R.L. Gulati, J.
1. The petitioner, M/s. Prem Potteries, is a firm carrying on the business of manufacture and sale of potteries and fire bricks made of china day in district Bulandshahr, which requires steam coal for manufacture of these goods. The steam coal is imported from collieries outside U.P. According to the petitioner, the coal is supplied by the Calcutta Coal Mines authorities and for that purpose railway wagons are allotted by the Director of Rail Movements, Calcutta, The Director of Industries, Kanpur, who is also the State Coal Controller, sponsors the movement of coal wagons on priority basis in respect of the industries in the State and, such recommendations are sent to the Director of Rail Movements Calcutta for allotment of wagons on priority basis. Taking into consideration the requirement of the petitioner and the availability of railway wagons, the Director of Industries, Kanpur had recommended for the allotment of 45 wagons to the petitioner during the year 1975 at the rate of 3 wagons for the first three months and four wagons for the remaining 9 months. It appears that on 28th February, 1975, an inspection of the industrial unit of the petitioner was conducted by a team consisting of Pottery Development Officer and Assistant Financial Controller of Industries Meerut. They found that the consumption of coal as shown by the petitioner was much in excess of the raw material used by him. They also found that the petitioner did not maintain the records properly and did not produce any bank pass book or current account slip. On the basis of this inspection they submitted a report to the Director of Industries, U.P. Kanpur. In the meantime the petitioner made a representation against the proposd report on 18th March, 1975 and the Director of Industries Kanpur on a consideration of the report and the representation made by the petitioner came to the conclusion that the petitioner was importing coal much in excess of its genuine requirement and was probably misusing the extra coal. He accordingly by a letter dated 25th March, 1975 cancelled the recommendation for allotment of wagons to the petitioner on priority basis. The petitioner is aggrieved and has moved the present writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.
2. The first contention of the petitioner is that the impugned order was passed behind his back without affording him any opportunity of showing cause or of being beard and, as such, the order being in violation of the principles of natural justice, was a void order. In my opinion, this grievance of the petitioner is wholly misconceived. The petitioner being a consumer of coal and there being no statutory restriction on his right to import coal from outside U.P., is free to import coal by road transport or through railway. On account of the scarcity of railway wagons, however, the Government haddevised a scheme to recommend to the Director of Rail Movements Calcutta for the allotment of wagons for transportation of coal to certain industrial units in the State on priority basis. The scheme is not a statutory scheme inasmuch as it has not been formulated under any statutory provisions of law nor are the recommendations made by the Director of Industries Kanpur statutory orders. They are merely recommendations which may or may not be accepted. Any such recommendation does not confer any right upon the person in whose favour the recommendation is made so that if the recommendation is withdrawn or cancelled it does not deprive the person concerned, of any statutory right. The import, possession and consumption of coal is regulated by the provisions of U.P. Coal Control Order, 1972. That order does not contain any provision for the allotment of wagons to the coal consumers. From the facts set out by the petitioner himself it is clear that the recommendations made by the Director of Industries Kanpur were not strictly complied with by the Director of Rail Movement Calcutta inasmuch as for the months of January, February and March, 1975 he should have been allotted 9 wagons whereas he received only one wagon on 31st March, 1975 and another wagon on 4th April, 1975. This being the position no right of the petitioner -- statutory or otherwise -- has been infringed and the directions issued by the Director of Industries, Kanpur withdrawing his recommendation with regard to the allotment of wagons to the petitioner, in my opinion, is not open to challenge. As already pointed out above, the petitioner's right to import coal has not been curtailed. He is free to import coal without the assistance of the Director of Industries Kanpur either by road or by rail.
3. That apart, there has been no violation of the principles of natural justice also. The order dated the 25th March, 1975 cannot be said to have been passed at the back of the petitioner inasmuch as the report by the Pottery Development Officer and the Assistant Financial Controller, Meerut was made after an open inspection of the petitioner's industrial unit in his presence. He failed to convince those officers that the coal imported by him was in conformity with his genuine requirement. The petitioner had at that time full opportunity to produce material before those Officers to show that the coal being imported by him was genuinely required by him and was being properly applied. Moreover, the impugned order was passed by the Director of Industries, Kanpur aftertaking into consideration the report as also the representation made by the petitioner. In these circumstances, the principles of natural justice, if applicable at all, were fully complied with. There is no principle of natural justice which requires that a copy of the, report should have been supplied to the petitioner or that he should have been given a further notice of hearing by the Director of Industries before cancelling his recommendations. This contention of the petitioner, therefore, fails.
4. The second limb of the dispute relates to the seizure of two wagons of coal already imported by the petitioner. The petitioner furnished the indemnity bonds and presented the Railway Receipts in respect of the two wagons of coal already imported to the District Industries Officer for counter-signature as required by the U.P. Coal Control Order, 1972. The District Industries Officer, Bulandshahr imposed a condition that the petitioner shall not utilise the coal without his prior permission. The petitioner made-several requests for permission to utilise the coal but no such permission was granted and ultimately the coal was seized. The petitioner has also challenged this seizure order.
5. Under Clause 7 of the U.P. Coal Control Order, 1972 all licensees and other persons dealing in or obtaining or holding stocks of coal shall submit the Railway Receipts of arrivals thereof either to the Licensing Authority or in his absence to any other Officer authorised by him in this behalf for counter signature before actually taking delivery of the coal from the Railways. It is in accordance with this provision that the petitioner presented the Railway Receipts for countersignature of the District Industries Officer, Bulandshahr. That Officer imposed a condition that the petitioner will not utilise the coal without his prior permission. That condition is wholly unauthorised and is not warranted by any provisions contained in the Coal Control Order. Not only that, ultimately the District Industries Officer actually seized the coal.. The order of seizure has been filed as Annexure I to the rejoinder-affidavit. The seizure has been sought to be justified under Clause 11(2)(c) of the Coal Control Order. This clause provides:--
'The State Coal Controller or the Licensing Authority or any person authorised by them in this behalf may seize or Authorise the seizure of any coal in respect of which he has reason to believe that a contravention of this Order has been, is being or about to be committed.'
Now no indication whatsoever has been given in the impugned order as to how this provision became applicable nor has anything been said in the counter-affidavit in that behalf. It has not been alleged that the petitioner had contravened any provision of the Coal Control Order or he was about to commit any such contravention. The only reason disclosed in the impugned order is that in compliance of the instructions of the Director of Industries (Raw Material Section) U.P. Kanpur, as communicated by the Joint Director of Industries (Wastern Zone) Meerut, the steam coal wagons imported by the petitioner are seized under Clause 11(2)(c) of the U.P. Coal Control Order, 1972. In the first place, the Director of Industries, U.P. Kanpur had no jurisdiction to ask the District Industries Officer to seize the coal already imported by the petitioner and secondly, the seizure could be made under Clause 11 (2)(c) of the Coal Control Order only if the Licensing Authority had reason to believe that a contravention of that order had been or was about to be committed by the petitioner. In fact, the learned Standing Counsel very fairly and frankly conceded that the seizure of the coal could not be defended. The grievance of the petitioner with regard to the seizure of the coal appears to be fully justified and the seizure is clearly arbitrary and cannot be sustained. I, therefore, direct the respondents to release the seized coal forthwith in favour of the petitioner.
6. In the end the petition is partly allowed. I, however, make no order as to the costs.