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Sarvaraya Sugars Ltd. and ors. Vs. Andhra Pradesh Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd. and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCommercial
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.A. Nos. 515 and 516 of 1980
Judge
Reported inAIR1981AP402
Acts Constitution of India - Article 226; Levy Sugar Supply (Control) Order, 1979; Essential Commodities Act, 1955 - Sections 3; Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Sections 11; Companies Act
AppellantSarvaraya Sugars Ltd. and ors.
RespondentAndhra Pradesh Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd. and ors.
Appellant AdvocateT.T. Vijayaraghavan, Adv.
Respondent Advocate K. Subrahmanya Reddy, Standing Counsel for Central Government, ;Govt. Pleder for F & A and ;G. Balaparameswari Rao, Adv.
DispositionAppeals dismissed
Excerpt:
.....interim and not final - order not to operate as res judicata as interim order does not constitute final adjudication of issues. - - , was of the view that the appellants herein having unsuccessfully challenged the price fixation and the division bench of this court having upheld the notification fixing the price, the a. 3. so far as this high court is concerned, the order of the central government fixing the price and directing the supply of sugar to the state government or its nominee at the said price was upheld for the previous production year 1979-80. that order was challenged unsuccessfully in this court by some other major sugar producers in the state and appeals against those matters are now pending before the supreme court. this court had already held in the writ petitions..........order, 1979. by that order the purchasers of sugar were directed to sell levy-free sugar to the state government or its nominee at the price mentioned therein. similar orders, issued for production years 1974-75 and 1975-76, were challenged by several producers of sugar in various high courts and the petitioner and some others in the high court of andhra pradesh. those petitions having been dismissed by this court, the matters were carried in appeal and the same are pending before the supreme court. the order fixing the price for the production year 1979-80 was challenged by way of a writ petition before the high court of madras by the producers of sugar who have registered offices at madras or within the tamil nadu state. interim orders were granted by the madras high court in their.....
Judgment:

Madhava Reddy, J.

1. These appeals are by the contesting respondents in the two writ petitions W. P. Nos-1285 and 1743 of 1980, who are producers of sugar within the State of Andhra Pradesh. The Andhra Pradesh State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd., which is a Company registered under the Companies Act, sought a writ of mandamus in the above two writ petitions against the appellants herein for an appropriate direction to supply sugar at the rate fixed by the Union of India, first respondent therein, under the Sugar Price Fixation (Production Years 1978-79 and 1979-80) Orders dated 17-12-1979 issued under the provisions of Levy Sugar Supply (Control) Order, 1979. By that order the purchasers of sugar were directed to sell levy-free sugar to the State Government or its nominee at the price mentioned therein. Similar orders, issued for production years 1974-75 and 1975-76, were challenged by several producers of sugar in various High Courts and the petitioner and some others in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh. Those petitions having been dismissed by this Court, the matters were carried in appeal and the same are pending before the Supreme Court. The order fixing the price for the production year 1979-80 was challenged by way of a writ petition before the High Court of Madras by the producers of sugar who have registered offices at Madras or within the Tamil Nadu State. Interim orders were granted by the Madras High Court in their favour on condition that they furnished Bank-guarantee to refund the excess amount being realised by them over and above the price fixed under the Price Determination Order, challenged in those writ petitions. That order was passed on 6-3-1980. It may be noticed that A. P. State Civil Supplies Corporation, which is the petitioner in these writ petitions, out of which these writ appeals arise, was not eo nomine party to the writ petitions filed and pending in the Madras High Court. The case of the A. P. State Civil Supplies Corporation in these writ appeals is that in view of the fixation of the price under the above referred order and the directions of the Central Government under Levy-free Sugar Supply (Control) Order, the appellant-sugar factories are bound to supply sugar at the price fixed thereunder and accordingly sought a writ of mandamus. Granting of any such writ, direction or order is resisted by the sugar producers, primarily on the ground that in the writ petitions filed before the Madras High Court, the Central Government has suffered an interim order, which has become final under which they are entitled to sell sugar at a higher price subject only to the giving of Bank-guarantee. As such the Central Government itself is not entitled to compel the producers of sugar to sell at the price determined by it and consequently the A. P. State Civil Supplies Corporation which is only a nominee of the State Government, which is in turn, a nominee of the Central Government, cannot be granted a writ of mandamus. According to the learned counsel Sri Vijayaraghavan that would be in the teeth of the order of the Madras High Court. In that context he also stresses the fact that while the Andhra Pradesh High Court, Allahabad High Court and Gujarat High Court have upheld the price fixation under the Order made by the Central Government, the Madras High Court has taken a different view and quashed the said orders and hence having regard to the view already taken by the Madras High Court, in all probability, the writ petitions now pending before it would also be allowed. In any event the Central Government having suffered the interim order, so long as tint order is not vacated, cannot direct supply of sugar at the price notified by it under the impugned order. Our learned brother Ramachandra Rao, J., was of the view that the appellants herein having unsuccessfully challenged the price fixation and the Division Bench of this Court having upheld the notification fixing the price, the A. P. State Civil Supplies Corporation, the writ petitioner (respondent herein) was entitled to a mandamus against the producers of sugar within the State of Andhra Pradesh and the interim orders of the Madras High Court cannot stand in the way of this High Court granting the relief prayed for and accordingly allowed the writ petitions.

