mentioned address.3. As the present place where the petrol unit is being run, is a leased premises, the land owner of the site had initiated eviction proceedings. The second respondent also had advised the petitioner to find out an alternate site in Gummidipoondi Town to relocate the petroleum outlet, as the petitioner was facing eviction proceedings. Therefore, the petitioner had purchased an extent of 41 cents of land in Survey Nos.342/6A2B and 342/1A2, Pappankuppam Village, Gummidipoondi Taluk and intimated the second respondent about the readiness of the alternate site. However, the suit for eviction filed by the land owner was withdrawn on 06.06.2006 and hence there was no threat of eviction for the existing place. Therefore, the petitioner continued to operate the petroleum outlet in the existing place in No.245, GNT Road, Gummidipoondi.4. While so, the brother-in-law of the petitioner, one Vijay Kumar, had obtained licence to run the petroleum outlet from the respondents and he was in look out for the land to locate the petrol bunk. As the property purchased by the petitioner was taken as a temporary measure, the said property was given to the said Vijay Kumar for lease for 29 years 11 months. The lease was also registered in the office of the Sub Registrar, Gummidipoondi, as Document No.1449/2005 dated 23.05.2005 and it is valid up to 31.03.2035. However, the licence granted to the said Vijay Kumar was terminated in the year 2017 and BPCL itself had started running the petroleum outlet as Company Owned and Company Operated outlet. Though the petitioner was eligible for both petrol and diesel licences, he has been given licence only to deal with petrol as of now. The diesel unit could not be opened in view of the high tension wire running over the land. Therefore, being the owner of 41 cents of land and the lease is now executed in favour of the respondents company and the licence given to the private person has already been terminated, the petitioner approached the respondents to transfer and relocate his licence to run the petrol and diesel unit to the land at Survey Nos.342/6A2B and 342/1A2. As the land is belonging to the petitioner and that he is running the separate outlet in the leased premises, the petitioner made a request to the respondents to consider granting licence in his favour for resiting the petroleum outlet.5. As there was no response from the respondents, the petitioner has filed W.P. No.4242/2019 and on 14.02.2019, this Court, had directed the second respondent to consider the representation of the petitioner and pass orders within six weeks. Pursuant to the said direction, the second respondent, vide its proceedings dated 09.04.2019, had rejected the representation of the petitioner for resitement without any valid reason. The said order of rejection is under challenge in this writ petition.6. The writ petition was resisted by the respondents contending that though the petitioner was given licence to operate petrol and diesel bunks, the petitioner had requested to relocate the diesel unit to SIPCOT complex, Gummidipoondi, which was permitted by the respondents in 1989. The petitioner had stopped operating the same from the year 2000 onwards. Even after the passage of 19 years, the petitioner had not shown any interest in reviving the diesel unit, which was relocated to SIPCOT Complex.7. In the course of expansion of its business, the respondents had advertised for a retail outlet location at Gummidipoondi and granted licence to one Vijay Kumar. The said Vijay Kumar had committed serious breaches, his licence/agreement was terminated on 17.12.2017. The suit challenging the said termination filed by the Vijay Kumar, was also dismissed. In the above circumstances, the petitioner has sought for resitement of the outlet run by him to his own land to Survey Nos.342/6A2B and 342/1A2, Pappankuppam Village, Gummidipoondi Taluk. The respondents further state that the petitioner has got no statutory right or any other right under the contract for seeking such a mandamus to resite the outlet. Therefore, prayed for dismissal of the writ petition.8. The learned counsel for the petitioner would argue that the resitement sought for by the petitioner is to his own land, whereas, the present outlet is run in a leased premises and there is always the threat of eviction by the land owner. Secondly, as the termination of the licence given to Vijay Kumar has already been done in the year 2017, the outlet is being run by BPCL itself. Therefore, it would be viable for the respondents also to permit the petitioner for resitement as it would suit both the petitioner as well as the respondents. The petitioner had sought for resitement of the retail outlet based on the guidelines for resitement of retail outlet dealers in Policy Circular No.RET/SALES/RESITEMENT-1 dated 12.11.2014 issued by the first respondent Corporation. Clause 