K. Veeraswami, C.J.
1. The appellant, who is common in both the appeals, contends that the order of Ramaprasada Rao, J., allowing the petitions of the contesting respondents is based on an erroneous view of the scope of Rule 9 of the Madras Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1959. Seven persons including the appellant and the contesting respondents applied for lease of quarry right of sand in survey No. 1 (Paimash No. 12/1 Pt.) in river pormboke of Athur Village in Ponneri Taluk. The period applied for by each of them varied and so too the amount offered. For instance, the appellant who had made an offer of Rs. 16,000 for five years of quarrying improved it by offering Rs. 26,000 for the same period. The respondent Gangadharan offered Rs. 3,000 for each of the three years and the respondent Dorairangam Rs. 4,000 for each of the five years. The other applicants offered between Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 5,000 for terms of five years, except in one case where the term was three years. The Collector would appear to have called for a report from the Tabsildar, who suggested auction. Nevertheless the Collector by an order of his, dated 18th March, 1970, selected the appellant on the ground that his was the highest bid. The lease was granted to him subject to certain general conditions. It is this order which was quashed by Ramaprasada Rao, J. The learnerd Judge thought that the Collector had given no particular reason why the appellant had been preferred and that Rule 9, in so far as no auction was held, was violated. With respect, we are unable to concur with this view.
2. Rule 9 is as follows:
In cases where applications for lease of quarries are received from a number of persons and circumstances justifying selection of a particular individual do not exist, the privilege of quarrying shall be put to auction. When quarries are sold on lease at public auctions, no seigniorage fee shall be collected in addition to the bid amount and assessment. Provided that, in respect of limeshell and kankar, the power to sanction the lease in pursuance of the auction of the privilege of quarrying exercisable by the Collector under this rule shall also be exercisable by the Personal Assistant to the Collector.
3. It is clear from this rule that the privilege of quarrying shall be put to auction only if in the opinion of the Collector circumstances justifying selection of a particular individual did not exist. On the facts of this case it is not necessary to go into the question whether these circumstances should necessarily be objective and be scrutinisable by Courts. Here there can be no doubt that circumstances did exist which justified selection of a; particular individual. This circumstance, was taken note of by the Collector as is clear from the order itself and that is the appellant was the highest bidder whose offer was the most beneficial to the Revenue. It may be that the highest offer was, as it was, improved subsequent to the report of Tahsildar. Though halfheartedly the bona fides of the Collector in selecting the appellant have been challenged, there is no material forthcoming to substantiate the allegation. We cannot agree that wherever the Collector finds more than one applicant, he should, by that very fact, necessarily resort to auction. That is not the rule. Auction need be resorted to only, as we said, if circumstanstances justifying selection of a particular individual do not exist. The highest bid of the appellant was a circumstance which justified the Collector in selecting him for the privilege of quarrying. The Collector was not in every case bound by the report of the Tahsildar and the power having been given to him, it is the Collector who has got to find whether circumstances exist which would allow selection. We are therefore unable to agree that the Collector violated Rule 9. Nor can it be said that the Collector gave no reason in his order for selecting the appellant. As already indicated, the reason which prevailed with the Collector was that appellant Was the highest bidder.
The appeals are allowed with costs in each. Counsel's fee Rs. 150.
The second respondent in W.A. No. 564 of 1970, P.C. Dorairangan says that he had deposited with the Collector a sum of Rs. 26,000 reference to which has been made by Ramaprasada Rao, J., P.C. Dorairangan will be at liberty to withdraw this sum from the Collector.