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P. Muhammed Abdul Gafoor v/s The Secretary to The Government, Government of Kerala, Information Technology Department, Thiruvananthapuram & Others

Company & Directors' Information:- INDIA INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY LTD [Active] CIN = U74140DL1992PLC048211

Company & Directors' Information:- THE INFORMATION COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72300MH1999PTC118630

Company & Directors' Information:- C H C INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U72200WB2001PLC093126

Company & Directors' Information:- A K R INFORMATION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1987PTC030157

Company & Directors' Information:- V R INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72900MH2000PTC128632

Company & Directors' Information:- K. K. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72200OR2009PTC011100

Company & Directors' Information:- S A I S INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U72100TN2010PTC075284

Company & Directors' Information:- S H INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U72200DL2005PTC135610

    WP(C). No. 40208 of 2018

    Decided On, 22 March 2019

    At, High Court of Kerala


    For the Petitioner: Sajeev Kumar K. Gopal, Advocate. For the Respondents: R1 & R2, Princy Xavier, Government Pleader.

Judgment Text

1. This writ petition is filed by the petitioner seeking to quash Ext.P1 order dated 13.03.2018, passed by the 2nd respondent, that is the District Project Manager, Akshaya District Project Officer and State Field Officer declining to permit the petitioner to conduct an Akshaya Centre as is sought for at Thurakkal in manjeri Municipality and for other related reliefs. It is also submitted that, Ext.P2 Government Order dated 19.11.2013 fixing distance criteria and maximum number of Akshaya Centres in the Municipal as well as Panchayath area are unconstitutional and therefore liable to be quashed.

2. Brief material facts for the disposal of the writ petition are as follows:-

3. Petitioner's application for establishment of Akshaya Centre at Thurakkal within the jurisdiction of Manjeri Municipality was turned down by the 2nd respondent. According to the 2nd respondent, the maximum number of Akshaya Centre that can be allotted in a Municipality is fixed as six by the 1st respondent as per Ext.P2 order. Already four Akshaya Centres are functioning in the Municipality and sanction was given to two others. So the contention is that, no further allotment is possible. According to the petitioner, the two Akshaya Centres stated to have been adopted has not so far commenced and it is not sure as to whether it will be started. Moreover, the fixation of maximum number of Akshaya Centre in Municipal area as six is against the public interest as well as to meet the requirement of the population within the Municipality. Therefore according to petitioner, Ext.P1 order suffers from the vice of arbitrariness and illegality and Ext.P2 has no rationale or any nexus sought to be achieved, to the issue of serving the people by providing more Akshaya Centres.

4. A statement is filed by the 2nd respondent refuting the allegations as well as the claims and demands raised by the petitioner. Among other contentions it is stated that, as per Government Order dated 19.11.2013 in Municipality, there is no provision to start more than six Akshaya Centres. More over presently there are four Akshaya Centres working within the Manjeri Municipality and as per Government Order dated 19.11.2013, online applications were invited for the 5th Akshaya Centre at Narukara. Online examination and interview were conducted and provisional rank list has been published and the selection process is over. The 6th Akshaya Centre at Mangalassery is in the process of notification. It is further submitted that, opening of new Akshaya Centres are purely a policy matter and Government has ample power to accord sanction for the same and it is a discretion of the Government as to whether a new Akshaya Centre is to be opened in a particular place. Therefore the sum and substance of the contention put forth by the 2nd respondent is that, petitioner has not made out any case justifying interference in Ext.P1 order passed by the 2nd respondent.

5. I have considered the rival submission made across the Bar and perused the pleadings and documents on record. The paramount contention advanced by the learned counsel for the petitioner is that, Ext.P1 is a non speaking order passed by the 2nd respondent, since no material reasons are assigned in Ext.P1 to reject the application submitted by the petitioner. So also it is submitted that, as per Ext.P2 Government Order dated 19.11.2013, a distance criteria as well as the maximum number of Akshaya Centres in Municipality and Panchayath is fixed in order to regulate the mushroom growth of said organisations in order to avoid unpleasant competition in the field. However, leaned counsel has also invited my attention to reference No.1 made in Ext.P2 dated 30.04.2005, wherein originally four Akshaya Centres were provided by the Government 13 years before. So also learned counsel for the petitioner has also submitted that, Ext.P2 itself is dated 19.11.2013, and more than five years have elapsed and the entire issues are to be reconsidered. On the other hand learned Government Pleader pointed out that, the starting of the Akshaya Centres is a policy matter that is to be taken by the Government and each and every time when an application is received, the issue is considered by the 2nd respondent by conducting a indepth study and thereafter only the applications are rejected or allowed. Therefore, while dismissing Ext.P1, 2nd respondent definitely should have taken into account such matters and bearing in mind those aspects alone, Ext.P1 order is passed.

6. Having evaluated the situations, I am of the considered opinion that, first of all in Ext.P1 whatever study done by the 2nd respondent should have been reflected. Mere dismissal of the application on the basis of the maximum number prescribed under Ext.P2 cannot be sustained under law especially due to the fact that, original allotment of four numbers were made in the year 2005 and thereafter going through the counter affidavit it is clear that, two Akshaya Centres are now proposed to be opened within the limits of the Manjeri Municipality after almost 13 years from the first allocation of four Akshaya Centres. So also in my considered view, I find force in the contention advanced by the learned counsel for the petitioner that, Ext.P2 is only a regulatory method, and it can never said to be a mandatory prescription to be strictly adhered to by the Government. So also the population of the Municipality might have gone up, the people depending on the Akshaya Centres might have increased, and the activities undertaken by the Akshaya Centres also might have increased in multifolds and multi-factorial. So much so, the people depending on such centres defenitely had gone up due to various reasons and due to the activities undertaken by the Government, its insturmnetalities companies and other organisations diversifying their activities, using modern information technology and the complexity faced by common man in handling the same. Therefore the services rendered by such centres should be people-oriented and peoplefriendly, and nobody shall be permitted to take undue advantage of the ignorance of common man in the field of modern technology. In such circumstances, healthy competition is the modality to be adopted and the same will boost up the confidence of the people to approach such centres. Those are the issues to be looked into by the 2nd respondent while considering a fresh application. Any how, nothing is reflected in Ext.P1 with respect to those aspects and any study conducted by t

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he 2nd respondent. 7 In that view of the matter and assimilating the factual and legal situations, I am of the considered opinion that, Ext.P1 suffers from the vice of arbitrariness and illegality susceptible to be interferred with by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Accordingly, I quash Ext.P1 and direct the 2nd respondent to reconsider the application unmindful of the distance rule and maximum number fixed in Ext.P2 Government Order dated 19.11.2013, at the earliest, and at any rate, within three months from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment, if required after securing participation of the petitioner. The writ petition is disposed of, accordingly.