w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Shimal Investment And Trading Company v/s Union of India

    Civil Appeal No. 3125 of 2001, Civil Miscellaneous Appeal No. 5492 of 2001

    Decided On, 01 June 2001

    At, High Court of Delhi

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE MUKUL MUDGAL

    For the Appearing Parties: Ankur Talvar, Dhiraj Nair, Kapil Sibal, Kirit Raval, Kum Kum Sen, Maninder Singh, Pratibha M.Singh, R. Nath, Rachna Katyat, Vikash Mohanty, Advocates.



Judgment Text

MUKUL MUDGAL, J.


(1) THIS writ petition challenges the demand of Rs. 4,38,92,663. 00 as per the Recovery notice dated 8/5/2001, issued by the Additional District Magistrate based on the impugned Demand Notice dated 24/2/2000, issued by respondent No. 2, i. e. , National pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (for short the 'nppa') under the Department of Chemicals and fertilizers, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India.


(2) THE NPPA by its Notice dated 24/2/2000 sought to recover a sum of Rs. 3,29,71,014. 00 from the petitioner for the period February, 199 8/12/1999 on account of overcharging in the sales of Gramogyl formulations by the petitioner in excess of the notified price.


(3) ON 3rd of September, 1996 under the. exercise of the powers, conferred by Para 9 of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995 (for short the 'dpco'). The prices of the Nalidixic acid + Metronidazole Tablet were fixed as under: Name of the Strength Pack Size Ceiling



Formulation Price (Rs)



__________________________________________________________________________



Nalidixic Acid + Nalidixic Acid 300 MG 6's AL/bls 12. 70



Metronidazole Tab Metronidazole 200 MG"



(4) THEREAFTER on 27/1/1998, the Notification was issued for fixing the prices of scheduled formulations on prorata basis. The relevant para of the said Order dated 27/1/1998 as under:


"s. O. 83 (E) - In exercise of the powers conferred by the sub-paragraph (3) of paragraph 9 of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995 read with No. S. O. 637 (E)dated the 4/9/1997, issued by the Government of India in the Ministry of chemicals and Fertilizers, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, hereby notifies that the manufactures of all the Scheduled formulation pack sizes different (Torn the notified pack size under sub-paragraphs (1) and (2) of the paragraph 9 of the said Order, shall work out the price for such pack sizes, in respect of tablets and capsules of the same strength or composition packed in different strips or blisters, on prorata basis of the latest ceiling price fixed for such formulations under sub-paragraphs (1) and (2) of the said order. "


(5) NOTICE was issued by the NPPA on 24/02/2000, informing the petitioner that it had been manufacturing Gramogy tablets as a pack of 8 tablets (500 mg) and thus were required to adopt prorata ceiling prices of Rs. 16. 80 with effect from 1998 for the pack of 8 tablets as per the Notification dated 27/1/1998. The Notice further stated that since the petitioner-Company continued to charge Rs. 24. 65 for a strip of 6 tablets and R. 31. 80 for a strip of 8 tablets, the said prices charged by the petitioner-Company amounted to overcharging and since no information was furnished by the petitioner regarding the actual quantity of gramogyl formulations sold as demanded by the letter dated 2/8/1999 sent by the NPPA to the petitioner, the amount was worked out on the basis of the ORG Data. The said Notice gave 15 day's opportunity to the petitioner to show cause why action should not be taken to recover Rs. 3,79,16,666. 00 from the petitioner-Company. The relevant portion of the said Notice dated 24/2/2000 reads as under:


"it is estimated that your company has obtained an unauthorised benefit of Rs. 3,29,71,014. 00 (Rupees Three Crores Twenty Nine lacs Seventy One Thousands fourteen Only) by way of overcharging from the consumers in respect of Gramogyl tablets, during the period from Feb. '98 to Dec. '99. The details of the overcharged amount is given in Annexure-1. "


The petitioner-Company replied to the said Notice dated 24/2/2000 on 23/3/2000. The relevant portion of the said reply is as follows: "we would now like to state the position post 27/01/1998. We had explained to you that a batch was already under production when the notification was issued. Your Statements on overcharging for the period February, 199 8/12/1999, as per Annexures I and II, is also factually incorrect. In a case where an official price has to be applicable from a particular Batch No. and Date of Manufacture, the figures can never, and should never be taken from ORG data, as they would also include stocks manufactured prior to February, 1998. This is evident from the fact that you have indicated a sale of 893. 96 strips of 6's for which you have calculated the overcharged amount of Rs. 9. 65,924, whereas the fact is that the last batch of 6's strips was produced on 12/8/1996, whereas the Notification was issued on 3/9/1996 for the first time. We further wish to inform you that subsequently the company had stopped the manufacture of conventional tablets and introduced Dispersible Tablets, as the market indicated its preference, as a value added alternate dosage form, which would result in better patient compliance. To meet marketing demand, the product was developed and manufactured after obtaining a valid specific manufacturing licence from the State Drug Controller. "


