1. The Petitioner is a firm in Hassan which owns a coffee curing establishment. Under an agreement executed between the Coffee Board and the firm, the Board appointed the firm as their agents for curing operations in respect of the coffee entrusted to the firm. It is not necessary to refer to the other purposes referred to in that agreement.
2. In respect of the year 1963-64 the Chief Marketing Officer made an order on September, 18, 1965 directing the firm to pay to the Board a sum of Rs. 29,813-51 which in his opinion was the deficiency in the out-turn of coffee which, under the agreement the firm was bound to deliver to the Coffee Board. His finding was that not all the cured coffee which had to be delivered by the firm had been delivered to the Board, and so, the value of the deficiency must be made good in that way.
3. From this decision of the Chief Marketing Officer the petitioner appealed to the Coffee Board which referred it to a committee which dismissed the appeal by an order made on October 25, 1966.
4. In this writ petition the firm asks us to quash the orders made by the Chief Marketing Officer and the committee in appeal. Mr. Mahendra on behalf of the firm made the submission that the Coffee Board is withholding payment of the remuneration due to the firm in respect of the curing operations made during subsequent periods on the ground that the sum of Rs. 29,813-51 determined by the Chief Marketing Officer to be the value of the deficiency was not paid by the firm to the Board. Mr. Mahendra contended that, since the Coffee Board was contracting party to the agreement between the Board and the firm, it was not within the competence of the Chief Marketing Officer of the Board to constitute himself into a tribunal for an adjudication on the question whether the firm had committed default in the performance of the stipulations contained in the agreement and whether any sum of money was payable by the firm to the Board in respect thereof. He also made the submission that the decision of the committee in appeal vitiated by the participation of the Chief Marketing Officer who had rendered the decision under appeal in the deliberations of the committee.
5. Into these questions, we do not think we should make any investigation in the writ petition. It is plain that the Chief Marketing Officer did not function as a tribunal when he made his order on September 18, 1965. Similarly the committee which dismissed the appeal on October 25, 1966 did not function as a tribunal either. Neither the Chief Marketing Officer nor the committee could function as a tribunal for the adjudication of any dispute between the Board and the firm. In the agreement entered into between the firm and the Coffee Board there is no provision for any decision by the Coffee Board on the question whether in respect of deficiency in the out-turn, the firm could be called upon to pay any sum of money to the Board. The agreement does not authorise the Board to function as a tribunal for making any such adjudication and that adjudication has to be made only in a Court of law as provided by the twelfth clause of that agreement which reads:--
'If any dispute arises between the Board and the Agent out of or in respect of this agreement or in any matter connected therewith, such dispute shall be adjudicated upon only by Courts having jurisdiction over Bangalore City where the principal office of the Board is situated. No other courts shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit pertaining to such a dispute or to adjudicate thereupon.'
6. On the question whether the exclusion of the courts other than the courts in Bangalore is an enforceable exclusion, we abstain from expressing any opinion in this writ petition. But what is however clear is that no dispute arising out of the contract could be decided by the Board or one of its officers, but could be decided only by a Court.
7. In that view of the matter the order made by the Chief Marketing Officer is not an adjudication which could bind the petitioner, nor does the decision in appeal have that status.
8. It is manifest that when the Chief Marketing Officer reached the conclusion that ascertain sum of money was payable by the firm and he made a direction that that payment should be made, he did not more than merely to formulate a claim on behalf of the Coffee Board. When the firm preferred an appeal to the Board, what it in effect did was to make an attempt to persuade the Board to desist from making any such claim against it, and when the appeal was dismissed that dismissal amounted to an intimation to the firm that the Board would not abandon that claim.
9. It is therefore, clear that what purports to be an order made by the Chief Marketing Officer or by the Committee in appeal had no higher status than an opinion formed by each of them that a liability had fastened itself on the firm. The direction of the Chief Marketing Officer that the firm should pay the sum of money determined by him is no more than a mere demand which rested on the formation of that opinion.
10. If, in that situation, the Board refused to pay the remuneration which was claimed by the firm for the year 1964-65 until the firm made payment of the sum of money which was in effect claimed on behalf of the Board by the Chief Marketing Officer, the firm cannot ask us to quash the impugned orders as if they were enforceable adjudications, which they clearly are not.
11. So, the matter continues to remain as a dispute in the sense that there is a claim by the Coffee Board and its repudiation by the firm. On that dispute, the court alone could make the adjudication, and so, there is nothing in respect of which the firm can ask us for certiorari.
12. With these observations, we dismiss this writ petition without making any order as to costs.
13. Petition dismissed.