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J. Ramulu Vs. Ms. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWRIT PETITION No.23906 of 2011
Judge
ActsContract Act - Section 7.
AppellantJ. Ramulu
RespondentM/S. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. and Another
Advocates:V.H.V.R.R. Swamy, Adv.
Excerpt:
contract act - section 7 - acceptance must be absolute -- jameel. it is stated that since the vehicle ap 28 t 8949, which was blacklisted, and vehicle no.ap 28 u 6318 are two of the vehicles offered by the petitioner having been found to be blacklisted, subsequently the respondents have not awarded the work order to the petitioner. placing reliance upon the said guidelines, the respondents justified their blacklisting the vehicles of the petitioner.with regard to other vehicle of the petitioner also there is no order produced blacklisting the said vehicle. even otherwise the petitioner is prepared to replace the vehicle no.ap 28 t 8949......condoned by the respondents by imposing fine on the said transporter and with regard to the other vehicle, no proceedings of blacklisting are produced even now. the petitioner has also filed an additional affidavit along with w.p.m.p. no.40900 of 2011 wherein he states that he may be allowed to replace the vehicle ap 28 t 8949 by another vehicle so that there is no impediment in considering petitioner's tender.5. on appreciation of rival contentions as above, it would immediately noticed that the proceedings regarding blacklisting of the vehicle ap 28 t 8949 was not issued to the petitioner nor there was any correspondence between the respondents and the petitioner and the order though passed against another transporter was eventually condoned by accepting the value of product loss.....
Judgment:

VILAS V. AFZULPURKAR, J.

ORDER:

1. On 28.11.2011 I had heard this matter fully and reserved for judgment. Thereafter three other similar matters which came up on different dates were also heard, but the counsel in the latter cases requested time for an elaborate hearing. This writ petition was therefore not disposed of awaiting hearing in the other cases to be completed. However, the learned counsel for the petitioner has moved another writ petition raising similar issue questioning the order passed with respect to other transporters, which affects the same petitioner. In view of that, it was found desirable to dispose of writ petition.

2. Petitioner herein is a transport contractor, who deals with petroleum products, states in the affidavit that he has five vehicles at his disposal which are lorry tankers which carry petroleum products. Their numbers are AP 29 T 1685, AP 28 U 6318, AP 28 T 8949, AP 29 T 7974 and AP 10 T 7839. Petitioner has participated in the tenders called for by the respondents for transportation of MS/HSD, ex-Charlapalli and in response to the petitioner's tender the rates acceptable to the respondents was communicated to the petitioner under the letter of the respondent dated 25th January 2011 requesting the petitioner to intimate his acceptance. The petitioner has informed his acceptance on 27.01.2011 itself. However on the ground that the said tender and work order is not allotted to him, the present writ petition came to be filed on 23.8.2011.

3. The respondents have filed a counter-affidavit and additional counter-affidavit inter alia stating that one of the vehicles of the petitioner was blacklisted by proceedings of the Corporation dated 08.4.2011 when the said vehicle was attached to one M/s. Mohd. Jameel, another transporter of BPCL. The counter-affidavit refers to the correspondence and proceedings with the said Mohd. Jameel and the proceedings dated 08.4.2011 refers to the said malpractice having been condoned by the respondents by imposing a fine of Rs.8,92,891.14 ps. towards product loss on the said Mohd. Jameel. It is stated that since the vehicle AP 28 T 8949, which was blacklisted, and vehicle No.AP 28 U 6318 are two of the vehicles offered by the petitioner having been found to be blacklisted, subsequently the respondents have not awarded the work order to the petitioner. The additional counter also reiterates the same factual contention and it also seeks to place reliance upon the guidelines framed by the Corporation which are called as "Transport Discipline Guidelines", wherein tampering with standard fittings of tank truck including sealing, security locks, security locking system, calibration etc., which leads to pilferage of petroleum products are treated as irregularities and illegal and tanker itself is blacklisted under clause 8.2.3. Placing reliance upon the said guidelines, the respondents justified their blacklisting the vehicles of the petitioner.

4. The petitioner has filed a reply-affidavit mentioning that he had no notice of any of the proceedings of the respondents wherein the said two vehicles are said to have been blacklisted. He points out that with regard to allegations against vehicle No.AP 28 T 8949 and the order dated 08.4.2011 which was passed against Mohd. Jameel was in fact condoned by the respondents by imposing fine on the said transporter and with regard to the other vehicle, no proceedings of blacklisting are produced even now. The petitioner has also filed an additional affidavit along with W.P.M.P. No.40900 of 2011 wherein he states that he may be allowed to replace the vehicle AP 28 T 8949 by another vehicle so that there is no impediment in considering petitioner's tender.

5. On appreciation of rival contentions as above, it would immediately noticed that the proceedings regarding blacklisting of the vehicle AP 28 T 8949 was not issued to the petitioner nor there was any correspondence between the respondents and the petitioner and the order though passed against another transporter was eventually condoned by accepting the value of product loss estimated by the respondents. With regard to other vehicle of the petitioner also there is no order produced blacklisting the said vehicle. Even otherwise the petitioner is prepared to replace the vehicle No.AP 28 T 8949.

6. More importantly, I am unable to appreciate as to how a vehicle could be blacklisted by the respondents. A vehicle as such is merely a machine and an inanimate object. The machine itself cannot be said to have indulged in any malpractice. Such tampering or malpractice therefore can only be attributed to the transporter who owns or operates the vehicle and it would be totally different matter if respondents take action against such transporter. Reliance on the marketing guidelines of the respondents is in my view wholly illogical and irrational. The action of the respondents in blacklisting an inanimate object does not stand to any reason. It is however open for the respondents to satisfy themselves that the vehicle to be used for transportation is in conformity with the specifications of the vehicle and satisfy themselves that there is no tampering with the specifications of the vehicle, but to debar a vehicle itself is wholly irrational and arbitrary. Moreover, the said Mohd. Jameel, other transporter, on whose complaint, petitioner is allotted work order, seems to be working as transporter with respondents, with forty vehicles employed, in spite of order dated 08.4.2011 passed against him.

7. It is also to be noted that in response to petitioner's tender the respondents have accepted the rates and communicated to the petitioner seeking his acceptance vide letter of the respondents dated 25th January 2011, Ex.P-2. In response to the said letter, the petitioner has accepted the same. Hence, under Section 7 of the Contract Act once an offer is accepted, it becomes a contract by itself and it is not open for the respondents to deny the contract to the petitioner on the terms which form part of the said contract. Therefore, the denial by the respondents in granting contract to the petitioner is clearly arbitrary, irrational and unsustainable.

8. In view of that, the petitioner is entitled to Mandamus as prayed for and there shall be a direction to the respondents to complete necessary formalities relating to the contract with the petitioner in terms of their letter dated 25th January 2011 and place necessary work order on the petitioner. As the petitioner has accepted on his own, he shall withdraw the objectionable vehicle AP 28 T 8949 and replace it with another vehicle which shall be verified and accepted to the respondents as mentioned above. The respondents shall be free to inspect all the vehicles offered by the petitioner, satisfy themselves of the specifications and thereafter issue necessary work order.

9. The writ petition is accordingly allowed, however, there shall be no order as to costs.


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