(6) THE sum and substance of the reply was that from 12/8/1996 last batch of 6's strips of Gramogyl was produced and presently the petitioner-Company was making only dispersible Tablets. The Company also set out in the said reply dated 23/3/2000, the basic difference's in the physical characteristics of the 2 products as follows:


"the basic difference in the physical characteristics of the product are as follows:- CHARACTERISTIC gramogyl TABLET gramogyl DISTAB



Average Weight 640 mg 1000 mg



Composition Nalidixic Acid Nalidixic Acid 300 gm



300 gm + Metronidazole Benzoate



metronidazole (as Metronidazole 200 mg



200 mg


Type of Blister Pack Aluminium Foil



Packing



Coating Film Coated Uncoated



It needs to be appreciated that the salts of Metronidazole are different in both the dosage forms viz Metro plain in conventional coated tablets and Metronidazole benzoate in Dispersible tablets, the notified prices of which are different viz Rs. 469. 00 and Rs. 429 per kg respectively. The mix of raw materials required for Dispersible tablets is vastly different than for conventional tablets. The same holds true packing materials. "


(7) ON 2/6/2000, the NPPA again wrote to the petitioner pursuant to the reply sent by the petitioner on 23/3/2000. The relevant portion of the said letter dated 2/6/2000 reads as follows:


"it is beyond doubt, as established from the market survey, that you have been producing and selling Gramogyl Tabs 8's pack, after January, 1998 i. e. the date on which pro-rata price became applicable to you as well. So far, question of not producing 6's packs of formulation under reference is concerned, as already communicated in the notice the amount of notice was provisional and was without prejudice to any change based on further information. It is really very surprising to note that while you have refuted the claim in respect of 6's pack, you have chosen to remain silent on the claim of 8's pack and information about the production and sale after January, 1998. The ceiling prices notified for Nalidixic Acid formulations vide S. O. No. 619 (E) dated 03/09/96 are applicable for all tablets including dispersible tablets and applicable to gramogyl Tabs. 8's pack manufactured and sold by your company by virtue of notification S. O. No. 83 (E) dated 27/01/1998. In view of above, NPPA reiterates that your company have overcharged in respect of the formulation under reference w. e. f. February, 1998 onwards and tentatively this amount works out to Rs. 3,29,71,014 (Rupees Three Crore Twenty Nine Lakh seventy One Thousand Fourteen Only) and interest due thereon as per details already provided to you vide our even number letter-cum-show cause notice dated 24/02/2000. "


By the said letter dated 2/6/2000, therefore, a final opportunity of 15 days to show cause was given to the petitioner as to why action should not be taken to recover the amount of Rs. 3,79,16,666. 00 and the interest accrued thereon as per the Para 13 of the DPCO'95 read with section 7 (A) of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.


(8) IN response to the said letter dated 2/6/2000, the petitioner sent a Letter dated 9/6/2000 to NPPA. The relevant portion of the said letter reads as follows:


"we reiterate the contentions already made in our letter No. SITC/99-2000 dated 23/3/2000, and in order to put the whole issue into its correct perspective we draw your attention to:1. One batch of Gramogyl Tablets 8's was already in an advanced stage of production, and to avoid wastage of packing material, it was released in the market. It is, therefore, not correct to say that we chose to remain silent on the 8's pack. 2. Thereafter, we switched over to Dispersible Tablets for which no Ceiling Prices have, to date, been fixed, which would have to be mandatorily followed by the Small scale Sector. 3. Your contention that the prices notified for Conventional Tablets are applicable to all tablets, including Dispersible Tablets, makes no logic as technologically these are different products. The detailed submissions made in our letter under reference, establishes the grounds, a copy of our Letter of 23/3/2000 is enclosed herewith to enable you to have the technical aspects looked at appropriately. We will be happy to provide further details, if desired. "


(9) THUS the recovery has been sought by NPPA for the overcharged amount on the basis of the following tabulated statement: "statement of overcharged Amount by M/s. Oscar Laboratories Ltd. During the period Feb. 98 to Dec. 99 1 2 3 4 5 6 7



__________________________________________________________________________



Name of Ceiling Excise Price Price Quantity Overcharged



the Price duty charged Over- Sold Amount



Preparation fixed by by the charged (in Strip) Rs.



thegovt. Co. (MRP) per



vide Noti. Rs. Strip Rs.



