Mohamed Imranullah S.
Madras High Court criticises Madurai Division of Southern Railway
Judge also finds fault with licensee of two-wheeler parking stand
MADURAI: The Madras High Court has criticised the Madurai Division of Southern Railway and a licensee of two- wheeler parking stand in Tirunelveli railway junction for breach of contract entered between them.
Disposing of a writ petition filed by the licensee before the Madurai Bench, Justice G.Rajasuria directed the railway authorities to refund Rs.12.25 lakh out of Rs.14 lakh paid by the petitioner towards advance and annual licence fee.
He said that the entire trouble arose because of granting the licence without demarcating the area for operating the stand.
“There are allegations and counter allegations (between the licensee and railways). But, one fact is clear that both have to be blamed for their breach of contract even though one is accusing the other for such breach.”
The petitioner, V. Essakiammal, claimed that she was a successful bidder for operating the two-wheeler stand on 1,325 square metres of railway land for three years from August 2005.
But the officials did not demarcate the area to be utilised by her and hence she began operating the stand on 275 square metres of land, which was used as a cycle stand by a previous licensee.
Three months later, the petitioner decided to close down the stand owing to non-cooperation from officials and sought refund of the amount.
However, the railway officials, in their counter affidavit, refuted all allegations levelled against them and claimed that there was no fault on their part.
After perusing the records, Mr. Justice Rajasuria said that the railway officials ought to have specified the parking area and the licensee too should have determined it well before the tender process.
“Now, both are at fault and in this factual matrix, the court could only put them in their respective former position to the extent possible,” he said and directed the Southern Railway to refund the fee after deducting Rs.1.75 lakh for three months of operation.
He rejected the plea to deduct more money on the ground that the Southern Railway was also to be blamed for violating the contract.
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