At, High Court of Rajasthan
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE ARUN MADAN
For the Appellant: G.C. Garg, Advocate. For the Respondent: ----------.
Arun Madan, J.
1. The petitioner's firm which is a Small Scale Industrial Unit manufacturing Steel Furniture and other allied items having its factory at 22 Godown, Jaipur and registered with the Director of Industries, Govt. of Rajasthan, Jaipur has filed this writ petition on the grounds inter alia that in view of the Policy of the Joint Plant Committee, no Small Scale Industry is permitted to get scarce items of iron and steel raw material directly from the main producers or their stockyards and rather they have to depend on the State Corporations for their genuine requirements. It has further been contended
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that the pieces of Iron and Steel all over India are governed and controlled by the said Joint Plant Committee from time to time. In pursuance of an advertisement issued by the respondent-Corporation on 31st January, 1985, inviting the registered Small Scale Industries for booking their requirements of G. R. Coils (16 to 24 Gauge), the compensation demanded a deposit of Rs. 2,000/- per metric tonne from each small scale unit in Rajasthan desiring to obtain the allotment thereof as per their requirement. Cut-off date for deposit was fixed as 8th February, 1985 along with the applications and in case of any unit failing to take the delivery within the specified period of 7 days, the initial deposit of Rs. 2,000/- will be forfeited.
2. The petitioner deposited a sum of Rs. 1 lac with the Corporation on 8-2-1985 for booking 50 tonnes of C. R. Coils as against a receipt. On deposit of entire money, the petitioner approached the Corporation to make the delivery of the required material of 40 metric tonnes of C. R. Coils but the Corporation refused to make the delivery in view of increase of price of iron and steel by the J.P.C. as against which, the petitioner and other Small Scale Industries Units represented to the Corporation with a request to the Corporation not to charge the required price of the raw material as the Corporation had procured the raw material for the S. S. I. Units prior to the increase in price and also in view of the fact that Corporation was liable to deliver the material at the price at which the Corporation had procured the material and not to charge the required price which was made effective from 21 -2-1985 as the same would be in contravention of the provisions of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (Act No. 10 of 1955) and Steel and Iron Control Order, 1956 as well as the policy-decision and directions of the J.P.C. Viewed in the context of above background, the petitioner has further contended that in view of the policy-decision of J.P.C. as aforesaid :-- (a) whether the Corporation is competent to direct the petitioner to pay the price of the commodity at a revised rate other than the price at which the material has been procured by the Corporation from the main producers? (b) since the raw material was procured by the Corporation from the main producers for and on behalf of the Small Scale Units in Rajasthan at the then prevailing price and the allotment having been made and the payment having been accepted by the Corporation whether the direction of the Corporation to demand the revised price at enhanced rate w.e.f. 21-2-1985 should not be held to be arbitrary, illegal, without jurisdiction being unauthorised, unjust and against me policy-decision of the J.P.C. ?
3. I have heard learned counsel for the respondent at length and also examined the contentions advanced by the petitioner in the aforesaid writ petition and also the ratio of the decisions cited at the bar by the learned counsel for the respondent as well as the order dated 28-4-1992 passed by this Court in S. B. Civil Writ Petition No. 446/85. Prima facie, I am of the view that the price of the commodity as demanded by the Corporation from the petitioner which is also being charged on uniform basis from all other similarly placed Industrial Units within Rajasthan State cannot be held to be arbitrary and illegal as the same is dependent upon the prevailing market price of the commodity viz. the Rig Iron price as fixed by the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) at the relevant time.
4. During the course of hearing, Mr. Garg, learned counsel for the respondent has invited the attention of this Court to the order dated 28-4-1992 passed by this Court in S. B. Civil Writ Petition No. 446/85. In the said writ petition the controversy before this Court was as to whether the respondent-Corporation is entitled to the charge prices on the date prior to the revision of prices of the commodity or as applicable on the date of delivery of the commodity to the consumer. This Court while placing reliance upon the judgment of the Gujarat High Court in the matter of Gujarat Molding and Engineering Association v. Gujarat Small Industries Corporation Ltd. decided on 16-4-1985, held that the prices charged by the Corporation is neither be arbitrary nor discretionary since the same were charged on uniform basis from all Small Scale Industries Corporations and purchasers depending upon the date of delivery and the prevalent market prices Of the commodity i.e. Rig Iron fixed by SAIL at the time. This Court also relying upon the another decision of Gujarat High Court in Special Civil Appeal No. 3233/84 decided on 12-7-1984, observed that there appears to be no law, rules and agreement which would oblige respondent-Corporation to. sell Steel and Rig Iron on the basis of the prices paid by it irrespective of increase in prices which is made after the Steel and Rig Iron is purchased.
5. I am consequently of the view that since the controversy raised in this writ petition is exactly identical to that raised before Gujarat High Court in Gujrat Molding and Engineering Association v. Gujarat Small Industries (supra) and the ratio of which is fully attracted to the instant case which has already been followed by this Court in Civil Appeal No. 3233/84 decided on 12-7-1984, there would be no justification to arrive at a view contrary to the aforesaid decisions and in my view, the respondent-Corporation is within its rights to charge the prices of the commodity in question as prevalent on the date of delivery of the commodity to the consumer as referred to above.
6. In view of the above observations, this writ petition is consequently disposed of.