Dated 3/9/96



pro-Rata



rs.



Gramogy Tabs



(Strip)



8's 16. 80 1. 46 (Actual) 30. 34 12. 08 2649428 32005090



(Actual)



6's 12. 70 1. 14 (Approx.) 24. 65 10. 81 89396 965924



(Approx.)


__________________________________________________________________________



Total 32971014"



__________________________________________________________________________




(10) ON 23/3/2001, a reminder was sent to the petitioner in the wake of the letters dated 2/6/2000 and 17/11/2000, sent by the NPPA, seeking the reply of the petitioner-Company before 9th April, failing which action for recovery as arrears of land revenue was to be taken.


(11) MR. Kapil Sibal, the learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner stated that the period of demand in the writ petition is February, 199 8/12/1999.


(12) THE sum and substance of the case of the petitioner is contained 'in the letter dated 29/3/2001, sent by the petitioner-Company to the following effect:


"we once again re-iterate the following: 1. Once batch of Gramogy Tablets 8's was already in an advanced stage of production and to avoid wastage of packing material, it was released in the market. 2. Thereafter, we switched over to Dispersible Tablets for which no Ceiling Prices have, to date, been fixed, which would have to be mandatorily followed by the Small scale Sector. Further, your direction to submit the details of production, sales and price from 1/1/98 to 31/10/2000 suggests that you are of the view that prices notified for conventional Tablets are applicable to Dispersible Tablets, even if the salt of the bulk drug is different and NPPA must notify different prices for the two salts. We once again urge you to have this view examined by your technical department and confirm to us. "


(13) THE learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner has thus submitted that Dispersible tablets have not been subjected to a ceiling price and the impugned Demand Notice, issued by NPPA, ie. , respondent No. 2 is thus invalid. For this purpose, the learned counsel has submitted that it is not in dispute that the manufacture of Gramogyl tablets prior to 3/9/1996 was not covered by the DPCO'95. He has further relied on the differences between the Dispersible Tablets and the Gramogyl Tablets which were originally manufactured by the petitioner-Company.


(14) LEARNED counsel has highlighted Annexure P-3 to the rejoinder to contend that while gramogyl Tablets for which the demand is levied contained 'nalidixic Acid (300 mg) and metronidazole (200 mg)', the Dispersible Tablets which were subsequently manufactured by the petitioner contained 'nalidixic Acid (300 mg) and Metronidazole Benzoate (322 mg)' which was equivalent to Metronidazole (200 mg). He has relied upon the table therein to suggest that there are certain other ingredients which are contained essentially to make the tablet Dispersible which formulation according to him have several advantages over the gramogyl tablets particularly for the elderly. The Learned counsel for the petitioner has thus submitted that it is for the respondent No2-NPPA, to show that the price sought to be recovered is for the sale of a product which has the same strength and composition as of the product specified and notified and this burden is on the NPPA.


(15) HE has submitted that the manufacture of the Gramogyl Tablets in the pack of 6's strips had been stopped as far back as August, 1996 and only one Plain Film Coated Gramogyl tablets batch was in the manufacturing process at the time of issue of the Notification dated 27/1/1998. It is also stated in the rejoinder that as a part of an amalgamation with Shimal investment and Trading Company, i. e. , the petitioner-Company effective 29/8/1999, the erstwhile Oscar Company had discontinued its manufacture Gramogyl formulations and surrendered its licences and transferred the brand name to M/s Oscar Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. on 20/3/1989. It is further submitted that the technical parameters of the Dispersible and the Conventional form are vastly different and Indian Pharmacopoeia specifies different standards for disintegration time for plain film-coated and dispersible tablets and consequently gramogyl Tablet had a disintegration time not exceeding 30 minutes whereas Gramogyl dispersible Tablet had a disintegration time of three minutes. He further highlighted the fact that different ingredients were required for the two products.


