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Lalluji Balkishan Das & Brothers & Another v. State Of U.P. Thru' Chief Secy. & Ors. - WRIT - C No. 54270 of 2004  RD-AH 14659 (29 August 2006)
Reserved on 19th August, 2006
Delivered on 29th August, 2006
Civil Misc. Writ Petition No. 54270 of 2004
Lalluji Balkishan Das & Brothers & Anr.
State of U.P. & Ors.
Hon. Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.
Hon. Dilip Gupta, J.
This petition has been filed for a direction upon the District Election Officer/District Magistrate, Allahabad and the Chief Election Officer, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow to make payment of Rs. 12,01,039/- to the petitioners in view of the findings recorded by the District Election Officer/District Magistrate, Allahabad in the letter dated 25th June, 2004.
A tender was invited for giving on rent tents, furniture, Shamiyanas etc. for the purpose of holding of the Assembly elections in the State in September, 1996. The petitioners submitted their tender and ultimately the contract was given to the petitioners by the order dated 16th September, 1996. After the completion of the work, the petitioners submitted a bill for Rs. 17,58,371/- but the claim of the petitioners was rejected by the Chief Election Officer by means of the order dated 28th July, 1998. This order was challenged by the petitioners by filing Writ Petition No. 26773 of 1998. This petition was connected with Writ Petition No. 28940 of 1998 which had been filed by the petitioners in respect of the payment of Rs. 61,53,845/- for the work done by the petitioners for holding of the elections in the year 1995 and which payment was denied by the order dated 13th August, 1998 passed by the Secretary, Department of Panchayat Raj, Government of U.P. Both the Writ Petitions were allowed by the judgment and order dated 22nd November, 2000 and the order dated 28th July, 1999 impugned in the Writ Petition No. 26773 of 1998 and the order dated 13th August, 1998 impugned in the Writ Petition No. 28940 of 1998 were quashed and further direction was issued to decide the case of the petitioners afresh after giving them opportunity to place their views in the light of the recommendations made by the District Magistrate and Commissioner, Allahabad Division, Allahabad.
Pursuant to the aforesaid directions issued by this Court, the Chief Election Officer, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow passed a detailed order dated 8/12th June, 2001 in respect of each of the claims raised by the petitioners and the claim to the extent of Rs.6,47,332.00/- was only accepted. It has been stated by the petitioners that an application was filed before the Chief Election Officer, U.P., Lucknow for reviewing the aforesaid order dated 8/12th June, 2001. Subsequently, another communication dated 19th October, 2001 was sent to the Chief Election Officer pointing out that though sufficient time had lapsed, no order has been passed on their review application. The records further reveal that thereafter the petitioners represented the matter to the Commissioner, Allahabad Division who obtained comments of the District Magistrate, who by his letter dated 25th June, 2004, sent a report to the Commissioner, Allahabad Division, Allahabad.
This petition has been filed for a direction upon the respondents to enforce the aforesaid directions contained in the aforesaid communication dated 25th June, 2004 of the District Magistrate relating to payment of dues to the extent of Rs.12,01,039.00/- with interest @ 18% per annum w.e.f. 4th March, 1997.
We have heard Shri Somesh Khare, learned counsel for the petitioners at length and the learned Standing Counsel appearing for the respondents.
The records clearly reveal that pursuant to the directions issued by this Court on 22nd December, 2000 in the aforesaid two writ petitions filed by the petitioners, the Chief Election Officer, U.P. passed a detailed order on 8/12th June, 2001. A perusal of the said order indicates that the claims set up by the petitioners was considered under various heads and findings have been recorded after considering the comments sent by the then District Magistrate, Allahabad. Detailed reasons have been stated as to why particular claims could not be accepted and why the claims to the extent of Rs.6,47,332.00/- could be accepted. This order dated 8/12th June, 2001 was not challenged by the petitioners in this Court or before any other appropriate forum, and on the other hand, the petitioners merely moved an application before the Chief Election Officer on 1st August, 2001 pointing out that the letter and spirit of the judgment and order dated 22nd December, 2000, passed by this Court, had not been strictly followed and that some important aspects relating to factual as well as legal implications were not appreciated due to some "miscommunication or due to non-availability of fair assistance by the State so far as their records are concerned." This application for review was never seriously pursued by the petitioners before the Chief Election Officer, U.P., Lucknow, but the petitioners devised a novel method by again approaching the Commissioner, Allahabad Division and the District Magistrate, Allahabad, whereupon, the report dated 25th June, 2004 was submitted by the then District Magistrate, Allahabad.
