Disputes on interpretation and terms of contracts, not a subject matter of writ proceedings: High Court Of Jammu & Kashmir And Ladakh

Certain facts which had emerged from the pleadings of the parties and are required to be noticed were that the petitioner was awarded two purchase orders by respondent No.1. The Hon’ble High Court Of Jammu & Kashmir And Ladakh before the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sanjay Dhar held such an opinion regarding the case of M/S Venoos Furniture Vs. Sicop And Others [OWP No.792/2016].

The facts of the case were related to a Mandamus Writ petition filed by the petitioner against the respondents to give a payment of Rs.83,00,180/-. This payment is required to provide the payment of the furniture -wooden frame, shutters for doors/windows for lab/office of  Block-B wing at SKUAST main campus. A small-scale industrial unit was registered by the petitioner, named Vide Communications bearing Nos.SICOP/GMP-K/11- 12/356-57 & SICOP/GMP-K/11-12/358-59 dated 11.05.2012. The petitioner was required to provide and fix deodar wood frames, shutters for doors/windows, and a conference table set for the administrative/lecture hall block at the Faculty of Fisheries Rangil for approximate costs of Rs.52,57,151/.  Moreover, the petitioner was asked to provide the wooden frames and shutters for doors/windows for the lab/office Block-B wing at SKUAST main campus, Shalimar, for a cost of about Rs.83,00,255/. 

Furthermore, the respondent failed to provide dumping space to the petitioner due to which the petitioner had to dump in its shops situated at Dadikadal Srinagar. Afterward, due to the disastrous floods of September 2014, all of his materials got damaged. The petitioner asked respondent no.1 by serving a legal notice to release the payment which it had received from respondent No.2 but of no avail, leading the petitioner to file an instant writ petition. It was admitted by respondent 1 that two purchase orders from the petitioner were issued but the petitioner failed to do the work of the 2nd purchase due to which to complete the work a huge payment was made by the respondent to M/S Green Line Pvt. Ltd. Furthermore, respondent 2 had denied that the material got damaged during floods, and stated that written communication regarding cancellation of order was made to the SICOP. 

After all considerations, it was questioned if the respondents placed the orders without informing the petitioner and whether the petitioner really suffered any damages during the floods or not. It seemed that the petitioner had permitted in the inactivity of respondent No.2 in providing space for the dumping as it did not approach any court of law to agitate its rights until May 2016. When the floods inflicted havoc in Kashmir Valley, the material that was stated to have been prepared by the petitioner, was lying in its shops, was intact, is a question of fact which required to be determined after leading evidence. 

After all the considerations and going through the facts, the Hon’ble Court had the opinions “ …  It is clear that the transaction between the parties is a contract in the realm of private law. The same is governed by the provisions of Contract Act and also by provisions of Sale of Goods Act. A dispute relating to interpretation and terms of such a contract cannot be a subject matter of writ proceedings.”

Thereby, the Hon’ble High Court Of Jammu & Kashmir And Ladakh ruled out “In view of aforesaid position of law, it is clear that the petitioner by approaching this Court by way of writ petition has not chosen the appropriate remedy. The issues involved in the petition arise out of contract between the parties and the same can be determined only in a civil suit after full dressed trial and not in the writ proceedings. Thus, the writ petition is held to be not maintainable. The same is, accordingly, dismissed with liberty to the petitioner to avail appropriate remedy of civil suit, if so advised.”

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Judgment reviewed by Bipasha Kundu 

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