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DISPUTE OVER ALLOTMENT OF AUCTION PLATFORM IN AGRICULTURE PRODUCE MARKET

JUDGMENT NAMEGURJIT SINGH (D) THROUGH LRS VERSUS UNION TERRITORY, CHANDIGARH & ORS.

JUDGMENT DATE03 MARCH, 2023

COURT NAMESUPREME COURT OF INDIA

 

FACTS OF THE CASE

The High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh made a ruling on 23.10.2013, which was followed by an order on 17.12.2013. The Division Bench of the High Court dismissed the letters and Patent Appeals. The appellant, Gurjit Singh, claimed to have purchased Shop No. 27 from the Agricultural Produce Market, Chandigarh, with respondent No. 5 as the tenant of the shop. Both the appellant and respondent No. 5 had market licenses. The appellant evicted respondent No. 5 shortly after, and the High Court upheld the eviction in 2007. In response, respondent No. 5 moved as a tenant to Shop No. 12, but his request was denied, and he was told to surrender his license and apply for a new one. The State Agricultural Marketing Board granted the appellant’s fruit/vegetable license, and he has since been running his business from Shop No. 27. Respondent No. 5 filed a writ petition with the High Court challenging the judgment dated 05.07.2007 that denied his request to move to Shop No. 12, which was stayed. The stay was extended until respondent No. 5’s license expired on 31.03.2009. The Market Committee, Chandigarh, denied respondent No. 5’s license renewal application.

Under the High Court’s order, respondent No. 5 continued to operate under the former license per the Supreme Court order. The Licence Committee under Licensing of Auction Platform Regulations, 1981 resolved to allot the platform site based on “One Site One Shop” and listed respondent No. 5 as co-allottee with the appellant. The appellant filed a writ petition against this decision.

The High Court granted respondent No. 5’s writ petition and renewed his license on 26 September 2011. The High Court further ruled that respondent No. 5 can use the platform in front of Store No. 27 unless the Act or Regulations are amended to provide alternative platform rights. The knowledgeable Single Judge also found that the right to utilize the platform and the license to do business in the market region were distinct and unrelated.

 

APPELLANT’S ARGUMENTS

The appellant in this case holds a valid license for shop No. 27 and has the right to use the adjacent auction platform. The respondent, who operates out of shop No. 12, cannot deny the appellant access to the auction platform, which is located close to shop No. 27, without being unfair and arbitrary. The appellant appealed the decision to co-allot the auction platform to the respondent to the learned Single Judge. If the appellant’s appeal fails, they will not be in a worse position than before they filed the writ petition. The sheds of the Market Committee had collapsed on 10.06.2007 and were rebuilt in 2009. The Secretary of Agriculture, U.T. Chandigarh issued principles and regulations stating that those who were allotted sheds for work prior to the collapse of shed 8 on 10.06.2007 were entitled to the same shed/space as they existed on that day. Although the appellant was granted a license on 16.07.2007, the sheds had collapsed on 10.06.2007, and therefore the appellant’s case is not covered by the policy. The Market Committee’s allocation of sheds is in line with the guidelines and policy issued by the Secretary, Agricultural Department, Chandigarh.

 

RESPONDENT’S ARGUMENTS

Respondent No. 5 had a valid license since 1970 and was using the auction platform when the shed collapsed on 10.06.2007. However, at the time of the allotment of newly constructed sheds, the respondent’s license was not valid due to non-renewal, and the Committee was in the process of considering granting the license. Finally, in February 2010, the license was granted. After the Committee was formed, respondent No. 5, who was a licensee and shed owner before the collapse of the shed, was allocated the shed. Based on the arguments presented, it is requested that the appeals be dismissed.

 

JUDGMENT

The appellant claimed the right to use the auction platform adjacent to their shop No. 27 and challenged the site co-allotment to respondent No. 5. However, the High Court ruled in favor of respondent No. 5, stating that they had a valid license and were entitled to the space as per the principles/guidelines of the Secretary, Agriculture. The Supreme Court upheld the High Court’s decision, stating that the appeals lacked merit and were dismissed.

 

WRITTEN BY KUMAR ANKUR, NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, LUCKNOW

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