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RAJAGOPALAN, AGED 45 v. THE DIVISIONAL RAILWAY MANAGER - WP(C) No. 496 of 2007(H)  RD-KL 5358 (13 March 2007)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA AT ERNAKULAMWP(C) No. 496 of 2007(H)
1. RAJAGOPALAN, AGED 45,
1. THE DIVISIONAL RAILWAY MANAGER,
2. THE UNION OF INDIA,
For Petitioner :SRI.G.SREEKUMAR (CHELUR)
For Respondent :SRI.T.P.M.IBRAHIM KHAN,SR.SC, RAILWAYS
The Hon'ble MR. Justice THOTTATHIL B.RADHAKRISHNAN
O R D E R
THOTTATHIL B. RADHAKRISHNAN, J.
W.P.(C) Nos.496 of 2007 & 5408 of 2007
Dated this the 13th day of March, 2007.
J U D G M E N T
2. The operations of southern railway within the State of Kerala fall under the Trivandrum Division and Palakkad Division.
3. The Trivandrum Division invited tenders for awarding the contract for parcel handling at Trivandrum Central and at the Ernakulam Junction Railway Stations for a period of 3 years.
4. The petitioner in W.P.(C)No.496/07 was an aspirant to bid. The petitioner in W.P.(C) 5408/07 is the out going licencee. Their contentions are similar and they are represented through the same counsel. These writ petitions are therefore heard together. W.P.(C)Nos.496/07 & 5408/07 2
5. In so far as, Palakkad Division is concerned, it appears that there was a litigation before the High Court of Judicature at Madras in the form of W.P.(C)Nos.21688 & 24345 of 2004 leading to judgment dated 20.07.05 (Ext.P3 in W.P.(C) No.5408/07). The said judgment, though without stating any reasons, was issued, considering the facts and circumstances of the case, directing the railway authorities to take appropriate decision for finalising the guidelines for the grant of such licences and that the matter of issuance of licence for clearing and forwarding agency will be taken after finalisation of guidelines. Extension of licences granted to the parties therein where made subject to such decisions.
6. According to the petitioners, the communication (Ext.P4 in W.P.(C) No.5408/07) given from the Palakkad Division on a query under the Right to Information Act would not show that the railways have finalised the guidelines, following the aforesaid judgment of the High Court of Judicature at Madras. It is also W.P.(C)Nos.496/07 & 5408/07 3 the contention of the petitioners that unless such guidelines are issued, the impugned tenders would not stand. The petitioner further urged that the revenue price for each item in the auction is manifold the acutals as of now and the E.M.D to be remitted is also increased more than three times. It is accordingly urged that the impugned tenders are intended to exclude the commoners from the bid.
7. With the growth of the operations of the railways and nature of its activities, it cannot be denied that the handling of parcels and such other activities have also grown. A perusal of the impugned tender documents will show that numerous risks are imposed on the contractor / licencee in case of default etc. The rates reflected by the tender documents are rates at which the railway has to pay the contractor. So much so, the fixation of the rates by the railways cannot be impugned since that is entirely the matter within the commercial wisdom of the railways. As regards the EMD, it can be easily noticed that the earnest W.P.(C)Nos.496/07 & 5408/07 4 endeavour of the railways is to ensure that persons entering into the contract should essentially have the necessary financial backing.
8. The policy of the railways, in so far as commercial matters are concerned, can obviously vary from zone to zone etc. depending upon various relevant factors and requirements. These are matters within the commercial wisdom of the railways and are not matters for judicial review of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, except in exceptionally exceptional situations, where glaring illegality and arbitrariness occur or when it is shown that the entire exercise is contrary to larger public interest. For the aforesaid reasons I find no merits in these writ petitions. Accordingly, they are dismissed. No costs. THOTTATHIL B. RADHAKRISHNAN,
JUDGE.sj W.P.(C)Nos.496/07 & 5408/07 5
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