HIGH COURT OF CHHATTISGARH, BILASPUR
WPC No. 3934 of 2021
Sewa Sahkari Samiti Maryadit Mudhipar District – Rajnandgaon, Through
Manager Namely Dhaneshwar Das Sahu Son Of Shankar Das Sahu, Aged
About 44 Years, R/o Village – Khairbana, Post – Itar, Block – Khairagarh,
District – Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh.
1. State Of Chhattisgarh Through The Secretary, Co-Operative Department,
Mahanadi Bhawan, Mantralaya, Atal Nagar, Nawa Raipur District Raipur
2. The Secretary Food, Civil Supplies And Consumer Protection Department,
Mahanadi Bhawan, Mantralaya, Atal Nagar, Nawa Raipur District Raipur
3. Chhattisgarh State Cooperative Marketing Fedration Maryadit Limited
Through Its Managing Director, Chhattisgarh State Cooperative Marketing
Fedration Maryadit Limited, Atal Nagar Naya Raipur District Raipur
4. The Registrar Cooperative Societies, Indrawati Bhawan, Atal Nagar, Nawa
Raipur District Raipur Chhattisgarh.
5. The Collector Rajnandgaon District Rajnandgaon Chhattisgarh.
6. District Marketing Officer Rajnandgaon District Rajnandgaon Chhattisgarh.
7. Chhattisgarh Rajya Sahkari Bank (Apex Bank) Through The Managing
Director, Chhattisgarh Rajya Sahkari, Bank Maryadit Head Office, Sahkar
Bhawan, Plot No. 74, Sector-24, Nawa Raipur Atal Nagar, District Raipur
8. District Cooperative Central Bank Limited Through Its Chief Executive
Officer, District Cooperative Central Bank Limited, Rajnandgaon District
9. District Food Officer Rajnandgaon District Rajnandgaon Chhattisgarh.
10. The Deputy Registrar Cooperative Societies, Rajnandgaon, District
For Petitioner : Shri Dharmesh Shrivastava, Advocate.
For Respondents/State : Shri Aman Kesharwani, PL.
For Respondents No.3 & 6: Shri Chetan Singh Chauhan, Advocate,
appears on behalf of Shri Ashish Surana,
For Respondent No.7 : Shri Jitendra Shrivastava, Advocate.
Hon’ble Shri Justice Goutam Bhaduri
1. The petitioner was running paddy procurement centre and they were to procure paddy from the farmers on behalf of the C.G. State Cooperating Marketing Federation Limited (MARKFED). After purchase it was to be stored in the procurement centres and thereafter required to be transferred to various storage centres as per the direction of the MARKFED.
As per Clause 4.1 of the policy of the State dated 29.11.2020, the paddy was to be procured by MARKFED and the policy also lays down different guidelines about the transportation of the paddy. It is submitted that in this case no agreement was entered in between the MARKFED, State and the petitioner.
2. Learned counsel for the petitioner would submit that as per Clause 4.1 of the policy, the entire procurement of paddy was to be done by MARKFED and as per Clause 16 of the policy MARKFED was responsible to transport the paddy through the transporter as per the approved rates. It is contended that pursuant to the policy the paddy procurement centres which are being run by the petitioner procured the paddy and at the time of procurement of paddy, the moisture content of the paddy was required to be to the extent of 17% and the paddy above said moisture level was not to be accepted from the framers.
It is contended that for paddy procurement centres the buffer limit was fixed and if it exceeds the paddy was to be transported within 72 hours but only meager amount of paddy could be transported which resulted into huge stock of paddy into the procurement centres. It is stated that the District Cooperative Central Bank had fixed the buffer limit of stock and in case the buffer limit exceeds, then the additional paddy is required to be lifted within time.
3. He further submits that though the policy requires the paddy to be lifted within stipulated time, the transportation could not take place by MARKFED. It is stated that in order to transport the paddy the Delivery Order (DO) and the Transportation Order (TO) are required to be issued. Delivery Order (DO) is issued by District Marketing Officer of a particular District wherein the paddy was kept and Transportation Order (TO) was issued to the Transporter so as to carry the paddy to the destination for which it was meant for.
It is submitted that in absence of issuance of TO/DO, the petitioner (procurement centres) could not transport the paddy, therefore no transportation could be carried out by the procurement centres and eventually with the ensuing rain despite all due diligence taken to protect the paddy from the rain few part are left to open sky and it has started causing loss. It is further submitted that since the paddy is kept over a specific period of time the petitioner had to incur additional expenses as the initial plastic bags were torn and the new Jute bags were to be procured and in order to transfer the paddy to newly procured bags the labour charges were also incurred along with payment of wages to them.
