The Supreme Court Friday refused to entertain a plea seeking cancellation of a lease awarding 50 acres of land at the Kandla Port to a private firm and asked the NGO, which filed the petition, to move the Gujarat High Court.
The apex court dismissed the appeal filed by NGO 'Centre for Public Interest Litigation' (CPIL) challenging the Delhi high court's order on October 1 last year by which it had termed the PIL as not maintainable due to the lack of territorial jurisdiction.
The high court had said that no part of cause of action has arisen within its territorial jurisdiction and had granted liberty to the petitioner NGO to approach the appropriate forum in accordance with law. The NGO then filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.
"We are not inclined to interfere with the order impugned in the special leave petition as, in our considered view, no prejudice has been caused by requiring the petitioner to move the appropriate jurisdiction i.e. the High Court of Gujarat raising its grievance under the same subject matter before the said High Court. The special leave petition is, accordingly, dismissed," a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul said.
"How is the writ petition maintainable in the Delhi High Court. Just because the the Centre government sits in Delhi, you cannot file the PIL in Delhi. Go to the Gujarat High Court," the bench observed.
The high court had said that the tender has been issued from Gandhidham, and the land is situated at Kutch in Gujarat and hence, the high court has no jurisdiction there.
The NGO had alleged that the KPT, now known as Deendayal Port Trust, overvalued the structures set up at the site by the firm, Friends Salt Works and Allied Industries (FSWAI), when it had leased the land in the past, to ensure that only the firm gets the contract.
It had claimed that the FSWAI did not have to pay the amount of Rs 207 crore if it was successful in the bid and added that under the earlier lease agreement the KPT did not have any contractual obligation to compensate the firm for its assets.
The NGO had sought that if the lease of 50 acres of land at the port awarded to the firm in April 2015 was not cancelled, then the amount of Rs 207 crore be recovered from it.
"The introduction of said clause in the tender (to compensate FSWAI) is illegal and arbitrary since it was the responsibility of FSWAI to remove the structures before the expiry of the (earlier) lease. The additional burden of Rs 207 crore on other bidders put them at a significant disadvantage and ensured that the said tender would be awarded to FSWAI," the NGO had alleged in its plea.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)