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held that the Principal Secretary, Food and Supplies Department is not an appellate authority with respect to an order passed under Paragraph 11 of the West Bengal Kerosene Control Order, 1968 = the District Magistrate, Purulia passed an order dated 6.10.2009 whereby the quantum of Kerosene Oil allotted per month to respondent got enhanced. By the same order quantum of Kerosene Oil allotted to the appellant got reduced. Even if it is assumed that the order of the District Magistrate was under Paragraph 11 of the Control Order, such an order is not appealable under Paragraph 10 or before the Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Food and Supply Department, Govt. of West Bengal.- The impugned order passed by the District Magistrate, Purulia on 6th October, 2009 cannot be termed as an order passed under Paragraph 8 or Paragraph 9 of the Control Order. In such a situation, no appeal is maintainable under Paragraph 10 before the Principal Secretary or the Commissioner, Food and Supply Department, Government of West Bengal.- whether the Principal Secretary and Commissioner of the Food and Supply Department has jurisdiction to entertain the appeal against the order passed by District Magistrate.- The State has indeed the inherent power to alter or to set aside any order passed by the District Magistrate but it should follow the procedure as prescribed by the law, such an order should be passed by the authority empowered to do so on behalf of the State in the name of Governor of the State. 20. From the impugned order passed by the Principal Secretary and Commissioner, Food and Supply Department, it is apparent that the said order has been passed in the capacity of his designated post and not on behalf of the State. 21. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that the writ petition was withdrawn by the appellant to move before the competent authority. But that does not mean that while withdrawing such case, the Court or any individual can confer jurisdiction upon any authority who otherwise is not so empowered under the Statute. 22. We, therefore, do not find any infirmity or illegality in the impugned order passed by the District Magistrate as affirmed by the Single Judge and the Division Bench. In absence of any merit the appeal is dismissed. The parties shall bear their respective costs.

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English: Purulia district, West Bengal, India

English: Purulia district, West Bengal, India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7263 OF 2012
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil)
No.9259/2012)
RANJIT KUMAR MURMU       …. APPELLANT
VERSUS
M/S LACHMI NARAYAN BHOMROJ & ORS.       ….RESPONDENTS
J UD G M E N T
SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA, J.
This appeal has been preferred by the appellant
against the Judgment dated 2nd  February, 2012 passed
by the Division Bench of the  Calcutta High Court in
A.P.O.T     No.237   of   2010.   The   Division   Bench   while
dismissing the appeal preferred by the appellant held
that   the   Principal   Secretary,   Food   and   Supplies
Department   is   not   an   appellate   authority   with
respect to an order passed under Paragraph 11 of the
West Bengal Kerosene Control Order, 1968 and thereby
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affirmed   the   order   passed   by   the   learned   Single
Judge.
2. The relevant facts of the case are as follows:
One   Purushottam   Das   Jhunjhunwala     was   issued
with a Kerosene  Dealer  licence in the year 1997 and
was  carrying  on  his business in the name
of M/s Lachmi Narayan Bhomroj, as a sole proprietor.
Upon his death, his heirs were temporarily allowed to
carry on kerosene business under the same name as per
the provisions of West Bengal Kerosene Control Order,
1968   (hereinafter   referred   to   as   the   ‘Control
Order’).
On or about 6th March, 2006, a fresh licence was
issued to the partnership firm of the legal heirs of
said     Purushottam   Das   Jhunjhunwala   (respondents
herein) on compassionate ground.
Even though the licence was issued on 6th March,
2006, no supply was effected. After much persuasion
from the part of respondents the authority allotted a
quota   of     72   K.L.   of   Kerosene   Oil   per   month     as
against the quota of 168 K.L. per month originally
allotted to their late father.
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3. Partners   of   M/s   Lachmi   Narayan   Bhomroj   made
representation   citing   the   above   matter   before   the
concerned   authorities.   The   Director   of   Consumer
Goods,   Food   and   Supplies   Department,   Government   of
West   Bengal   passed   an   order   on   12th   August,   2009
whereby   the   quota   of   168   K.L.   of   Kerosene   Oil   was
restored in favour of respondents.  By virtue of this
restoration   while   respondents’   quota   got   enhanced
there was  corresponding reduction in the allocation
to the appellant.
4. Being aggrieved by the reduction of allocation,
the appellant filed a Writ Petition No. 899/09 before
the Calcutta High Court challenging the order dated
12th August, 2009 which was disposed of by a learned
Single   Judge   on   4th   September,   2009   directing   the
Joint Director of Consumer Goods to hear the matter
and take a decision.     In an appeal being APOT No.
