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Ram Lal Agarwalla v/s The Central Coalfields Limited and Others.

    L.P.A. No. 298 of 2020

    Decided On, 21 October 2020

    At, High Court of Jharkhand At Ranchi

    By, THE HONORABLE CHIEF JUSTICE: DR. RAVI RANJAN & THE HONORABLE JUSTICE: S.P. CHALY
    By, J.

    For Petitioner: Pinki Anand, Senior Advocate and Chandana Kumari, Advocate And For Respondents: Amit Kumar Das, Advocate



Judgment Text


1. The matter has been heard through video conferencing with the consent of the learned counsel for the parties. They have raised no complaint regarding audio and visual quality.

2. The instant intra-court appeal is directed against the order dated 22.09.2020 passed by learned Single Judge in W.P. (C) No. 2607 of 2020, whereby and whereunder the prayer for interim relief sought for by the writ petitioner has been refused.

3. The brief facts of the case, which are required to be referred herein for proper adjudication of the lis, are as under:

The writ petitioner-appellant participated in the process of bid issued vide e-Tender dated 24.05.2019 for hiring of HEMM for OB removal, extraction and transportation of coal from Tetriakhar OCP to Rajhara Area for a period of five years, in which, the writ petitioner-appellant was found to be L-1 and accordingly, letter of acceptance was issued on 25.10.2019 stipulating therein the condition, upon which, the work was to be executed.

According to the writ petitioner-appellant all the formalities were completed for execution of the work in question but due to the local disturbances work could not be commenced. In consequence thereof, decision was taken by the respondents-CCL to take penal action against the writ petitioner for forfeiting the earnest money, debarring the writ petitioner-appellant from participating in the future bids for a period of three years as well as for recovery of the 20 % of the contract value amounting to Rs. 18,68,61,700/- and further recovery to be done by encashment of Bank Guarantee amounting to Rs. 1,95,52,050/- and also for recovery of balance amount i.e. 16,73,09,650/- from any other contract of the company or by institution of Recovery suit.

The writ petitioner-appellant, against such penal action of the respondents-authorities, has approached to this Court by invoking the extraordinary writ jurisdiction of the Court conferred under Article 226 of the Constitution of India by filing writ petition being W.P. (C) no. 2607 of 2020.

The matter was heard by learned Single Judge on 22.09.2020, on which date appearance was made by respondents-Central Coalfields Limited through their counsel, namely, Mr. Amit Kumar Das.

On that date itself, the learned counsel for the writ petitioner insisted for passing interim order of stay of the impugned order dated 11.09.2020, which was seriously objected by learned counsel for the respondents-CCL, inter alia, on the ground that the writ petition itself is not maintainable as the writ petitioner-appellant has also invoked Arbitration Clause i.e. Clause 13 A of the General Condition of Contract. It was further submitted that the writ petitioner could not commence the work in question in time despite repeated request made by the respondents-authorities, as such the writ petitioner is not entitled for any interim relief. However, four weeks time was sought for to file counter affidavit also raising issue of maintainability of the present writ petition.

The learned Single Judge, on consideration of the rival submissions of the learned counsel representing the parties, had allowed time for filing counter affidavit to the learned counsel representing the respondent-CCL and the prayer for interim relief was rejected, which is the subject matter of instant intra-court appeal.

4. The instant appeal has been listed under the heading for "Orders" in order to pass order upon order dated 22.09.2020 passed in W.P. (C) No. 2607 of 2020.

5. Ms. Pinki Anand, learned senior counsel being assisted by Ms. Chandana Kumari has submitted that the learned Single Judge while rejecting the prayer for interim relief has committed gross illegality since petitioner has been able to make out a case for passing interim order as because the aforesaid penal action has been taken without issuance of any show cause notice to the writ petitioner.

6. Mr. Amit Kumar Das, learned counsel for the respondents-CCL has vehemently opposed the aforesaid submission and has submitted that the instant appeal may not be entertained since the learned Single Judge has already ordered for listing the case after four weeks. He further submitted that counter affidavit has already been filed and as such it would be just and proper not to entertain this appeal rather the writ petition itself may be finally disposed of by the learned Single Judge.

7. Learned senior counsel for the writ petitioner upon such submission has submitted that there is no difficulty if the writ petition itself is disposed of at an early date but in the meanwhile order dated 22.09.2020 passed in W.P. (C) No. 2607 of 2020 pertaining to recovery part may be kept in abeyance.

Upon such submission of the learned counsel for the writ petitioner, Mr. Das learned counsel for the respondent-CCL has sought for adjournment of the matter for few cases so that he may seek instruction in the matter from the competent authorities of the CCL.

This Court, upon his prayer has adjourned the matter for few cases so that Mr. Das may be able to seek instruction from the competent authority of the CCL.

8. The case has been again called out and Mr. Das, learned counsel for the respondents-CCL, on instruction from the competent authority of the CCL, has very fairly submitted that so far as bank guarantee is concerned it has already been invoked and recovery part has already been acted upon but so far as the further recovery, if any, in pursuance to order dated 11.09.2020 is concerned, the competent authority of the respondents-CCL undertakes that the same will not be recovered during the pendency of the writ petition.

9. Learned senior counsel for the petitioner has not objected to such prayer and has submitted that appeal itself may be disposed of by passing appropriate order for disposal of the writ petition itself at an early date. in order to set the issue at rest, as due to the penal action taken vide order dated 11.09.2020 the writ petitioner has been debarred from participating in the bid and as such there is urgency for disposal of the writ petition at an early date and if, in the meantime, tender would be floated, the writ petitioner would not be able to participate in the tender process and as such his interest would be jeopardized.

10. Upon such submission of the learned counsel for the parties and taking into consideration the nature of issue involved in this case as also considering the undertaking furnished by the competent authorities as has been informed by learned counsel for the respondents-CCL, this Court, deems it fit and proper to dispose of the appeal at this stage, with a request to learned writ Court to decide the writ petition itself at an early date

11. In view thereof, the learned Single Judge is requested to dispose of the writ petition itself at an early date on opening of the Court after Puja Holidays.

The parties are at liberty to make a motion before the learned Single Judge for listing

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of the writ petition. So far as passing of the interim order is concerned in view of the undertaking furnished by Mr. Das, on instruction of the competent authority of the respondents-CCL to the effect that no further recovery would be made till the disposal of the writ petition, this Court orders accordingly. Let no further recovery be made till the disposal of the writ petition. 12. With the above observations and directions, the instant intra-court appeal stands disposed of. Needless to say that this Court has not exercised its mind on the merit of the issue. Accordingly, the writ petition be decided strictly on the basis of its own merit and in accordance with law. 13. Accordingly, the instant intra-court stands disposed of.
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