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Om Prakash Gupta And Another v. Senior Divisional Vommercial Manager And Others - WRIT - C No. 9563 of 2004  RD-AH 1269 (18 January 2006)
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 9563 of 2004
Om Prakash Gupta and another ...Petitioners
Senior Divisional Commercial Manager,
Central Railway, Allahabad and others ...Respondents
Hon'ble R.K. Agrawal, J.
Hon'ble (Mrs.) Saroj Bala, J.
By way of this writ petition, under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the petitioners seek a writ, order or direction in the nature of certiorari quashing the impugned advertisement dated 14.2.2004 issued by the respondent no. 2 inviting applications for licence of Rail Travel Service Agent at Allahabad so far as it relates to two vacancies for which the selection of the petitioners was made on 12.11.2003. The petitioners also seek a writ, order or direction in the nature of mandamus commanding the respondents to issue licence authorizing the petitioners to act as Rail Travel Service Agent.
The brief narration of the facts relating to the writ petition are these:
In pursuance of an advertisement made by the respondent no.3 in various newspapers including '' Times of India' published on 22.4.2002 (Annexure-1 to the writ petition) inviting applications in the prescribed form for the grant of licence of Rail Travel Service Agent the petitioners submitted the application forms (Annexures-2 and 3 to the writ petition) along with requisite documents namely agreement of lease of business premises, solvency certificate, character certificate, income tax clearance certificate, site-plan of building, telephone bills and experience certificate. After submission of the application forms a new division of railway, i.e., North Central Railway was carved out. The application forms submitted by the petitioners for selection as Rail Travel Service Agent were transferred to the office of the North Central Railway. The application forms were processed by the respondent no. 2 who vide letter dated 20.10.2003 (Annexure-4 to the writ petition) intimated the petitioners that the selection of the candidates for Rail Travel Service Agent would be made on 28.10.2003 by lottery draw. Out of 13 applications six forms including that of petitioners were found fulfilling the requisite qualifications. The lottery draw was postponed on 28.10.2003 and the petitioners were informed that the next date of lottery draw shall be communicated to them. The respondent no. 2 vide letter dated 5.11.2003 (Annexures-5 and 6 to the writ petition) informed the petitioners that their names have been included in the list of the qualified applicants and the lottery draw would be held on 12.11.2003 at 3 p.m. Both the petitioners were declared successful in the lottery draw. It is alleged that the respondent no. 1 assured and made an announcement that the licences would be issued within a week. Sri A.K. Singh and Sri V.K. Pandey, Commercial Movement Inspectors, inspected the business premises of the petitioners and on being satisfied assured that the licence will be issued within a week. The respondents having failed to issue licence in pursuance of the selection made by lottery draw on 12.11.2003 despite repeated requests, reminders and representations, the petitioners have been compelled to file the present writ petition. The petitioners have stated that the re-advertisement made on 14.2.2004 for licence of Rail Travel Service Agent in relation to vacancies for which selection of the petitioners was made on 12.11.2003 is wholly arbitrary, unjust, unreasonable, illegal land violative of Articles 14, 21 and Article 300-A of the Constitution of India.
On behalf of other respondents counter affidavit of Sri Sunil Kumar Garg, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, North Central Railway, Allahabad has been filed. The respondents have admitted that in pursuance of the advertisement made on 22.4.2002 for the grant of licneces of Rail Travel Service Agent, the petitioners applied for and were declared successful in the lottery draw. It is alleged that on scrutiny under Para 1 of the Railway Rules the petitioners not possessing the required experience their candidature was rejected and on 14.2.2004 fresh advertisement was made inviting applications for Rail Travel Service Agent. The respondents have stated that condition no. 24 of the advertisement clearly stipulated that the railway administration reserves its right to reject the applications without assigning any reason. According to the respondents, after the lottery draw nominated committee on going through the papers rejected the lottery draw held on 12.11.2003 as none of the candidate produced experience certificate as required under condition no. 1 of the advertisement.
The petitioners in the rejoinder affidavit have reiterated the facts stated earlier. The petitioners have annexed the photo copies of the experience certificates (Annexures-RA-1 and 2 to the rejoinder affidavit) which were submitted along with the application forms. The contention of the petitioners is that inclusion of their names in the list of qualified applicants, indicates that their application forms were complete in every respect. According to the petitioners reservation of right to reject the application forms without assigning any reason does not confer any power upon the railway administration to act arbitrarily. The petitioners have stated that in the fresh advertisement made on 14.2.2004, there is omission of condition of experience in Passengers Travel Business.
We have heard Sri Ashok Khare, learned senior counsel assisted by Sri Rakesh Kumar, learned counsel for the petitioners and Sri S.R.Nigam, learned counsel for the respondents and have waded through the record of the writ petition and the original application forms produced before us.
This fact remains unchallenged that in pursuance of the advertisement dated 22.4.2002 the petitioners submitted application forms for grant of licence of Rail Travel Service Agent. The names of the petitioners appeared in the list of the qualified candidates and both of them were declared successful in the lottery draw held on 12.11.2003. After declaration of the result of lottery draw on 12.11.2003, the respondents failed to issue licence despite repeated requests, reminders and representations. The contention of the respondents is that the petitioners having not filed experience certificate as required under condition no. 1 of the advertisement along with their application forms, their candidature was rejected and fresh advertisement was made on 14.2.2004. The fresh advertisement including the two vacancies for which the petitioners were selected has been challenged on the ground of arbitrariness, unreasonableness and infringement of Articles 14, 21 and Article 300-A of the Constitution of India. The original application forms were produced before us. On perusal of originals we have found enclosed the original experience certificate dated 2.2.1997 of Sri Om Prakash Gupta, petitioner no. 1 and undated experience certificate of Sri Sudhir Kumar Gupta, petitioner no. 2. The selection of the petitioners has been rejected for want of experience certificates though the original application forms accompanied experience certificates. The mentioning of the names of the petitioners in the list of the qualified applicants bears testimony to the fact that the experience certificates were produced with the application forms and the application forms were found complete in all respects. The petitioners application forms having accompanied experience certificates and other relevant documents, the rejection of selection for grant of licence of Rail Travel Service Agent is wholly arbitrary, unreasonable, unjust, illegal and violative of principles of natural justice, equity and fair play. The respondents have made a re-advertisement for selection of Rail Travel Service Agent including the two vacancies for which selection of the petitioners was made. In the re-advertisement the condition of experience in Passengers Travel Business for a period of three years has been omitted. The selection in pursuance of the advertisement dated 14.2.2004 was stayed by this Court by interim order dated 10.3.2004. The cancellation of the selection of the petitioners in pursuance of the advertisement dated 22.4.2002 for want of experience certificates, though the applications accompanied experience certificates and re-advertisement for selection over the said vacancies is against the law necessitating remand of the matter for decision afresh.
In view of the above discussions, the writ petition is partly allowed with no order as to costs. The respondents are directed to reconsider the matter of grant of licence of Rail Travel Service Agent to the petitioners in pursuance of the selection held on 12.11.2003. The interim stay order dated 10.3.2004 stands vacated.
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