HONOURABLE SRI JUSTICE ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA
WRIT PETITION No. 1192 of 2012
DATED 25th January, 212
Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd.,
South Central Zone, Secunderabad, rep. by its
Group General Manager, and ors
HONOURABLE SRI JUSTICE ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA
WRIT PETITION No. 1192 of 2012.
The petitioner is aggrieved by the letter dated 30.11.2011 issued by the second respondent whereunder and whereby it was clarified that the tenure of the licence of the petitioner was only for a period of five years and the same expired by 18.10.2010 as per the letter issued by IRCTC and that the contention of the petitioner that the contract was awarded for a period of nine years, is incorrect.
The main contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that the petitioner had been granted licence for a period of nine years with effect from 14.4.2006 and the same gets expired by 13.4.2015. He submitted that licence fee for the 6th year commencing from 14.4.2010 was also paid by the petitioner and the same was accepted by the second respondent on 3.3.2011. He argued that having accepted the 6th year licence fee on 3.3.2011, the issuance of impugned letter dated 30.11.2011 stating to the effect that the period of contract expired by 18.10.2010 is contrary to the terms of the licence deed. He further argued that the rights and obligations of the petitioner have been crystallized in clear terms which categorically specify that the licence is for a period of nine years commencing from 14.4.2006.
Per contra, the learned Standing Counsel for the respondents submitted that the licence of the petitioner was only for a period of five years and the same expired by 18.10.2010. He submitted that his licence was temporarily extended upto 20.01.2012 and the said temporary extension does not confer any legal right on the petitioner to claim renewal of licence.
In the present case, the learned Standing Counsel for the respondent-Railways was directed to produce the original record pertaining to execution of the agreement entered into with the petitioner. He has produced the original record before this Court. I have gone through the same.
Admittedly, the first respondent-Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited, South Central Zone, Secunderabad, issued tender notice dated 27.07.2005 inviting sealed tenders from the reputed companies, firms, individuals, having experience in catering and F&B related business for award of contract of Refreshment Room at Vijayawada Railway Station for a period of five years. Pursuant to the same, the petitioner had submitted his tender which was considered to be technically qualified, the same was accepted and allotment letter dated 19.10.2005 was issued accepting the offer of the petitioner for catering services at Refreshment Room at Vijayawada Railway Station on platform No.6/7. In the said letter, it was specifically stated that the tenure of the licence is for a period of five years from the date of issuance of such acceptance letter, i.e. up to 18.10.2010. Even in the General Conditions of licence, it was specifically mentioned that the term of Licence for Refreshment Room would be five years from the date of commencement of services and that there should be no extension.
Though the learned Counsel for the petitioner placing reliance on the ‘Agreement For Licence To Set Up And Operate Refreshment Room at Vijayawada Railway Station PF No. 6&7” submitted that the agreement comes into force from 14th April, 2006 and shall be subject to the provision for earlier termination herein provided remain in force for a period of nine years, a perusal of the same manifestly discloses that a copy of which filed as material paper annexed to the Writ Petition does not tally with the original agreement that formed part of the original record which was produced before this Court by the learned Standing Counsel for the respondents. The learned Standing Counsel appearing for the respondents as well as the respondent authorities stated that the said document was forged and that the officer concerned was also kept under suspension pending enquiry. Further, a perusal of the original agreement from the record shows that the same is not executed in toto as the same was not signed by the railway authorities. In the absence of execution of the agreement lawfully, the same cannot be permitted to be taken into consideration.
Further, it is to be seen that the respondent authorities in their allotment letter dated 19.10.2005 while indicating to the petitioner that all the terms and conditions as stipulated in the tender schedule would apply, specifically stated that the tenure of the licence is for a period of five years from the date of issuance of the acceptance letter i.e. up to 18.10.2010. Pursuant to the same, the petitioner addressed letter dated 21.10.2005 acknowledging the letter dated 19.10.2005 in connection with the allotment of Refreshment Room at Railway Station and accepting the proposal as stipulated in the aforesaid letter dated 19.10.2005.
From the above, it is obvious that the tenure of the licence is only for a period of five years which expired by 18.10.2010 and as per the conditions of the tender notification, the same cannot be extended beyond the tenure of the licence period. Merely because the contract was extended temporarily upto 20.01.2012 by the respondent authorities and acceptance of the licence fee thereof does not confer any legal right on the petitioner to claim further renewal/tenure of the licence was for a period of nine years and the same gets expired by 13.04.2015. Such a contention of the petitioner cannot be countenanced, having due regard to the facts and circumstances of the case discussed hereinabove. More so, the petitioner while acknowledging the letter of the respondents dated 19.10.2005 in connection with the allotment of Refreshment Room, wherein it was specifically stated that the tenure of the licence is for a period of five years from the date of issue of the acceptance letter i.e. up to 18.10.2010, the petitioner has addressed letter dated 21.10.2005 accepting the proposal stipulated in the aforesaid letter. The petitioner, therefore, now cannot say that the tenure of the licence gets expired by 13.4.2015.
For the foregoing discussion, I do not see any merit in the Writ Petition which is liable to be dismissed. However, the petitioner is directed to vacate the premises i.e. Refreshment Room at Vijayawada Railway Station on or before 4th of February, 2012.
The Writ Petition is dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs.
JUSTICE ASHUTOSH MOHUNTA
Dated 25th January, 2012.
Note:1. Cc to day.
Note: 2. Operative portion by wire
at party’s costs.