2. In these writ appeals, Mr. Vijayaraghavan, the learned counsel for the appellants sugar factories, contends that while the interim orders of the Madras High Court are in force against the Central Government, the A. P. State Civil Supplies Corporation which is also a nominee of the Central Government is not entitled to any writ of mandamus and the interim order operates as res judicata. He also contends that a writ does not lie against the appellants who are producers of sugar who are merely private parties.

3. So far as this High Court is concerned, the order of the Central Government fixing the price and directing the supply of sugar to the State Government or its nominee at the said price was upheld for the previous production year 1979-80. That order was challenged unsuccessfully in this Court by some other major sugar producers in the State and appeals against those matters are now pending before the Supreme Court. The appellants themselves have challenged that order before the Madras High Court and the matter is pending before the Madras High Court. The High Court of Madras has made only an interim order therein under which no doubt the appellants have been permitted to supply sugar other than at the notified price subject to furnishing Bank-guarantee. But nonetheless that order is only an interim order pending disposal of the writ petitions before the Madras High Court. To this writ petition, the A. P. State Civil Supplies Corporation is not a party. While every other allottee of the State Government has been made a party-respondents to that writ petition including the A. P. State Co-operative Marketing Federation and the Civil Supplies Department of Pondicherry and Madras, the A. P. State Civil Supplies Corporation is not made eo nomine party to it. However, Mr. Vijayaraghavan the learned counsel for the appellants contends 'that since it is merely an allottee or nominee of the State Government and the State Government itself acquires the right to supply the sugar under the notification issued by the Central Government, it is bound by the interim order made by the Madras High Court against the Union of India.