367 of 2009 against the said order the Division Bench
modified   the   order   and   directed   the   District
Magistrate,   Purulia,   the   competent   authority   under
the   Control   Order   to   hear   and   pass   an   appropriate
order.
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5. Pursuant   to   the   aforesaid   order,   the   District
Magistrate, Purulia, passed an order dated 6.10.2009
upholding the allocation of monthly quota   made   to
both the agents by Director of Consumer Goods vide
letter dated 12th August, 2009.
6. Being aggrieved, the appellant preferred a writ
petition No. 1093/2009 challenging the order of the
District Magistrate.  When the matter was taken up by
the   learned   Single   Judge   on   23rd   December,   2009,
learned   counsel   for   the   appellant   on   instruction
withdraw the writ petition to enable the appellant to
move   departmentally.   The   writ   petition   was
accordingly dismissed as withdrawn.
7. Thereafter, the appellant preferred an appeal to
the Principal Secretary and Commissioner Food, Food
and   Supplies   Department,   Government   of   West   Bengal
whereupon   the   Principal   Secretary   and   Commissioner
Food passed an order dated 8th March, 2010 setting
aside the order of the District Magistrate, Purulia
with   a   direction   to   restore   supply   of     192   K.L.
Kerosene Oil per month in favour of the   appellant.
It was also ordered to reduce the quota of M/s Lachmi
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Narayan Bhomroj (respondent) to 70 K.L. Kerosene Oil
per month.
8. The   aforesaid   order     dated   8th   March,   2010
passed by the Principal Secretary was challenged by
the respondents M/s Lachmi Narayan Bhomroj and others
in Writ Petition No. 365/2010.   They questioned the
maintainability of the appeal and jurisdiction of the
Principal   Secretary   to   entertain   such   appeal.
Learned single Judge by order dated 26th March, 2010
held that the Principal Secretary was not competent
to hear the appeal and to set aside the order passed
by the District Magistrate. Hence, the writ petition
was   allowed   and   the   order   passed   by   Principal
Secretary   was   set   aside.     The   aforesaid   order   has
been affirmed by the Division Bench.
9. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that
the Division Bench committed serious error of law by
holding that the State Government is not an appellate
authority   with   respect   to   the   order   passed   under
Paragraph 11   of the Control Order.       The appeal
against the order passed by the District Magistrate
lies to the  State Government and that the High Court
also failed to notice that in the present case the
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amended provision of the Paragraph 10 of the Control
Order is applicable which came into effect prior to
the order passed by the District Magistrate on 16th
December, 2009.
10. On   the   other   hand,   learned   counsel   for   the
respondent contended that the Principal Secretary and
Commissioner of Food and Supplies Department had no
jurisdiction to hear an appeal over an order passed
by the District Magistrate.
11. In   the   said   circumstances,   the   questions   that
arise for our consideration are:
(i) Whether   the   impugned   order   was
passed by the State  Government?
(ii) If not so, whether the Principal
Secretary     and   Commissioner   of   the
Food   and   Supply   Department   has
jurisdiction   to   entertain   the   appeal
against the order passed by District
Magistrate.
12. Under   paragraph   8   of   the   Control   Order,   the
Director or the District Magistrate, as the case may
be, are vested with the power to refuse to grant or
renew a licence following the procedure as mentioned
therein. It reads as follows:
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“8.   Refusal   to   grant   or   renew
license:­     The   Director,   or   the
District   Magistrate,   having
jurisdiction,   may,   after   giving   the
agent   or   the   dealer   or   hawker
concerned   an   opportunity   of   stating
his   case   in   writing   and   for   reasons
to be recorded in writing,  refuse to
grant   or   renew   a   license   under   this
Order.”
13. On   the  other   hand,  Paragraph   9   of  the   Control
Order   deals   with   the   power   of   Director/District
Magistrate for cancellation or suspension of license
in case of   any malpractice or contravention of any
provision   of   this   Order.   Paragraph   9   reads   as
follows:
9.   Cancellation   or   suspension   of
license:­     If   it   appears   to   the
Director   or   the   District   Magistrate
having jurisdiction that an agent or
a   dealer   has   indulged   in   any
malpractice   or   contravened   any
provision   of   this   order   or   any
condition   of   the   license   or   any
direction given under paragraph 12 of
the   order,     he   may   forthwith
temporarily suspend the license;
Provided that the agent or the dealer
whose   license   has   been   so   suspended
shall   be   given   an   opportunity   of
being   heard   before   cancellation   of
the   license   or   revocation   of   the
order   of   suspension   of   the   license
finally by an order in writing to be
made within 30 days from the date of
suspension of the license.  The order
shall   be   passed   ex   parte   if   the
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dealer   whose   license   has   been   so
suspended   fails   to   appear   at   the
hearing.”
