Business Standard

HC restrains monopoly of catering stalls in railway stations


Press Trust of India Chennai
The Madras High Court, in a bid to

check monopoly of licensed catering stalls in railway stations, has refused to stall a public tender process adopted by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) for providing new licences to such stalls.
A division bench of Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice M Dhandapani dismissed a plea by a woman whose husband runs 11 stalls in various railways stations.
The woman had sought a direction to the railways to renew her husband's licence for setting up stalls in Erode Station.
The bench made it clear that government properties cannot be allowed to be fettered by perpetuity.
"By clinging to the stall eternally, the petitioner will only be depriving others of the opportunity. Having had her fingers in the pie, she would only like to cling to it and have the whole pie for herself. It is in the fitness of things that everybody has a taste of the pie.
"Therefore, there is no uprooting of the petitioner, but there is only uprooting of the avarice of the individuals," the bench said.
"That apart, the decision taken by the railways to lease the stalls out through public auction is in larger interest of the public," it said.
Competition would fetch the best price, which would only ultimately ensure benefit of the public, it said.
If the right was leased out by public auction, everyone would have a chance to participate, including the petitioner, and there would be more transparency, the court said.
"Such public auction is also likely to yield higher income," it added.
The issue pertains to a plea moved by P K Amina, who was allotted licence by IRCTC for operating a catering stall on a platform at the Erode railway station.
The licence was granted for five years with effect from March 23, 2009 and it was subsequently renewed for a further period of three years.
Before its expiry, she made a representation to IRCTC on February 4, 2017, seeking further renewal, which was refused by the authorities.
Aggrieved, she approached the high court.
A single judge dismissed her petition following which she moved the present appeal.
Rejecting it, the bench added given the fact that the petitioner's husband already possesses licences for 11 such stalls in the same division, her claim seeking further renewal was nothing but an attempt to monopolise the entire business.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: Jun 30 2018 | 9:05 PM IST

Explore News