IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS DATED: 18/07/2003 CORAM THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P.K. MISRA WRIT PETITION.NO.7014 OF 2001 and W.M.P.NO.9996 OF 2001 Sri Jagatheesan Lorry Transports, 2-E, Second Floor, Prince Arcode, 22-A, Cathedral Road, Chennai 600 086. .. Petitioner -Vs- 1. Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Rep. by its Executive Director, Marketing Division, Southern Region, Indian Oil Bhavan, 139, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Chennai 600 034. 2. The Deputy General Manager, Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Marketing Division, Southern Region, Indian Oil Bhavan, 139, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Chennai 600 034. .. Respondents Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for the issuance of Writ of Mandamus as stated therein. For Petitioner : Mr.K.S. Natarajan For Respondents 1-2 : Mr.R. Subramanian :J U D G M E N T
The petitioner has prayed for issuing a writ of Mandamus
forbearing the respondents from interfering with the payment of bills due and
payable by the respondents pursuant to the Work Order dated 5.7.2000 bearing
No.SR/LPG/BULK/TPT/409 in view of any claim from the Eastern Region and
consequently direct the respondents to effect payment of the bills due to the
petitioner for transportation of bulk LPG throughout the Southern Region in
accordance with law.
2. The petitioner responded to Tender No.LPG/LOG 9 (SR) 99.
Subsequently, work had been awarded to the petitioner, who successfully
completed the work relating to transportation of Bulk LPG on behalf of the
respondent Corporation in the Southern Zone. The petitioner has submitted
various bills in accordance with the terms and conditions for the work done
till the end of March 2001. The representatives of the petitioner had also
discussed the matter relating to payment with the respondents. However, it
was learnt by the petitioner that the amount had been with-held on account of
a claim lodged by the Eastern Region of the Corporation in respect of some
other transaction against the petitioner not connected with the present
transactions. It has been further asserted that, in fact, the petitioner is
not liable for the amount claimed by the Indian Oil Corporation, Eastern
Region and on the other hand the petitioner is entitled to receive some
amounts even from the Indian Oil Corporation, Eastern Region. It is contended
that the admitted amount payable to the petitioner by the Indian Oil
Corporation, Southern Region cannot be held for the alleged liability in
respect of some other Region. Accordingly, prayer has been made for issuing a
direction as indicated.
3. In the counter of the second respondent filed on behalf of
the respondents, it is indicated that some amount is to be paid by the
petitioner to the Corporation for the loss caused in the Eastern Region. It
has been further indicated that the writ petition is essentially for payment
under a Contract and is not maintainable. It has been further indicated that
even under the contract between the petitioner and the respondents, an
Arbitration clause is available and if the petitioner is aggrieved by the
non-payment, he should approach the appropriate forum, that is to say, either
the Civil Court or the Arbitration.
4. Learned counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted
that since there is no dispute regarding the amount payable by the Southern
Region, there is no justification for with-holding payment of such amount for
the alleged liability in respect of some other Region. It is further
indicated that the action of the respondents in with-holding payment is
arbitrary and cannot be sustained in law.
5. Learned counsel appearing for the respondents has placed
reliance upon the decision of this Court reported in 2000(1) LLJ 769 (S.
SITARAMAN v. HINDUSTAN PETROLEUM CORPORATION LTD. AND ANOTHER) wherein it
has been held that the remedy under Article 226 of the Constitution of India
is not applicable to enforce a contract.
6. It is not disputed that in the contract between the
parties relating to the present transaction, there is an arbitration clause
that if the applicant is aggrieved by the non-payment of amount due, it is
always open to the petitioner to invoke such arbitration clause. Even
otherwise, the claim of the petitioner is essentially a claim for payment of
money under a contract for which invocation of writ jurisdiction is not the
appropriate remedy. The ratio of the decision of this Court, already cited
above, is squarely applicable. In such view of the matter, I am not inclined
to issue writ of Mandamus as prayed for in the present case leaving it open to
the petitioner to establish his right in the appropriate forum in accordance
7. Subject to the above observation, the writ petition is
dismissed. No costs. Consequently, WMP.No.9996 of 2001 is closed.
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