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The Court cannot sit as an Appellate Authority and scrutinize as to whom the tender should be given- Madras High Court

They had every right to participate in the auction. None of the members of the Association participated in the auction. They cannot question the procedure adopted. These were stated by the bench of Honourable Justice C. V. Karthikeyan in the case of P. Subbiah @ Subbian vs. The District Collector & Ors. (W.P.(MD)No.20324 of 2021).

The crux of the case is the Petitioner, P. Subbiah, President of Pappaianpatti Kanmoi Water Users Association filed affidavit claimed that the Kanmoi is meant for irrigation and about 350 acres of land depend on the water from the Kanmoi, benefitting about 7500 families. It was further claimed that leaseholders of fishing rights cause damage to the tank bund to release water from the tank, to enable them to catch the fish. This affected irrigation. It was stated that the Public Works Department laid a condition that the lessees should not damage the bund of the Kanmoi or release the water, prior to bringing fishing rights to auction. It was further stated that the petitioner came to know that the respondents intended to auction the fishing rights however, the seventh respondent claimed that he had obtained fishery rights. The petitioner then came to know that the respondents had issued a tender notification dated 09.09.2021. It was stated that the entire proceedings stand vitiated owing to lack of transparency and failure to follow due process of law. It was further stated that four persons participated in the auction and finally, the seventh respondent herein, P. Nagamuthu was declared the highest bidder for Rs.48,900/-. It was stated that Clause 14 of the tender stipulated that the lessee should not damage the tank bund or close the inflow of water into the tank. The water, meant for irrigation should not be let out. It had been stipulated that violation would entail cancellation of the lease and forfeiture of deposit.

The bench of Honourable Justice C. V. Karthikeyan while referring to the case of Nagar Nigam Meerut v. AL Faheem Meat Exports (P) Ltd. ((2006) 13 SCC 382) and Uflex Ltd. Vs Government of Tamil Nadu and others (2021 SCC Online SC 738) stated that “It is thus seen that the right to auction fishing rights was the correct step undertaken by the respondents. The petitioner should have participated in the auction. Conditions protecting the interest of the members of the petitioner Association have been imposed by the respondents. The Court cannot sit as an Appellate Authority and scrutinize as to whom the tender should be given.

The Writ Petitioner having failed to participate in the auction cannot call upon the Court to enter into a roving enquiry on the entire issue. I am confident that the respondents would ensure that the stipulations in the notifications are not violated by the seventh respondent.

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Judgement reviewed by Himanshu Ranjan

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