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National Highways Authority of India & Others v/s Srei Infrastructure Finance Limited & Others

    MAT. 476 of 2020 with CAN. Nos. 3829, 3870 of 2020
    Decided On, 24 August 2020
    At, High Court of Judicature at Calcutta
    For the Petitioner: Shamit Sanyal, M. Roy, Advocates. For the Respondents: S.N. Mookerjee, Soumabho Ghose, D.K. Sarkar, Arunabha Deb, Tanmoy Chakravarty, Ashika Daga, R1 & R2, Nirmal Kumar Maity, Advocates.

Judgment Text
The appeal is preferred against the order dated June 25, 2020, by which the learned Single Judge has given direction for filing affidavits after entertaining the writ petition.

The learned counsel on behalf of the appellants has submitted that the Court has no jurisdiction to try, receive and determine the writ application and also that the appellant has categorically raised an objection as to the jurisdiction of this Court to entertain the present writ application.

On a plain reading of Article 226(2) of the Constitution of India and the several judgments deciding the issue that service of the show-cause notice in an appropriate case would give jurisdiction to the Court to entertain the writ application, we hold that writ application is maintainable in this court.

In this regard we may gainfully refer to paragraph 10 of a Division Bench judgment dated December 24, 1985, in Appeal from Original Order (Tender) No. 4222 of 1984 (Everest Coal Co. Pvt. Ltd. v. Coal Controller & ors.), reported in 90 C.W.N. 438. Paragraph 10 reads as follows:

"10. The fact that the appellant company has its registered office at Calcutta by itself cannot give rise to any part of the cause of action within the jurisdiction of this court in respect of the aforesaid two orders made by the Governor of Bihar. Observations made by the Division Bench in the case of Union of India v. Hindusthan Aluminium Corporation AIR 1983 Cal. 304 (314) go against the appellant's case that mere existence of its registered office or sales office at Calcutta would give rise to a cause of action for filing writ petition in this court against two orders made by the Bihar Government and enforced within the State of Bihar. The Division Bench in the said reported case had inter alia held that the writ application to be maintainable because petitioner had averred that by reason of Government of India's price fixation of aluminium products it had suffered loss in its business at Calcutta where not only its sales office was situated but it held stock of aluminium products for sale. The Division Bench had further observed that if there had been either wholly or in part in Calcutta. Thus, in the said reported case the writ petition was entertained because the petitioner of the said case had come with a case that the impugned orders of the Central Government had effected its business and sale of aluminium and aluminium products at Calcutta. The Division Bench in the case of Union of India v. Hindusthan Aluminium Corporation (supra), had distinguished the decision of Sisir Kumar Mukherjee, J. in the case of Darshanlal Anadprakash v. Collector of Customs 1974 CLJ 27, that effect felt at a place of business of the petitioner of the said case by reason of imposition of duty levied on tea produced in its tea garden at Assam was too remote and incidental to constitute a part of jurisdiction. While in Darshanlal Anadprakash's case (supra), the impugned levy of customs duty was upon tea manufactured and produced at petitioner's tea garden in Assam, in Hindusthan Aluminium Corporation's case (supra), price fixation of aluminium directly affected company's right to sell aluminium and aluminium products held in stock at Calcutta. We are also in agreement with the view expressed by B. C. Ray, J. in Re : Bharat Sugar Mills Co. Ltd. AIR 1984 Cal. 102 (104). The learned Single Judge had approved unreported decision of one of us in Civil Rule No. 1398 (W) of 1975 and held that fixation of the price of levy sugar sold by sugar mills at Bihar did not give rise to any cause of action for filing a writ petition in this Court by reason that the company owning the sugar mill had its sales office at Calcutta. We accordingly hold that cause of action for filing the instant writ petition in this court did not arise merely because alleged effect was felt at the appellant's Calcutta Office of the two orders made and enforced beyond the territorial jurisdiction of this Court. The correct test would be to find out whether by reason of the making of the two impugned orders by the Bihar Government whether or not the appellant has or is likely to suffer any loss or injury within the teritorial (sic territorial) limits of this court."

We are of the firm view that this Court has jurisdiction to entertain the writ. In fact, it is not in dispute that both the show-cause notices and the impugned decision to blacklist the petitioners have been served at its office in Kolkata and the injury is felt by the writ petitioner at its office at Kolkata. These are sufficient

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ingredients to hold the cause of action in favour of the plaintiff. This Court has jurisdiction to accept and entertain the writ petition. The appeal being MAT 476 of 2020 as well as application being CAN 3870 of 2020 are dismissed. CAN 3829 of 2020 is however allowed. However, there shall be no order as to costs. Urgent photostat certified copy of this order, if applied for, be given to the parties as expeditiously as possible subject to compliance of all usual formalities.