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These intra-court appeals impugn the identical but separate orders, both dated 16th April, of dismissal of W. Both the appellants claim to be an association of petroleum traders of the State of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana respectively, affiliated to the Consortium of Indian Petroleum Dealers. They filed the writ petitions from which these appeals arise, averring:.
The learned Single Judge dismissed the writ petitions accepting the preliminary contention of the counsel for the respondent oil companies that the dispute and difference if any which the members of the appellants had with the respondent oil companies in this regard was to be resolved by arbitration provided for in the agreement entered into by each of the said members of the appellants with the respective oil companies and holding the writ petitions to be not maintainable on this ground; liberty was however given to agitate the grievance in accordance with the dispute resolution mechanism provided for in the agreement between the members of the appellants and the respective oil companies.
It was further observed that the liberty given by the Supreme Court while dismissing the appeal preferred against the order of the CompAT, was to raise the dispute before the appropriate forum and which was of arbitration and not under Article of the Constitution of India. The appellants in the memorandums of appeal, rather than addressing the reasoning given by the learned Single Judge for holding the writ petitions to be not maintainable, have parrot like repeated the averments in the writ petitions.
The counsel for the appellants also, inspite of our repeated asking as to whether not a direction to the respondent oil companies LPA Nos. In fact, inspite of our prodding on the earlier date in this regard, no copy of the agreements so entered into have even been produced and along with the memorandums of appeal, only the extract of the arbitration clause in the agreement has been annexed. We are thus unable to know as to what are the terms of the said agreement.
The counsel for the appellants however invited attention to Harbanslal Sahnia Vs. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. AIR SC laying down that the rule of exclusion of writ jurisdiction by availability of an alternative remedy is a rule of discretion and not one of compulsion.
We have perused the order of the CompAT as well as the order of the Supreme Court in appeal preferred thereagainst. Though the complaint was on the same grounds as before us, but the CompAT inter alia by referring to the clauses of the agreement between the members of the appellants and the respective oil companies held that no case of the respondent oil companies having indulged in any unfair trade practice was made out.
The Supreme Court, while dismissing the appeals held, "the right of the appellant association obviously is guided by the terms and conditions of the agreement entered into between the members of the association and the respondents and therefore this Court finds no reason to entertain the grievance raised by the appellant. Till the appellants succeed in doing so, they cannot, relying on Harbanslal Sahnia supra , urge that inspite of the contractual remedy, they are entitled to invoke Article Diamond and Gem Development Corporation Ltd.
We are conscious that the appellants have based their case in these proceedings on the provisions of the Legal Metrology Act. However we are not satisfied that the contract of the members of the appellants with the respondent oil companies would remain unaffected from the reliefs claimed in these proceedings. We may note that it is also the contention of the counsel for the respondent HPCL that this Court also does not have the territorial jurisdiction to entertain the writ petitions as the appellant in LPA No.
Though the aforesaid two reasons are sufficient to dismiss these appeals but we find that the appellants even under the Legal Metrology Act have failed to make out any case.
Their entire case is based on: However, though Section 4 of the Act provides that every unit of weight or measure shall be in accordance with the metric system based on the international system of units but the appellants have not explained the basis of their presumption that the unit of litre as a measure of volume is not LPA Nos. The Act and the Legal Metrology General Rules, framed thereunder are not found to define, what is the "metric system" or what is the "international system of units".
The appellants also have not bothered to pay any attention thereto. Clause 2 of the 8 th Edition, updated in of the said Brochure reports that there are Seven units upon which the most accurate and reproducible measurements can be made and which are known as Base Units. The said seven Base Units are. However, the said Brochure besides the said Base Units, also refers to Derived Units which are products of powers of Base Units and Clause 4 of the said Brochure refers to " units outside the SI" as some of the Non-SI units which still appear in the scientific, technical and commercial literature and will continue to be used for years owing to their historic importance.
It further lists the non-SI units which are accepted for use with the international system because they are widely used with the SI in matters of everyday life and because their use is expected to continue indefinitely and yet further because they have an exact definition in terms of an SI Unit. The said list includes the unit of litre as a measure of volume and gives the value of a litre in SI units as:.
It would further follow that litre is a unit of measure in accordance with the Metric System based on the International System of Units, within the meaning of section 4 of the Legal Metrology Act. Section 5 1 of the Act lists the same Base Units as under the SI and in which as aforesaid litre is not included.
However, Section 5 2 provides that "the specifications of the base units mentioned in sub-section 1 , derived units and other units shall be such as may be prescribed. It thus follows that the Legal Metrology Act has expressly admitted to use of litre as a measure of volume. Mass again is not defined, neither in the Act nor in the Rules. Mass is defined in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, Tenth Edition as "the quantity of matter which a body contains".
The same thus runs counter to the argument of the appellants that the measure of liquids has to be by mass only. Again, while providing the extent of error in measurement of such liquids, measurements are given in litres which is also indicative of the measurement in litres being within the domain of the legal metrology system.
Reference may also be made to Rule 12 of the Legal Metrology Packaged Commodities Rules, which in Clause 2 a provides that except in the cases of commodities specified in the Fourth Schedule of the Rules, the declaration of the quantity shall be in terms of the unit of mass if the commodity is solid, semi-solid, viscous or a mixture of solid and liquid and which is again indicative of the reference to measurement in units of mass in the Act being to solids, semi-solids, viscous or mixture of solid and liquid.
Rule 12 2 d categorically provides that the declaration of the quantity shall be in terms of the unit of volume, if the commodity is liquid or is sold by cubic measure. The purport of our above discussion is not to categorically hold either way inasmuch as we have had no assistance as aforesaid, from either of the counsels in the said respect. The purport of this discussion is only to show that if at all the grievance of the appellants is genuine, the proper forum if not arbitration as above suggested, would be the authorities under the Legal Metrology Act itself.
Chapter V of the Act deals with offences and penalties and if at all the respondent oil companies are violating the provisions of the Act, the remedy of the appellants would be to file a complaint thereof within the ambit of the Act before the authorities constituted under the Act and who being adept in every aspect of the subject, would be better equipped to deal therewith.
As far as the grievance of the appellants of use by the respondent oil companies of the dip-rod method is concerned, we find that Rule 14 of the Legal Metrology General Rules provides that the procedure for carrying out calibration of vehicle tanks etc.
The Ninth Schedule itself, while referring to maximum permissible error, refers to the capacity of vehicle tanks in litre; not only so, it also provides the detailed procedure for measurement by dip-rod method. We have wondered that when the Rules framed under the Act themselves are providing for measurement of vehicle tanks in litres, how can it be said that the unit of litre being used by the respondent oil companies is in contravention of the Act.
We therefore do not find any merit in these appeals. The appeals are accordingly dismissed. Cites 8 docs - [ View All ]. Try out our Premium Member services: Free for one month and pay only if you like it.