14. Any person aggrieved  by the Order passed under
Paragraph 8 or Paragraph 9 of the Control Order may
within 30 days prefer an appeal under Paragraph 10,
which reads as follows:
“10. Appeal – Any person aggrieved by
an   order   passed   under   paragraph     or
paragraph 9 of this order may within
30  days from  the date  of the  order,
prefer an appeal –
a) in Calcutta.
i) where the order is passed by the
Director   of   Consumer   Goods,
Department of Food and Supplies,
to the State Government.
ii) where the order is passed by any
other   authorised   by   the   State
Government   under   Clause   (d)   of
paragraph 3,   to the Director of
Consumer   Goods,   Department   of
Food and Supplies, and
b) elsewhere;
i) where the order is passed by the
District Magistrate or the Deputy
Commissioner   of   a   District,   to
the State Government
ii)  Where the order is passed by
any   other   officer   authorised   by
the   District   Magistrate   of   the
Deputy Commissioner of a district
under Clause (e) of paragraph 3,
to the District Magistrate or the
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deputy commissioner, as the case
may be, of the District”.
15. From the aforesaid provision, it is
evident that no appeal lies to the Principal
Secretary   or   the   Commission   of   Food   and
Supply Department.
16. Paragraph 11 relates to issue of delivery
order   or   permit   by   the   Director   or   the
District Magistrate, which reads as under:
“11.     Issue   of   delivery   order   or
permit  –   (1)   The   Director   or   the
District   Magistrate   having
jurisdiction   may   issue   a   delivery
order   or   permit   requiring   an   agent
within   his   jurisdiction   to   supply
kerosene to –
a) a dealer, or
b) other   person   or
establishment   requiring
kerosene for his or its own
consumption,   in   any
particular   area,   if   in   the
opinion   of   the   Director   or
the   District   Magistrate,   as
the   case   may   be,     this   is
considered necessary, or
c) an agent.
(2) No   person   other   than   oil
distributing   company,   an
agent   or   a   dealer   shall
transport   kerosene   or   store
kerosene   or   shall   have   in
his   possession   kerosene
exceeding   ten   liters   at   a
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time   except   under   and   in
accordance   with   a   permit
issued   by   the   Director   or
the   District   Magistrate
having jurisdiction.”
17. The   impugned   order   passed   by   the   District
Magistrate, Purulia on 6th  October, 2009 cannot be
termed   as   an   order     passed   under   Paragraph   8   or
Paragraph   9   of   the   Control   Order.     In   such   a
situation,   no   appeal   is     maintainable     under
Paragraph   10     before   the   Principal   Secretary   or
the   Commissioner,   Food   and   Supply   Department,
Government of West Bengal.
18. In the present case, the District Magistrate,
Purulia passed an order dated 6.10.2009 whereby the
quantum   of   Kerosene   Oil   allotted   per   month   to
respondent got enhanced. By the same order quantum
of   Kerosene   Oil   allotted   to   the   appellant   got
reduced.   Even   if   it   is   assumed   that   the   order   of
the  District Magistrate  was  under Paragraph  11 of
the Control Order,  such an order is not appealable
under   Paragraph   10   or   before   the   Principal
Secretary     and   Commissioner   of   Food   and   Supply
Department,  Govt. of West Bengal.
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19. The   State   has   indeed   the   inherent   power   to
alter   or   to   set   aside   any   order     passed   by   the
District   Magistrate   but   it   should   follow   the
procedure as prescribed by the law, such an order
should be passed by the authority empowered to do
so on behalf of the State in the name of Governor
of the State.
20. From the impugned order passed by the Principal
Secretary   and   Commissioner,   Food   and   Supply
Department, it is apparent that the said order has
been passed in the capacity of  his designated post
and not on behalf of the State.
21. Learned   counsel   for   the   appellant   submitted
that   the   writ   petition   was   withdrawn   by   the
appellant   to move before the competent authority.
But that does not mean that while withdrawing such
case,   the   Court   or   any   individual   can   confer
jurisdiction  upon    any authority  who  otherwise is
not  so empowered under the Statute.
22. We,   therefore,   do   not   find   any   infirmity   or
illegality     in   the   impugned   order   passed   by   the
District Magistrate as affirmed by the Single Judge
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and   the   Division   Bench.     In   absence   of   any   merit
the   appeal   is   dismissed.   The   parties   shall   bear
their respective costs. 
………..……………………………………………..J.
(G.S. SINGHVI)
……………………………………………………….J.
(SUDHANSU JYOTI MUKHOPADHAYA)
NEW DELHI,
APRIL 15, 2013.
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