Singh Vijay Pal Singh & Ors Vs. State of U.P. & Ors  Insc 495 (1 May 2007)
G.P. Mathur & R.V. Raveendran
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.4286 of 2004) G. P.
2. This appeal, by special leave, has been filed challenging the judgment
and order dated 5.9.2003 of a Division Bench of Allahabad High Court, by which
the writ petition filed by the appellants was summarily dismissed at the
3. The appellants herein filed the writ petition before the High Court under
Article 226 of the Constitution praying for the following reliefs :
(i) issue an appropriate writ, order or direction commanding the respondents
concerned to allot the shops/godowns to the petitioners on hire purchase basis;
(ii) issue an appropriate writ, order or direction commanding the
respondents concerned not to interfere, in any manner, on the possession of the
petitioners' shops and godowns allotted to them;
(iii) issue an appropriate writ, order or direction commanding the
respondents concerned not to compel the petitioners to enter into any agreement
for taking shops/godowns allotted to them on rental basis.
(iv) issue any other or further writ, order or direction which this Hon'ble
Court may deem fit and proper in the circumstances of the case.
The writ petition was filed on behalf of 143 firms and individuals carrying
on business in agricultural produce and the respondents arrayed in the writ
petition were (1) State of U.P. through Director, Krishi Utpadan Mandi Parishad,
Lucknow; (2) Krishi Utpadan Mandi Samiti, Pilibhit through its Chairman; and
(3) Secretary, Krishi Utpadan Mandi Samiti, Pilibhit.
4. The case set up by the writ petitioners in the writ petition is as under.
The petitioners are dealers in agricultural produce and have been granted
licenses by the Krishi Utpadan Mandi Samiti, Pilibhit, to carry on the said
business. They were earlier carrying on business in Purana Galla Mandi in
Pilibhit city. After construction of Nawin Mandi Sthal, they were directed to
shift their business to the said newly constructed premises. Though the Nawin
Mandi Sthal is at considerable distance from the city area and it lacked basic
infrastructure, the petitioners shifted their business to the said place as it
was intimated that a policy was being chalked out to give the shops and sheds,
etc. to the license holders on hire-purchase basis.
Subsequently in the year 1995, the Director, Mandi Parishad, Lucknow, sent a
letter that the shops, godowns and sheds will be given to the license holders
on hire-purchase basis. In some places like Haldwani, Rudrapur and Ghaziabad,
in the State of U.P., the shops and godowns were given to the license holders
on hire-purchase basis. The writ petitioners were paying rent to Mandi Samiti,
Pilibhit, regularly and had been repeatedly requesting the authorities of the
Mandi Samiti to formally execute the document giving the shops and godowns to
them on hire-purchase basis. However, instead of executing the said documents,
the respondents had given them notice to execute an agreement with the Mandi
Samiti, Pilibhit, whereunder the shops and godowns will be given to them on
lease on rental basis.
The writ petitioners who were carrying on business in the shops and godowns
since 1986 and had been regularly paying the rent to the Mandi Samiti were
under a bona fide impression that ultimately the same shall be transferred to
them on hire-purchase basis. Some of the writ petitioners had spent money in
making improvements in the shops and godowns under their occupation and the
same was done with the prior approval of the Mandi Samiti. The proforma of the
agreement which was now given to the writ petitioners contained a clause that
after expiry of a period of 3 years, the rent shall be enhanced by 10 per cent.
It was on these grounds that the writ petition was filed seeking the reliefs as
5. In reply to the writ petition, a counter affidavit was filed by the
Secretary, Krishi Utpadan Mandi Samiti, Pilibhit and the pleas taken therein
are as under. The writ petitioners were carrying on business in wholesale in
specified agricultural produce and they had been allotted shops, sheds and open
space in Nawin Mandi Sthal for which rent is charged. All the basic amenities
had been provided in the Nawin Mandi Sthal which was quite close to the city.
The writ petitioners had been allotted the shops etc. on rental basis and at no
stage any assurance was given that the shops, godowns or sheds would be given
to the writ petitioners on hire-purchase basis. At the outset, it was made
clear to the traders that the Mandi Samiti was giving the shops, godowns and
sheds on lease for which rent would be charged. It was denied that anywhere in
U.P. a different policy was adopted or that shops or godowns had been given by
the Mandi Samiti on hire- purchase basis. Regarding the letter of the Director
allegedly sent in 1995, it was submitted that being a policy matter, it was the
Mandi Parishad (Board) alone which could take such a decision and the Director
had no authority to direct that the property of Mandi Samiti shall be given to
the traders of agricultural produce, who are license holders, on hire-purchase
basis. It was further submitted that the Inspector General and Commissioner of
Stamps, U.P. had sent a letter dated 24.10.2002 to the Director, Mandi
Parishad, U.P. that the agreement which was to be executed between the Mandi
Samiti (Committee) and the traders required to be registered and stamp duty in
accordance with Article 35 of Schedule I (kha) of the Indian Stamp Act (as
amended in the State of U.P.) had to be paid. It was after receipt of the said
communication that the various allottees of the shops, godowns and sheds of the
Mandi Parishad were informed to get the agreement (lease deed) registered. It
was specifically pleaded that the uniform policy of the Mandi Parishad (Board)
was to give the shops, godowns and sheds to the traders of agricultural
produce, who had obtained licenses, on lease on rental basis and not to
transfer the property in their favour either on hire-purchase basis or
6. The High Court on 5.9.2003 summarily dismissed the writ petition by a
brief order which reads as under :- "Heard learned counsel for the
The petitioner has an alternative remedy of filing a revision under Section
32 of the U.P. Krishi Utpadan Mandi Adhiniyam, 1964 before the Mandi Parishad.
