Thursday, Dec 04, 2003
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By J. Venkatesan
A Bench comprising the Chief Justice, V.N. Khare and Justice Ashok Bhan, suspended the November 28 High Court order following a statement made by K.K. Venugopal, senior counsel, appearing for Tamil Nadu, that only the TASMAC would carry on IMFL retail vending under the October 26 ordinance. (Though Justice A.R. Lakshmanan was also on the Bench, he did not participate in the hearing.)
The High Court had passed the order on a batch of writ petitions challenging the ordinance, vesting the entire IMFL vending operation with the TASMAC. According to the order, 879 licensees 284 who had remitted the privilege amount before July 31, 2002 and 595 persons who made the payment by September 30 could conduct retail vending from November 29, when the ordinance came into force. This would be subject to the final orders to be passed on the petitions.
In its brief order, the apex court Bench said: ``Issue notice. Notice on the prayer for interim relief also.'' Further, ``in view of the statement (made by Mr. Venugopal), we suspend the operation of the order under challenge in this special leave petition.''
The Bench said ``this order shall cease to have effect as and when any judgment is delivered by the High Court. This order shall not be construed by the High Court as an expression of opinion on merits by this court. The same shall not come in the way of the High Court deciding the matter on merit in anyway.''
Mr. Venugopal said the High Court committed a grave error, allowing the 879 licensees to carry on their business when the ordinance and the subsequent Act conferred an exclusive privilege on the State-owned TASMAC and prohibited any other person from carrying on the business.
Mr. Venugopal, along with another senior counsel, C.S. Vaidyanathan, and the Additional Advocate-General, Tamil Nadu, R. Muthukumaraswamy, submitted that since the ordinance or the subsequent Act had not been stayed by the High Court, no interim order permitting the private licensees to continue their business could have been passed. Appearing for the private IMFL shops, the senior counsel, G.L. Sanghi, P. Chidambaram, R.F. Nariman and K.M. Vijayan, said it was only an interim order passed on the basis of a submission made by the Government to allow 879 licensees to continue their business. Mr. Chidambaram said the TASMAC, in the guise of exclusive vending, had handpicked some societies to run the shops and these were not run by the state undertaking.
At this juncture, the Chief Justice told Mr. Venugopal, ``We can permit only the TASMAC, and not any other society, to run the shops.'' Mr. Venugopal, after consulting the Excise Secretary, R. Balakrishnan, gave an undertaking that only the TASMAC would carry on the retail vending of IMFL shops. In the light of this statement, the Bench suspended the operation of the High Court's interim order.
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of