4. Under the Levy Sugar (Control) Order, the Central Government is given authority to have the supply of sugar for persons or organisations. It is in exercise of this statutory authority that the notification was issued. It is pursuant to that notification that the State Government is entitled to supply of sugar and instead of the State Government the A. P. State Civil Supplies Corporation, which is its nominee, is entitled to lift the sugar. It is not a nominee of the Central Government in the sense that it is lifting the sugar on behalf of. the Central Government. The rights which accrue to the A. P. State Civil Supplies Corporation is by virtue of the statutory notification which the Central Government has issued under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act and the Sugar Supply (Control) Order. It is therefore not a nominee in the sense that the Union Government represents the interests of the A. P. State Civil Supplies Corporation. Since it is not a representative in interest of the Central Government, the interim order made by the Madras High Court against the Central Government would not per se be binding on the A. P. State Civil Supplies Corporation. The A. P. State Civil Supplies Corporation is seeking a writ of mandamus on a more solid ground. It is not understandable as to how an interim order made by a different High Court would preclude this Court from disposing of an independent writ petition filed by the A. P. State Civil Supplies Corporation in a different High Court. (sic) If the appellants had filed a writ petition in this very: High Court instead of in the Madras High Court and an interim order was passed therein pending the disposal of that writ petition, and an independent writ petition were to be filed such as the one we are concerned with in these writ appeals by a person entitled to under the notification issued by the Central Government, would this Court be precluded from disposing of the subsequent writ finally? In our opinion any interim order made in a different writ petition cannot preclude the same Court or any other Court from disposing of another writ petition finally on its own merits. There is no stay of the disposal of the writ petition. In passing the interim order what the Court does is to consider whether pending the writ petition, the balance of convenience is in favour of allowing the impugned notification to be implemented or impose certain conditions in its implementation or totally stay its operation. Such an order does not prohibit the High Court from considering the validity or otherwise of the orders impugned in the writ petition or preclude it from disposing of the writ petition and granting relief. This Court had already held in the writ petitions filed by other producers of sugar in the State of Andhra Pradesh that the notification fixing the price of levy-free sugar and directing the producer to deliver a particular quantity to the allottees was perfectly valid. As such, the Civil Supplies Corporation (the respondent herein) was entitled to a similar direction in the writ petitions. Merely because an interim order was made by another High Court and for that matter even if it were to be made by this High Court in a different writ petition, this Court in our opinion would not be precluded from upholding the notification and giving relief to which the writ petitioner is entitled. The interim orders in one writ petition cannot take away the jurisdiction of the High Court to grant relief in another writ petition.

5. Mr. Vijayaraghavan, the learned counsel for the appellants disputing this proposition tried to contend that the interim order operates as res judicata, and so long as that order is in force, this Court would be precluded from considering the question whether the notification is valid or not. Accepting such a contention would mean that the interim order will operate as res judicata or would preclude to entertain and dispose of the writ petition. Any order that operates as res judicata must decide the issues finally between the parties. That apart, accepting such a contention would be to hold that the interim order would nullify the final order made in another writ petition. The interim order of this nature in the circumstances does not decide any issue finally between the parties and consequently does not operate as res judirata or constructive, res judicata. This Court therefore, far from being precluded from granting the relief prayed for by the writ petitioners, is bound to grant relief having regard to the earlier decision of this Court upholding the notification fixing the price of levy-free sugar.

6. The next contention of Mr. Vijayaraghavan, the learned counsel for the appellants is that the sugar producers are public limited companies, registered under the Companies Act and as such private persons, against whom no writ lies. He referred to the decisions of this Court in A. Ranga Reddy v. General Manager, Co-operative Electricity Supply Society Ltd., Sircilla, (1971) 1 Andh WR 278 : (AIR 1977 NOC 232) and Seedharama Naidu v. The Chittoor District Co-operative Central Bank Ltd., (1978) 1 Andh WR 122 : (1978 Lab IC 528), which deals with the question whether a writ can he issued against a Co-operative Registrar and it was held that no writ lies. However, in our view having regard to the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in Ajay Hasia v. Khalid Mujib, : (1981)ILLJ103SC a writ can be issued to enforce a public duty whether it be imposed on a private individual or a public body. In fact as far back as in Rohtas Industries v. Its Union, : (1976)ILLJ274SC the Supreme Court held that a writ can be issued against a private person also. Recently one of our learned brothers P. A. Chowdary, J., in T. Gattaiah v. The Commissioner of Labour, Hyderabad, (1981) 1 APLJ 280 : (1981 Lab IC 942) held that a writ can be issued even against a private person, provided he was discharging a public duty. We are therefore of the view that the sugar producers in the State of Andhra Pradesh are bound to sell the levy-free sugar to the writ petitioner at the rate fixed by the Central Government under statutory order and the interim order issued by the Madras High Court in the writ petition before it does not preclude this Court from issuing a writ at the instance of the writ petitioner against the sugar producing companies.

7. These writ appeals therefore fail and are accordingly dismissed with costs. Advocate's fee Rs. 250/- in each of the appeals.

8. At the conclusion of the pronouncement of the judgment, Sri Vijayaraghavan requests to grant leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. We are unable to hold that this matter involves any substantial question of law of general importance which requires consideration by the Supreme Court, or it is a matter otherwise fit for grant of leave to appeal. Leave refused.


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