The aforesaid exercise undertaken by the petitioners cannot confer any benefit upon them as the Chief Election Officer had earlier by a detailed and reasoned order dated 8/12th June, 2001 decided the matter. This order passed by the Chief Election Officer was not assailed by the petitioners in any proceedings and nor has it been impugned in the present petition and what has been sought to be contended is that irrespective of the order passed by the Chief Election Officer on 8/12th June, 2001, the directions contained in the communication dated 25th July, 2004 of the District Magistrate, Allahabad should be given effect to.
We repeatedly asked Sri Somesh Khare, learned counsel for the petitioners as to under what authority of law the District Magistrate could sit in appeal over the order passed by the Chief Election Officer. Sri Somesh Khare sought time on 30th January, 2006 to explain the position. A supplementary affidavit has been filed on behalf of the petitioners and reliance has been placed on paragraph ''4' of the Office Order dated 26th May, 1998, which provides that in respect of the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections held in the year 1996 and the Lok Sabha elections held in the year 1998, if some payment in respect of furniture etc. is still required to be made, then recommendations may be sent to the Chief Election Officer by the Committee headed by the Commissioner of the Division. Sri Somesh Khare, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners contended that it is pursuant to the aforesaid Office Order dated 26th May, 1998 that the Commissioner, Allahabad Division has obtained the comments from the District Magistrate who had sent it on 25th June, 2004.
We are of the opinion that that the Office Order dated 26th May, 1998 has no application to the present case as the claim of the petitioners had been rejected by the Chief Election Officer by the order dated 28th July, 1998 which had been challenged in Writ Petition No. 26773 of 1998 and it is pursuant to the final directions contained in the judgment and order dated 22nd September, 2000 issued by this Court to the Chief Election Officer to consider the case of the petitioners afresh that the Chief Election Officer after examining the claim of the petitioners passed an order for payment of Rs.6,47,332/-. The Government Order dated 26th May, 1998 can, therefore, have no application once the Chief Election Officer had himself determined the issue.
Sri Khare also made an attempt to defend the proceedings before the District Magistrate by contending that the same have been undertaken pursuant to the query made by the Chief Election Officer on the recall/review application requiring the District Magistrate to specify the name, the designation and seal of the officer concerned who had sent the 20 pages of work verification documents to the Chief Election Officer. This contention also cannot be accepted because the query was specific and indeed the Additional District Magistrate by the letter dated 31st August, 2002 also disclosed the names of the persons. It cannot, therefore, be said that the proceedings had been initiated by the District Magistrate pursuant to some query sought by the Chief Election Officer on the recall/review application filed by the petitioners.
The petitioners had allowed the order dated 8/12th June, 2001 to become final and had not challenged it in any proceedings or in this petition. We had specifically mentioned the fact in our order dated 30th January, 2006 but even thereafter the petitioners did not move any application for challenging the said order and only an oral mention was made at the time of hearing of this petition that some time may be given to file the amendment application. We saw no justification in giving any time and the learned counsel for the petitioners also pressed his claim on the basis of the Government Order dated 26th May, 1998.
Sri Somesh Khare, learned counsel for the petitioners also made submissions regarding the validity of the claims and also that the order passed by the Chief Election Officer was not in conformity with the judgment and order passed by this Court on 22nd September, 2000 but we see no justification in examining the same as the petitioners have not challenged the order dated 8/12th June, 2001 passed by the Chief Election Officer.
We are, therefore, of the opinion that any action taken by the Commissioner and the District Magistrate on the application filed by the petitioners is a nullity and cannot be taken cognizance of. It must also be pointed out that the petitioners had filed a review application before the Chief Election Officer in August, 2001 and after three years they approached this Court when certain recommendations were made by the District Magistrate, Allahabad in their favour.
The petitioners are, therefore, not entitled to any relief from this Court. The Writ Petition is, accordingly, dismissed. There shall be no orders as to costs.
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