New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday said it cannot entertain a plea seeking cancellation of a lease awarding 50 acres of land at Kandla Port in Gujarat to a private firm due to lack of territorial jurisdiction.
“Hence, it must be held that no part of cause of action has arisen within the territorial jurisdiction of this court and the present petition is not maintainable in this court,” said a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V. Kameswar Rao.
However, the bench granted liberty to the petitioner NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), to approach the appropriate forum.
The NGO’s advocate, Prashant Bhushan, had requested the court to issue direction to the Central government and Kandla Port Trust (KPT) to cancel the tender dated March 28, 2014 awarded to Friends Salt Works and Allied Industries (FSWAI) for allotment of land of 50 acres for the purpose of liquid storage tanks.
The advocate alleged that KPT overvalued the structures set up at the site by FSWAI when it leased the land in the past to ensure that only the firm gets the contract.
The Centre opposed the petition on grounds of lack of territorial jurisdiction.
The petition claimed that FSWAI did not have to pay the amount of Rs 207 crore if it was successful in the bid.
The court turned down the submission of Bhushan that the Central government had a role to play in the working of the KPT.
The court observed that the lease itself had been issued and executed by the authorities in Gujarat.
It also noted that the land for which the tender had been issued was situated in Kutch, Gujarat, and the decision-making authority was in Gandhidham.