(16) MR. Kirit N. Rawal, the learned Additional Solicitor General, appearing on behalf of respondents 1 and 2 has submitted that Para 8 (6) of DPCO provided that no manufacturer or importer shall market a new pack, if not covered under sub-para 3 of Para 9, or a new formulation or a new dosage form of his existing Scheduled formulation without obtaining the prior approval of its price from the Government. He further pointed out what according to him was a discrepancy in the dates of cessation of manufacture given by the petitioner-Company. He has submitted that at Page 44 of the petition, the case of the petitioner was that the last batch of Gramogyl Tablet in the pack of 6's strips was produced in August, 1996 and the case was not that the production was stopped, which is contrary to the petitioner's own plea at Page 22 of the petition in Ground (F) to the effect that the manufacture of gramogyl Tablets was, stopped with effect from 26. 8. 1999 when the manufacturing licence was surrendered. He has further submitted that the essential physical characteristics of both the products even according to the petitioner are the same, i. e. , Nalidixic Acid which is present in both the forms in the same quantity and Metronidazole (200 mg) which though-present as Metronidazole Benzoate in dispersible formulation but was equivalent to the same quantity as Metronidazole (200 mg) contained in the Gramogyl Tablet.


(17) MR. Raval submitted that even the permission granted on 28. 4. 98 by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi specified that the dispersible tablet contains the aforesaid quantities. He has also referred to the original Notification dated 3/9/1996 which also prescribed the same physical characteristics. He has relied on the tabulation for the period February, 1998 to December, 1999 to show that the petitioner had overcharged for Gramogyl tablets. He has further highlighted the fact that after the show cause notice dated 1/2/2000, a reminder was sent on 2/06/2000. Another opportunity was given on 23. 3. 2001 which reminded the petitioner to furnish information. He thus submitted that it the petitioner who has been recalcitrant in furnishing details and specific dates of cessation of manufacture of gramogyl as well as the quantities manufactured and shied away from furnishing the information and even today the writ petition has furnished divergent statements about the date of stopping of manufacture of Gramogyl Tablets. He highlighted the fact the petitioner had failed to give a categorical reply to the NPPA in spite of persistent queries as to when it had stopped the manufacture of Gramogyl Tablets and started the manufacture of Gramogyl dispersible Tablets. He further submitted that even assuming that the petitioner's case that it had switched over to Gramogyl Dispersible Tablet is accepted then the identical nature of the essential characteristics of the two products precluded the said challenge of the petitioner as the two ingredients Nalidixic Acid and Metronidazole were present in identical quantities and addition of certain other non-essential peripherals could not make the DPCO inapplicable. He has further submitted that the petitioner Company is in fact held by the ranbaxy Group and is thus trying to evade the DPCO 1995 by donning the mantle of a small scale unit.


(18) HE has further submitted that in matters such as the present one which arose from a drug price control order affecting public interest, interim orders should not be granted and for this purpose he has relied upon Bulk Drug Manufacturer Association and Another Vs union of India and Another 2000 (55) DRJ (DB) 776 (Paras 16-17) @ P. 787. He has also relied on the judgment reported as Union of India and Another Vs Cynamide India Ltd. and another AIR 1987 SC 1802 (Para 84) to contend that price fixation is not the function of a writ Court. He has further submitted that the Hon'ble Supreme Court laid down in State of west Bengal and Others Vs Calcutta Hardware Stores and Others 1986 (2) SCC 203 that in matters affecting essential commodities, interim orders ought not to be granted under Article 226. He submitted at the worst there are two views possible even accepting in toto the petitioner's case and taking of a possible view is not amenable to scrutiny by a writ Court. He submitted that the adoption of ORG Data is compelled by the petitioner's deliberate attempt not to furnish the details in spite of several opportunities.


(19) MR. Sibal in rejoinder has rebutted the applicability of Para 8 (6) of the DPCO 1995 (which he has fairly conceded, if applicable would certainly, cover even the dispersible tablets) on the ground that the petitioner being a small scale industry, by virtue of the exemption Order dated 2/3/1995, issued by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizerts, was exempted from the operation of Para 6 of the said Order, if such Scheduled formulations was not covered under paragraph 9 of the said Order. He has further relied on the Certificate given by Delhi Administration on 8. 2. 90 to Oscar Laboratories Ltd. , as a small scale industry. The said Oscar Laboratories is stated to be the predecessor-in-interest of the petitioner-Company acquired by an amalgamation Order dated 6/5/1999, passed by the learned company Judge of this Court. The petitioner-Company was known as Ranbaxy Holdings pursuant to the change of name with effect from 3. 5. 2001.


