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Bhawan Finance Corpn. (P) Ltd. Vs. State of H.P [1993] INSC 355 (15 September 1993)

Ray, G.N. (J) Ray, G.N. (J) Reddy, K. Jayachandra (J)

CITATION: 1994 AIR 2362 1994 SCC Supl. (1) 577 JT 1993 Supl. 140 1993 SCALE (3)741

ACT:

HEAD NOTE:

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by G.N. RAY, J.- This special leave petition is directed against the judgment of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh at Simla in Civil Review No. 10 of 1991 passed on December 13, 199 1. On the said special leave application notice was issued limited to the extent, namely, whether the petitioners are entitled to the pro rata quantity of resin supplied for distribution. It may be stated here that the review application being Review No. 10 of 1991 was filed by the petitioners in the Himachal Pradesh High Court in connection with the judgment dated April 10, 1991 passed by the said High Court in Civil Writ Petition No. 57 of 1979.

By the aforesaid order dated April 10, 1991, the High Court partly allowed the writ petition moved by the petitioners.

The petitioners filed the writ petition in the High Court inter alia contending that despite solemn assurance given by the Government of Himachal Pradesh to the petitioners that they would be supplied 750 metric tonnes of resin if they would establish a factory at Himachal Pradesh where such resin would be required for manufacturing purpose, the State Government failed and neglected to supply such quantity of resin to the petitioners when the petitioners had in fact established such factory by incurring substantial expenses.

Such contention of the petitioners was, however, opposed by the State of Himachal Pradesh and it was inter alia contended that there was no such solemn assurance to supply 750 metric tonnes of resin to the petitioners annually for a period of ten years from 1972 as contended but it was decided that such supply should be made subject to the availability of resin. It was contended by the State Government that as gradually the production of resin declined and it was not possible even to meet the requirement of the establishments of the Forest Corporation of the Government of Himachal Pradesh, it was not possible for the State Government to supply 750 metric +From the Judgment and Order dated December 13, 1991 of the Himachal Pradesh High Court in C.R. No. 10 of 1991 578 tonnes of resin to the petitioners and the Government also had not been able to supply the desired quantity of resin to other producers and there had been cut in supply of resin to other producers and manufacturing units of the State. It may also be stated here that on the allegation that the petitioners failed and neglected to lift resin offered to them by the Government of Himachal Pradesh, the petitioners' unit at Himachal Pradesh was de-registered and such action of deregistration was also challenged by the petitioners in the writ proceedings. As aforesaid, the High Court in disposing of the writ proceedings allowed the writ petition in part inter alia quashing the order of de-registration of the petitioners' unit and the High Court also directed to take proper decision for issuing genuineness certificate to the petitioners for the purpose of claiming exemption of taxes. The High Court also gave a direction that the respondents would supply to the petitioners in future the raw material, namely, the resin subject to the availability of such resin.

2.Being aggrieved by the latter direction of the High Court to supply resin subject to the availability and not accepting the case of the petitioners that 750 tonnes was to be- supplied to the petitioners, a review application was filed by the petitioners for taking note of a particular document which according to the petitioners could not be made available at the time of hearing and the contents of the said document had clearly supported the case of the petitioners that there was a solemn assurance to supply 750 tonnes of resin to the petitioners. Such review application was, however, rejected by the High Court by noting that the communication sought to be relied upon by the petitioners in support of the application had already been taken note of and the writ petition was disposed of on consideration of such document.

3.As already stated, the special leave application was filed against the rejection of the review application and the limited notice as indicated hereinbefore was issued by this Court. A counter-affidavit has been filed on behalf of the respondents in the special leave application and it has been specifically stated in such counter-affidavit that there has been steady decrease in the production of resin and it has been stated that in the year 1972-73 when 16.75 lakh blazes were available for tapping from the Government forests then subject to availability, 750 tonnes of resin was decided to be supplied to the petitioners. But in the year 1990 the total number of blazes for tapping were only about 15.58 lakhs which were hardly sufficient to meet the demand of even the factories run by the Forest Corporation of the Government of Himachal Pradesh. It has been further stated that as a matter of fact, the resin from the Government forests tapped by the Forest Corporation, is at present being used by the factories of Forest Corporation at Nahan and Bilaspur. It has also been contended that at no point of time, there was any such firm assurance given to the petitioners that 750 tonnes of resin was to be supplied to the petitioners every year. It was made clear that the intended supply of 750 tonnes was subject to the availability and as a matter of fact when lesser quantities had been supplied to the petitioners on earlier occasions, the petitioners had not raised such contention that there was such solemn assurance to supply 750 tonnes without any condition imposed. It was only at a later stage, the petitioners started making such contentions.

4.Be that as it may, at the time of hearing the special leave petition on the basis of the limited notice issued by this Court, the learned counsel appearing 579 for the respondents has categorically submitted that pursuant to the orders of the High Court, the petitioners' unit has been registered and certificate of genuineness has also been issued to the petitioners. The respondents in terms of the direction given by the High Court are prepared to supply to the petitioners along with other allottees, the resin on the basis of availability of the stock on pro rata basis and there is no intention of the respondents to take any vindictive attitude against the petitioners and to discriminate the petitioners in any manner.

5.The learned counsel for the petitioners, however, has submitted before us that if on the basis of the availability of stock position of the resin, supply to the petitioners and other similarly circumstanced units are made on uniform basis, the petitioners, in the facts and circumstances as prevalent, may not have any legitimate grievance. But the petitioners are apprehending trouble because the petitioners are being treated as a new unit and if the petitioners are treated as a new unit which the respondents improperly had intended to do, the petitioners will be given lesser quantity of resin even if the principle of pro rata distribution is adhered to because in that event, the new unit will be entitled to get lesser quantity even on the existing principle of pro rata distribution.

6.Such contention has, however, been disputed by the learned counsel for the respondents. It appears to us that there cannot be any occasion to treat the petitioners as a new unit. In the facts and circumstances of the case, it is quite apparent that the petitioners have failed to get any direction from the High Court that the petitioners are entitled to receive supply of 750 tonnes on the basis of assurances given to them irrespective of stock position of resin. But the High Court has specifically directed that the petitioners are entitled to get pro rata distribution along with other allottees on the basis of the availability of the stock and the action of de-registering the petitioners has been struck down by the High Court. It is, therefore, made clear that the unit of the petitioners should be treated as an old existing unit in the State of Himachal Pradesh and it is only on that footing the respondents should give supply of resin to the petitioners and other similarly circumstanced manufacturing units of the State by uniformly applying the principle of pro rata distribution. The special leave petition is accordingly disposed of without any order as to costs.

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