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Appeal Arises From Writ Petition Challenging Consequential Order of Stoppage of Business: Kerala High Court

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Case: The Chairman v. Shameer P.S. & Others 


A writ appeal was filed against an interim order passed by the learned Single Judge in a writ petition. 

Facts of the Case

The revocation had come into effect and the consequential order of stoppage of business had been challenged in the writ petition from which the appeal arose. 

The 1st respondent, Shameer P.S., was carrying on a business in vegetable and cold storage as per the D&O license. The appellant who managed the temple was concerned with the desecration of the temple premises with the waste generated from the business of cold storage of the 1st respondent. 

The appellant had filed a writ petition in which judgment was passed. It was directed that the competent authority of the Corporation would consider the objections raised by the appellant and decide upon the renewal of license. The complaint raised of the business being carried without a proper D&O license would also be looked into. According to this order, another order was passed directing stoppage of the business conducted by the 1st respondent. 

The said order of stoppage was challenged by the 1st respondent in W.P (C) No. 9984 of 2020 which was heard along with another writ petition, wherein a similar order was challenged by yet another trader, and an interim order was passed. 

The undertaking of the 1st respondent that he would not conduct any business other than in fruits and vegetables was recorded. As a consequence, the premises which were closed down and sealed by the officials were directed to be resumed to the possession of the petitioner to enable him to conduct his business. 

According to the objections raised against the functioning of the business, it was directed that the Devaswom which was the appellant, who was not made a party in the above writ petition, be impleaded. From the records of W.P.(C) No. 9984/2020 it was seen that an impleading petition was filed by Devaswom immediately after the interim order was passed. The matter was still pending and it was deemed infructuous. 

After the interim order on 19.06.2020, it was seen that the 1st respondent was issued the D&O license for carrying on the business of vegetables and fruits. Alleging non-consideration of the objections of the appellant a contempt case was initiated, by the appellant as against the non-compliance of direction in the judgment. The contempt case was disposed of. It was conceded in the contempt proceedings that the Corporation had unilaterally granted renewal of the trade license and an opportunity was sought to remedy and rectify the same. The learned Single Judge hence closed the contempt case recording the submission of the Corporation and directed consideration of the objections as stipulated. The learned Single Judge also cautiously observed that there was no adjudication made by this court on the merits of the controversy.

In compliance with the contempt case, the parties were heard and an order was passed by the Corporation revoking the license granted was challenged in W.P.(C) No. 23016/2020. The same was filed on 27.10.2020 and was posted before Court on various dates. The matter was admitted on 22.03.2021. However, despite a prayer made for an interim order, no stay of the order of revocation was granted. Despite the 1st respondent had not obtained a stay of the order of revocation, as was seen from the records he continued with his business; which continuance was sans a D&O license. The Corporation authorities had taken up the matter and an inspection was conducted based on which a report was filed by a team of employees of the Health Department of the Corporation.

It was stated that the 1st respondent was carrying on a vegetable and fruit stall in building No.42/856A. It was also reported that there were unauthorized construction extending to 110 sq. meters in the premises. Notices were issued and eventually an order was passed, which directed the removal of unauthorized constructions and stoppage of the business. This order was a consequence of the order challenged in W.P(C) No.23106/2020. The revocation of the D&O license as per the order challenged in W.P(C) No.23106/2020 did not stay in the earlier proceedings.

The 1st respondent ought not to have continued his business even confined to vegetables and fruits. This was for the simple reason that he had no D&O license to carry on the business for the reason of the revocation order having not been stayed. In the subsequent writ petition challenging the consequential order the learned Single Judge, inadvertently directed continuance of the business. As of now even if the revocation order was interfered with, the license did not revive, as it had expired as early as 31.03.2021.

Arguments by the Parties

The appellant had submitted that by the interim order, the 1st respondent had been permitted to continue his business in vegetables and fruits despite the corporation having revoked his D&O license. 

The 1st respondent had submitted that the revocation order produced is challenged in W.P. (C) No. 23016/2020. It was argued that he had continued the business only by interim order in W.P(C) No.9984 of 2020. 

The 1st respondent submitted that he had then made a fresh application for a D&O license, which could be directed to be considered. It was also prayed that till such consideration the 1st respondent might be allowed to continue the business.

Court’s Observation

The Court had observed that it was noticed from the order impugned in the W.P.(C) that several writ petitions were pending between the parties and the litigation, and had a chequered past. Hence, it was called for the writ petitions also for hearing to have a quietus in the matter.

The Court had observed that the submission by the 1st respondent was not countenanced especially since the issuance of license and revocation was after the interim order of the court. It was not approved as one bona fide made, especially since the 1st respondent was quite aware of this position and had challenged the revocation in a separate writ petition.

It was also opined that there could be a consideration made of the application for D&O license, but after hearing Devaswom also. However, the court didn’t incline to permit the continuance of the business especially noticing the fact that despite the revocation of trade license and the same having not been stayed by this Court in a challenge made, the 1st respondent had been continuing the business. 

Court’s Decision

The Court held that the W.P(C) No.9984 of 2020 filed by the 1st respondent in the appeal was against the earlier stop memo issued. W.P.(C) No.9783 of 2021 filed by the appellant sought further proceedings on the report. Both Writ petitions did not survive and were closed as infructuous.

In W.P.(C) No. 185/2021 the appellant had contentions with other traders also. In such circumstances, the same should be considered by the Bench having a roster.

The Court had issued the following directions and disposed of WA 736/20 W.P(C) No.11172/2021 and 23106/2020.

Considering that the petitioner was carrying on the business of perishable items, the continuance of the business till 1.00 pm on 01.06.2021 was permitted. It was then directed to the 1st respondent to stop the business carried on the premises. The Corporation should inspect the premises and ensure the stoppage. If the petitioner had complied with the directions and removed the unauthorized constructions, only then the Corporation should take up consideration of renewal of license, within two weeks from that date.

The appellant and the 1st respondent should be issued with notice and a hearing shall be conducted within the said period. An order should be passed within one week from the date of hearing. The rival contentions of the parties were left open to be agitated before the Corporation.

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