(20) THE principal question which is raised in the present writ petition is as to whether a formulation for which the prices of essential constitutes are fixed by the DCPO can be produced in another form with additional inputs such as those which makes it dispersible as in the present case and whether in such a case fixation of DPCO will continue to apply to such a drug which has the same essential constituents, in addition to other added ingredients. The main challenge in the writ petition is thus as to whether the prices fixed for "gramogyl" tablet will ipso facto be applicable to the dispersible tablet manufactured by the petitioner and may require consideration by this Court so long as the petitioner has the status of a small scale industry which precludes the application of para 6 (6) of the DPCO which reads as under:


"no manufacturer or importer shall market a new pack, if not overed under sub-paragraph 3 of Para 9, or a new formulation or a new dosage form of his existing scheduled formulation without, obtaining the prior approval of its price from the Governments. "


Thus I am of the view that at this stage while the certificate of a small scale company issued to the petitioner's predecessor Company stands, prima facie its benefit cannot be denied to the petitioner and it is entitled to avail of the applicability of Para 8 (6) of DPCO 1995. The plea of the learned counsel for respondent Nos. 1 and 2 that Ranbaxy is the real company involved can only be considered if the respondents 1 and 2 are able to satisfy the Court that the petitioner Company falls within the rules to the exemption Order dated 2/3/1995,which if established would take the petitioner outside the purview of the said exemption order. Consequently the writ petition deserves to be admitted for consideration. Admit.


(21) BY an additional affidavit, filed on 29/05/2001, it was inter-alia averred by respondent no. 2 that it was the plea of the petitioner that the manufacture of Gramogy tablets was discontinued since 26. 8. 99 and the manufacturing licence surrendered. It is submitted that the writ petition warrants dismissal for misstatements as purchase of 8 tablets pack of gramogyl has been/made from the market of batches of manufacture of the years 2000 and 2001. Mr. Sibal has countered this plea by relying on an affidavit dated 31/5/2001 which avers that trade mark for Gramogyl has been assigned by the petitioner by a Deed of assignment dated 23/8/1999 to Oscar Pharmaceuticals who may have been selling Gramogyl. He further submitted in Court that Oscar Pharmaceuticals was not the same as Oscar laboratories. Pvt. Ltd. who was the predecessor-in-title of the petitioner. This plea of respondent No. 2 of misleading the Court would, therefore, be considered after completion of pleadings. In the hearing on 31. 5. 2001, Mr. Sibal further submitted that in Para 5 of the additional affidavit dated 29/5/2001, the respondent No. 2 has now given up the original case as set out in the Show Cause Notice dated 24/2/2000 and reiterated in subsequent notices to the effect that provisions of DPCO 1995 were violated by overcharging in the sale of Gramogyl tablets. The letter dated 24/2/2000 states as under;


"on the basis of the examination made by this office it is clearly established that your Company wilfully violating the provisions of DPCO 1995, by overcharging in the sale of Gramogyl Tablets. "


(22) PARA 5 of the additional affidavit dated 29/5/2001 reads as under:-


"5. That it is the case of the respondent No. 2 that the ceiling price is applicable to all the manufacturers who are manufacturing all kinds/types of tablets/formulations of the same composition, viz. , Nalidixic Acid 300 mg. and Metronidazole 200 mg. However, the notice dated 24/02/2000 in question involved in the present case is related, admittedly, to the demand of the respondent No. 2 only in relation to the regular tablets of Gramogyl having the composition of Nalidixic Acid 300 mg. and metronidazole 200 mg, being manufactured by the petitioner and not for the dispersible tablet which is being agitated by the petitioner. "


His plea is that the original plea of sale of Gramogyl tablets has been contradicted in the stand taken in Para 5 of the additional affidavit which pleads that the ceiling price is applicable to dispersible tablets; He further submitted that manufacture of 6 and 10 packs for gramogyl was stopped in August, 1996 and a separate licence to manufacture Gramogyl dispersible tablets was obtained in April, 1998. He also submitted that only one batch of 126135 strips of Gramogyl 8 strip pack was at an advanced stage of production at the time of issuance of Notification dated 27/1/1998. He submits that the 25% of the impugned amount deposited by the petitioner pursuant to the interim order dated 17/5/2001 covers the recovery which may be leviable qua this batch and no further amount should be ordered to be paid as an interim measure.