1(1.1)(e)&(f) of Resitement of a Commissioned dealership may be considered on the following grounds:a) ......b) ......c) ......d) ......e) Dealer is forced to vacate existing site by the lessor or any authority after the dealer has exhausted all legal remedies up to High Court.f) Where BPCL is unable to obtain legal redress to enable it to continue on the site and the legal department of the company confirms (a) we have no registered/valid lease/option available for the site (b) we have no protection under any local tenancy act and other Acts.9. As per clause (e) stated supra, no doubt, the petitioner faced eviction proceedings in the hands of the land owner, however, the suit was not continued. Admittedly, the lease deed was executed in favour of BPCL in 1964 for 20 years till 1984 and further it was extended till 2004. After 2004, admittedly there is no valid lease. Therefore, it is argued that there is a threat of eviction and at any time, the petitioner would be forced to vacate the existing site. As the petitioner is also having his own land, which has been leased out to the respondents and that the unit has now been operated by the respondents themselves, it would be appropriate for them to permit resitement to the petitioner.10. In support of his contention, the petitioner also placed his reliance on the judgment of this court in W.P. No.16936/2011 dated 30.11.2011 in Somasundaram v. Indian Oil Corporation and two others. The above judgment came to be passed in an identical situation, this court directed the Oil Corporation to reconsider the issue and pass appropriate orders, as the new place belonged to the petitioner therein and there will not be any problem in resiting.11. However, the said judgment was distinguished by the learned senior counsel appearing for the respondents on the ground that the resitement place in the above case was free from any encumbrance, whereas, in the present case, there is an existing lease which is valid till 2035 in favour of the Corporation itself. Therefore, when the petitioner himself is a lessor, it will not be open to him to ask for resitement.12. The learned senior counsel also placed his reliance on a decision of the Hon-ble Supreme Court in Harikrishna Mandir Trust vs. State of Maharashtra reported in 2020 SCCONLINE SC 631, and contended that the petitioner cannot claim resitement, as a matter of right, there is no statutory duty on the part of the respondents to agree for resitement, when there is no obligation for them to do so and they cannot be compelled to agree for resitement. Paragraph 102 of the said judgment is extracted below for better appreciation.102. In appropriate cases, in order to prevent injustice to the parties, the Court may itself pass an order or give directions which the government or the public authorities should have passed, had it properly and lawfully exercised its discretion. In Directors of Settlements, Andhra Pradesh v. M.R. Apparao10. Pattanaik J. observed:“One of the conditions for exercising power under Article 226 for issuance of a mandamus is that the court must come to the conclusion that the aggrieved person has a legal right, which entitles him to any of the rights and that such right has been infringed. In other words, existence of a legal right of a citizen and performance of any corresponding legal duty by the State or any public authority, could be enforced by issuance of a writ of mandamus, “Mandamus” means a command. It differs form the writs of prohibition or certiorari in its demand for some activity on the part of the body or person to whom it is addressed. Mandamus is a command issued to direct any person, corporation, inferior courts or
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government, requiring him or them to do some particular thing therein specified which appertains to his or their office and is in the nature of a public duty. A mandamus is available against any public authority including administrative and local bodies, and it would lie to any person who is under a duty imposed by a statute or by the common law to do a particular act. In order to obtain a writ or order in the nature of mandamus, the applicant has to satisfy that he has a legal right to the performance of a legal duty by the party against whom the mandamus is sought and such right must be subsisting on the date of the petition. The duty that may be enjoined by mandamus may be one imposed by the Constitution, a statute, common law or by rules or orders having the force of law.”13. In view of the same, the rejection is correct. However, as and when the petitioner faces threat of eviction from the land owner, his request for resitement, shall be considered by the respondents/BPCL.14. With the above observation and direction, the writ petition is disposed of. However, there shall be no order as to cost. Consequently, the connected writ miscellaneous petition is closed.