The petition is dismissed on the ground of alternative remedy. However, if a
revision is filed the same will be decided expeditiously."
7. We have heard Mr. Dinesh Dwivedi, learned senior counsel for the
appellants and Mrs. Shobha Dikshit, learned senior counsel for the respondents.
8. The dispute here is governed by U.P. Krishi Utpadan Mandi Adhiniyam, 1964
(hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). Sections 12, 26-A and sub-section (1)
of Section 26-L of the Act read as under :- "12. Establishment and
incorporation of Committee.
(1) For every Market Area there shall be Committee to be called the Mandi
Samiti of that Market Area, which shall be a body corporate having perpetual
succession and an official seal and, subject to such restrictions or
qualifications, if any, as may be imposed by this or any other enactment, may
sue or be sued in its corporate name and acquire, hold and dispose of property
and enter into contracts :
Provided that the Committee shall not transfer any immovable property except
in accordance with a resolution duly passed at any of its meetings by a
majority of not less than three-fourths of the total number of its members and
with the previous approval in writing of the Board.
(2) The Committee shall be deemed to be a local authority for the purposes
of Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and any other law for the time being in force.
26-A. Establishment of the Board. (1) The State Government shall, by
notification in the Gazette, and with effect from a date to be specified
therein, constitute a Board by the name of the State Agricultural Produce
Markets Board with its head office at Lucknow.
(2) The Board shall be a body corporate by the said name having perpetual
succession and a common seal and may sue or be sued by the said name and
acquire, hold and dispose of property and enter into contracts.
(3) The Board shall for all purposes be deemed to be a local authority.
26-L. Powers and functions of the Board. (1) The Board shall, subject to
the provisions of this Act, have the following functions and shall have power
to do anything which may be necessary or expedient for carrying out those
functions (i) superintendence and control over the working of the Market
Committees and other affairs thereof including programmes undertaken by such
Committees for the construction of new Market yards and development of existing
markets and Market areas;
(ii) giving such direction to Committees in general or any Committee in
particular with a view to ensure efficiency thereof;
(iii) any other function entrusted to it by this Act;
(iv) such other functions as may be entrusted to the Board by the State
Government by notification in the Gazette."
The proviso to sub-section (1) of Section 12 of the Act would show that the
Mandi Samiti (Committee) is not empowered to transfer any immovable property
without the previous approval in writing of the State Agricultural Produce
Markets Board (Mandi Parishad).
Section 26-L of the Act deals with the powers and functions of the Board.
The Director of Mandi Parishad (Board) has not been conferred any power
whereunder he may issue a general direction that the shops, godowns and sheds
of the Mandi Parishad shall be transferred or sold to the traders on
hire-purchase basis. Therefore, the appellants can derive no benefit from the
letter of the Director dated 4.11.1995, wherein it was mentioned that a
decision had been taken to give the shops on hire-purchase basis. In the counter
affidavit the respondents have specifically asserted that the Board never took
any such decision to sell the property of the Mandi Samiti to the traders
either on hire-purchase basis or otherwise. No document has been filed to show
that the Board ever took any such decision. It is the case of the respondents
that the letter sent by the Director was his own action which had never been
authorized by the Board. At any rate the proposal made by the Director never
fructified as no such decision was taken by the Board and the Board never
authorized the Mandi Samities (Committees) of various districts in the State to
transfer the property of the Samiti in favour of the traders of agricultural
produce who had been allotted the shops, godowns and sheds by the Mandi
Parishad. In this view of the matter, the appellants have no legal right to
claim that the property be given to them on hire- purchase basis.
9. Mr. Dinesh Dwivedi, learned senior counsel for the appellant has next
submitted that the writ petitioners were earlier carrying on business from
their own premises in Purana Galla Mandi in the city of Pilibhit and they
shifted to Nawin Mandi Sthal, where the Mandi Samiti had made construction of
shops and godowns, etc. which is at considerable distance from the city and
which lacked basic infrastructure, on the assurance given by the Mandi Parishad
that the business premises would be sold to them on hire-purchase basis.
Learned counsel has submitted that after having shifted to the Nawin Mandi
Sthal which caused considerable inconvenience to the traders, it is not open to
the respondents to contend that the business premises would be given to them by
the Mandi Samiti on lease or rental basis.