It is further submitted that because of termite and mice the loss is also caused to the paddy and in certain part the dryness to the paddy is also increased, furthermore with the rain the damp and the damage is caused which reduces the value of the paddy. Consequently, he prays that the petitioner may be reimbursed with the damage and loss caused and apart from that the additional charges with the entitlement of commission which the petitioner are entitled to receive may be paid which are not being paid to them.
4. Per contra, learned counsel for the respondents/ MARKFED and District Marketing Officer would submit that in the instant case there is no tri parte agreement was executed between the parties. It is stated as per the clause 16.3 of the policy, if the MARKFED fails to transport the paddy, then the petitioner could have transported the paddy on the schedule rates which they have failed to do so. It is further submitted that clause 9.7 of the policy also engrafts the condition that in case of any dispute they may approach the authorities including the Collector and Managing Director of the MARKFED, therefore the petitioner can very well approach the prescribed authorities.
It is further submitted that in case of loss caused, it is disputed question of facts which cannot be adjudicated by this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, the petition is liable to be dismissed.
5. Learned State counsel adopts the argument of the respondents.
6. Perused the documents filed along with the petitions.
7. In the instant case, the dispute has come to fore for non lifting of the paddy which is lying at the paddy procurement centres which was required to be transferred to storage centres. As per the policy dated 29.11.2020, the procurement of paddy was done. Clause 4.1 of the policy purports that the procurement of the paddy would be done by MARKFED. It also purports that the agreement would be executed but in these cases the agreement has not been executed.
The letters which are on record would show that the petitioner have informed the District Marketing Officer and the other authorities of the MARKFED by different letters that since the procurement of paddy has exceeded the buffer limit and certain part has only been transported, the rest of the paddy may be transported immediately. Obviously, there has not been any transportation of the rest of the paddy, therefore these petitions have been filed.
8. Clause 16 in the policy speaks about the transportation. For sake of brevity the relevant part is reproduced herein under:-
9. With respect to transportation, the policy lays down that the transportation arrangement would be done by the MARKFED and in case the MARKFED fails to transport the paddy, the transportation could be done by the approved transporter as per the approved rates and the petitioner/ society would be entitled to be reimbursed. At the same time it goes without saying that if the TO/DO are not issued then the paddy could not be transfered, as paddy being covered under the essential commodities.
10. Admittedly, as on date the paddy is lying with the society/ petitioner i.e. procurement centre. Though the policy engrafts that in case the paddy is not transferred by the MARKFED, the society/ petitioner could have transferred the same on approved rates with the approved transporters, if TO/ DO is issued. The letters in these cases are placed that though request was made to issue the TO/ DO to the MARKFED but they were not issued, therefore in absence of any TO/ DO the paddy could not be transfered.
Then in such case the petitioner cannot be held to be at fault for non transportation of the paddy to the storage centres. Certainly, this is a disputed question of facts which requires to be evaluated whether for delay in transportation, the paddy has lost its value by rain or by exposure or by termite or mice and for who’s fault. The clause 19.7 of the policy states that entire procurement of the paddy and subsequent arrangement would be done under the supervision of Collector and if any problem occurs, then the application can be filed with the Secretary of the State, Civil Supplies or the MD of MARKFED. The clause 19.7 of the policy reads as under:-
11. In this case, since the agreement was not executed but certain disputed facts are required to be ascertained as to how and why the loss has been caused and why transportation could not take place, therefore as per clause 19.7 of the policy since the Collector is in-charge of the particular district, the petitioner shall be at liberty to file necessary application along with the necessary documents before the Collector.
At the same time, the petitioner cannot be driven to the corner by arm twisting method for the loss caused to the paddy, as for whose fault the loss to the paddy is caused requires to be substantiated. Therefore, it is directed that the petitioner may file an application before the Collector within a period of 2 weeks from today canvassing all the grievance and thereafter the Collector shall decide the same by evaluating the facts of the case, the Collector shall adjudicate the issue after evidence is adduced as per the non performance of the duty caste as per the policy by either parties and thereafter shall adjudicate the grievance of the petitioner as early as possible.
12. In the meanwhile, if certain policy of State government comes into play it would govern the situation.
13. With such observation, the petition stands disposed of.