(23) IN my view the plea of the learned counsel for the petitioner that the stands of the respondent No. 2 as reflected inter-alia in the Letter dated 24/2/2000 and the additional affidavit are contradictory cannot prima facie be accepted. The letter dated 24/2/2000 seeks to levy a demand on the basis of the estimate of the respondent No. 2 qua Gramogyl tablets, the additional affidavit merely states that the Order dated 3/9/1996 covers all forms of gramogyl inclusive of the dispersible tablets. The stand of the respondent No. 2 in additional affidavit and indeed during submissions by Mr. Raval as noted by me earlier is that the demand impugned in the writ petition is only in respect of Gramogyl tablets and is for period february, 199 8/12/1999. The respondent No. 2's further plea is that while the petitioner has not been able on facts to make out a case that it was not producing Gramogyl tablets but only producing Gramogyl distab, i. e. , dispersible tablets for the relevant period, but even if such a case of the petitioner to the effect that it was producing Gramogyl tablets is accepted, the notification was sufficient to cover even a dispersible tablet. In fact in my order admitting the writ petition, I have admitted the writ petition to consider the plea whether the order dated 3/9/96 covers even dispersible tablets. In my view by contending that the order is wide enough to cover both Gramogyl tablets and Gramogyl dispersible, the respondent nos. 1 and 2 have not adopted conflicting postures.


(24) COMING now to the question of interim relief, I am of the view that various queries made by respondent No. 2 elucidating the details of production such as the communications dated 2/8/1999, 24/2/2000, 2/6/2000 and 23/3/2001 have not met with categorical answers and have been responded by the petitioner with replies dated 23/3/2000, 9/6/2000, 29/3/2001, which are not specific as to when the stoppage of GRAMOGYL tablets took place and the production of GRAMOGYL Dispersible tablet commenced. The quantities produced have also not been communicated by the petitioner. It is significant that the letter of the petitioner dated 9/6/2000 does not state when the switch-over of the production to Dispersible Tablets took place and what the quantities of 8 pack produced by it were. This has only been sought to be stated in the affidavit which was filed in Court on 31. 5. 2001 but even this plea in this affidavit is not supported by any contemporaneous correspondence Again the letter dated 29/3/2001 is significantly silent about the exact date when the production of Gramogyl Tablets 8's was stopped and the quantity of Gramogyl Tablets whether in p

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acks of 6 or 8 which were produced after 27/1/1998 and upto the date of stoppage. The said letter merely states that the petitioner-Company switched over to Dispersible Tablets without specifying the date when the switch-over took place. In fact certain averments even in the writ petition indicate that the production of GRAMOGYL tablet continued till August, 1999. However, in the absence of a detailed and specific reply from the petitioner, the respondent No. 2 has had no option hut to rely upon the ORG Data. (25) THE following conclusions relevant for grant of an interim order", therefore, emerge from the pleadings and documents: (a) that the petitioner has not responded to the queries from the respondent No. 2 eliciting details of the period and quantity of production of Gramogyl tablets; (b) that in the absence of furnishing of particulars by the petitioner, the reliance by the respondent No. 2 on data available from ORG was justified; (c) that the petitioner has not given specific dates about the stoppage of production of Gramogyl tablets whether in strips of 6 or 8; (d) that the writ petition at one place mentions 26/8/1999 as the date when production of Gramogyl tablets ceased and the licence was surrendered and (e) that while the petitioner has prima facie satisfied me that the issue raised in the writ petition requires consideration it has not been able to satisfy me, on the facts of the present case and in view of the foregoing discussion, that an interim order in the terms sought for by the petitioner is justified. While the question of law raised in the writ petition requires determination yet it does not necessarily follow in the absence of details given by the petitioner supported by the documents as to what extent is the petitioner entitled to the interim relief. Even if the date of 26/8/99 given by the petitioner in Ground F is taken as the correct date of cessation of manufacture of Gramogyl tablets then at best, even according to the petitioner, the question raised by the petitioner in the writ petition would cover only a period of about 4 months out of a demand period of 22 months i. e. , from February, 199 8/12/1999. I am satisfied that the interests of justice would be fully met if the petitioner is granted a stay of recovery of the amount in excess of Rs. 3,29,71,014. 00 as originally estimated to be the overcharged amount by the Notice dated 24/2/2000. The amount sought to be recovered inclusive of interest by the impugned Recovery Notice dated 8/5/2001 was Rs. 4,38,92,663. 00, While calculating the figure of Rs. 3,29,71,0147- the amount deposited in this Court will be given credit for. The respondent No. 2 is permitted to withdraw the amount deposited in this Court after two weeks from today. Similarly the recovery of the balance amount as specified above shall not be effected for a period of two weeks from today. Cl stands disposed of accordingly. C. W. 3125/2001 counter affidavit be filed within six weeks from today. Rejoinder, if any, be filed within three weeks thereafter.
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