In this connection it may be pointed out that the writ petitioners have not
filed any document whatsoever to show that either it was held out or any
assurance was given by the respondents that the business premises would be sold
to the petitioners on hire-purchase basis or otherwise. In fact, there is not a
single piece of paper on record to substantiate the allegation made by the writ
petitioners. Whether the shops, godowns and sheds of the Mandi Samiti, which
have been allotted to the writ petitioners, should be given to them on lease or
should be sold to them on hire-purchase basis, is purely a matter of policy as
the property belongs to the Mandi Samiti or the Mandi Parishad. It is for the
Mandi Samiti or the Mandi Parishad to take a policy decision in this regard and
the Court cannot examine the correctness or otherwise of the said policy except
in a very narrow compass.
10. In Netai Bag v. State of West Bengal (2000) 8 SCC 262, this Court held
as under in para 20 of the reports :
"20. The Government is entitled to make pragmatic adjustments and
policy decision which may be necessary or called for under the prevalent
The court cannot strike down a policy decision taken by the Government
merely because it feels that another decision would have been fairer or wiser
or more scientific or logical. In State of M.P. v. Nandlal Jaiswal (1986) 4 SCC
566 it was held that the policy decision can be interfered with by the court
only if such decision is shown to be patently arbitrary, discriminatory or
malafide. In the matter of different modes, under the rule of general
application made under the M.P. Excise Act, the Court found that the four
different modes, namely, tender, auction, fixed licence fee or such other
manner were alternative to one another and any one of them could be resorted
In the well known case of BALCO Employees Union v. Union of India (2002) 2
SCC 333, a Three Judge Bench summarized the law on the point as under :
"In a democracy, it is the prerogative of each elected Government to
follow its own policy. Often a change in Government may result in the shift in
focus or change in economic policies. Any such change may result in adversely
affecting some vested interests. Unless any illegality is committed in the
execution of the policy or the same is contrary to law or mala fide, a decision
bringing about change cannot per se be interfered with by the Court. It is
neither within the domain of the Courts nor the scope of the judicial review to
embark upon an enquiry as to whether a particular public policy is wise or
whether better public policy can be evolved. Nor are the Courts inclined to
strike down a policy at the behest of a petitioner merely because it has been
urged that a different policy would have been fairer or wiser or more scientific
or more logical.
Wisdom and advisability of economic policies are ordinarily not amenable to
judicial review unless it can be demonstrated that the policy is contrary to
any statutory provision or the Constitution. In other words, it is not for the
Courts to consider relative merits of different economic polices and consider
whether a wiser or better one can be evolved. In matters relating to economic
issues, the Government has, while taking a decision, right to "trial and
error" as long as both trial and error are bona fide and within limits of
authority. For testing the correctness of a policy, the appropriate forum is
the Parliament and not the Courts........................"
In Federation of Railway Officers Association v. Union of India (2003) 4 SCC
289, it was held as under in para 12 of the reports :- "12. In examining a
question of this nature where a policy is evolved by the Government judicial
review thereof is limited. When policy according to which or the purpose for
which discretion is to be exercised is clearly expressed in the statute, it
cannot be said to be an unrestricted discretion. On matters affecting policy
and requiring technical expertise the Court would leave the matter for decision
of those who are qualified to address the issues. Unless the policy or action
is inconsistent with the Constitution and the laws or arbitrary or irrational
or abuse of the power, the Court will not interfere with such matters."
This being the settled position of law no direction can be issued to the respondents
to transfer the shops, godowns or sheds to the writ petitioners on hire
11. The principal relief claimed by the writ petitioners is that a writ of
mandamus be issued commanding the respondents to allot the shops, godowns and
sheds to the writ petitioners on hire-purchase basis. The principles, on which
a writ of mandamus can be issued have been settled by a catena of decisions of
this Court. In The Bihar Eastern Gangetic Fishermen Cooperative Society Ltd. v.
Sipahi Singh AIR 1977 SC 2149, this Court observed as under: - "A writ of
mandamus can be granted only in a case where there is a statutory duty imposed
upon the officer concerned and there is a failure on the part of that officer
to discharge the statutory obligation. The chief function of a writ is to
compel performance of public duties prescribed by statute and to keep
subordinate tribunals and officers exercising public functions within the
limits of their jurisdiction. It follows, therefore, that in order that
mandamus may issue to compel the authorities to do something, it must be shown
that there is a statute which imposes a legal duty and the aggrieved party has
a legal right under the statute to enforce its performance."
12. The writ petitioners have absolutely no legal right to claim that the
shops, godowns or sheds be transferred to them on hire-purchase basis. In these
circumstances the relief claimed by them cannot at all be granted and the writ
petition was rightly dismissed.
13. Having given our careful consideration to the submissions made by
learned counsel for the parties, we are of the opinion that the appellants have
failed to make out any ground for granting any relief to them, as claimed in
the writ petition. The appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs.