At, High Court of Judicature at Madras
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K. CHANDRU
For the Petitioner: R. Balasubramanian, Advocate. For the Respondents: R1, Ms. M.E. Raniselvam, AGP, R3 & R4, P.D. Audikesavalu, R6, Aditya Shivkumar, Advocates.
(Prayer: This writ petition is preferred under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for the issue of a writ of certiorarified mandamus, calling for records of the 3rd and 4th Respondents which culminated in the impugned Proceedings of the 3rd Respondent Food Corporation of India vide No.S & S2 (3) 12-13/OMSS (D) (April 2012 Tr.1) dated 23.04.2012 consequent upon empanelment No.02/02/2011-12 TN and quash the same and direct the Respondents 3 and 4 to award the tender in favour of the Petitioner.)
1. The petitioner has filed the present writ petition seeking to challenge the order issued by the Food Corporation of India, dated 23.04.2012 consequent upon the empanelment made in favour of the 6th respondent and to set aside the same with a further direction to respondents 3 and 4 to award the tender in favour of the petitioner.
2. It is seen from the records that the Government of India formulated Open Market Sale Scheme (Domestic) for the sale of wheat to bulk consumers through Food Corporation of India so as to check inflationary trends and has been issuing periodical guidelines in that regard. The Government of India made allocation of 1191.47 tonnes of wheat for Puducherry during April 2012. In order to allot those commodity, financial bids were invited from the petitioner as well as the 6th respondent by a tender dated 23.04.2012. the petitioner made an offer of Rs.1,311/- per tonne and the 6th respondent made an offer of Rs.1,335/- per tonne. Since the 6th respondent became the highest bidder, maximum quantity of 1000 tonnes were allotted to him under the quota for Puducherry and the remaining 191.47 tonnes was allotted to the petitioner.
3. It is the case of the petitioner that they are having godown inside the Union territory of Puducherry whereas the 6th respondent do not have the godown which is a disqualifiation in terms of the tender offered by the Food Corporation of India. According to the petitioner, the basic objection was that the 6th respondent do not have flour mill within the Union Territory of Puducherry and could not have bid for a quantity of wheat that was exclusively earmarked for Puducherry. It is in that premises, 6th respondent was sought to be excluded from the participation in the tender.
4. On notice from this Court, Mr.P.D.Audikesavalu, learned Standing Counsel for FCI appears and he has also filed a counter affidavit dated 18.06.2012 together with supporting document in the form of typed set. On behalf of the 6th respondent, Mr.Adithya Shivakumar appears. The qualification of the 6th respondent was sought to be supported by Food Corporation of India as per the averment made in paragraph 7 of the counter, which reads as follows:-
"7. I submit that the Sixth respondent was empanelled as a bulk consumer of wheat under OMSS(D) for Puducherry on the basis of its representation that it is a major dealer of wheat and wheat products in the retail market of Puducherry, supported by VAT Registration Certificate dated 04.10.2007 issued by the Commercial Taxes Department, Government of Puducherry, and the letter bearing No.21022/DC & CA/PDS-B1/2010/407 dated 01.03.2010 issued by the Department of Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Government of Puducherry addressed to the General Manager, FCI, Tamil Nadu Region, expressing No objection for such empanelment for that reason. It has also been verified that the flour mill of the Sixth Respondent is only about 3 kms from Puducherry, even though it is located in Tamil Nadu. In this context, it may be highlighted here that State wise quota of wheat is allocated under OMSS(D) with the intention that the stocks of these wheat will be consumed within the State allotted, so that increased availability of wheat will help in bringing down the open market prices of wheat within the State. Further, the bulk buyers of a particular State are not supposed to transfer the wheat or wheat products to other States for sale as it would defeat the intent and objective of OMSS(D). While empanelling the Sixth Respondent under OMSSD(D) for the quota of Puducherry, it has also been simultaneously ensured that it has not been included under that Scheme for the quota allocated to Tamil Nadu. In these circumstances, the complaint of the petitioner for the empanelment of the sixth respondent for the quota of Puducherry under OMSSD(D), has no basis and the same is totally unjustified."
5. It is also stated once the 6th respondent is entitled to participate in the tender and they being the highest bidder, there was no illegality in granting bulk stock of wheat in their favour. The learned counsel also referred to the order passed by the Central Government dated 06.02.2012, wherein the Central Government had only imposed condition that the stocks allotted should not be diverted to some other State for which it was not allotted. The purpose of the allotment was to bring down inflationary trends in the food grain commodities. The learned counsel also referred to the order passed by the Government of Puducherry wherein, 6th respondent was empanelled as a bulk consumer of wheat under OMSS(D) for Puducherry on the basis of its representation that
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it is a major dealer of wheat and wheat products in the retail market of Puducherry. Merely because the 6th respondent do not have flour mill will not dis-entitle them from being a retail trader within Puducherry and documents produced and the averments made in the affidavit fully supports the grant of order in favour of the 6th respondent. The objection raised by the petitioner is without substance and do not merit any consideration. 6. In the light of the above, the writ petition stands dismissed. No costs. Connected miscellaneous petitions are closed.