25 September 1996
Supreme Court


Case number: W.P.(C) No.-000026-000026 / 1995
Diary number: 18305 / 1994






DATE OF JUDGMENT:       25/09/1996




JUDGMENT:                       J U D G M E N T KULDIP SINGH J.      The allotments of retail outlets for petroleum products (the petrol  pumps), by  Capt. Satish  Sharma,  Minister  of State for  Petroleum & Natural Gas, exercising the powers of the Central  Government, have been challenged in this public interest petition  under Article  32 of  the Constitution of India. The petition as originally filed was directed against corruption in  various  fields  of  public  life.  Mr.  H.D. Shourie -  Director "Common  Cause" -  appearing in  person, invited this  Court’s attention  to a news item dated August 11, 1995,  on the  front page  of "Indian Express" under the caption "In Satish Sharma’s Reign, Petrol and Patronage Flow Together". The  solicitor general  who was present in Court, took notice  of the news item and stated that the would have the matter  examined in  the Ministry  concerned and file an affidavit giving  Ministry’s response  to the news item. The news item, inter alia, stated as under:-      "Not only  the relatives of most of      the officials  working for  Captain      Satish  Sharma  but  even  his  own      driver  and   the  driver   of  his      additional Private  Secretary  have      been allotted  a petrol  pump and a      gas agency respectively.      The  wives  of  two  clerks  and  a      stenographer in  the Ministry  have      similarly  been   allotted   petrol      pumps.  Some  of  these  allotments      have    been    made    from    the      discretionary   quota    with   the      Petroleum  Minister   while  others      have   been    made   through    an      ostensibly   objective    selection      process  undertaken   by  the   Oil      Selection      Boards       (OSBs).      ..........A Mr  Poda  Rajshekar,  a      relative  of   Mr.  G.  Gurusharan,      Private Secretary to Captain Sharma      has been  allotted a petrol pump at



    Banjara Hills, Hyderabad out of the      Minister’s   discretionary    quota      taking  pity   on  the   "financial      circumstances that the family finds      itself in."      Ms Madhuri  Safaya, a  relation  of      the Additional Private Secretary to      the Minister,  Mr. V.N.  Safaya has      been allotted  a  petrol  pump  "on      compassionate  grounds"   from  the      discretionary quota.      Another  relation  of  Mr.  Safaya,      Mrs. Monica  Malla, has also been a      beneficiary  of   a  petrol   pump,      courtesy Captain Sharma.      Mrs Daya  Rani, wife of Mr Hari Ram      Verma, personal  assistant  to  the      Additional PS  to the  Minister, Mr      V.N. Safaya,  was allotted a petrol      pump out of the discretionary quota      ........Mrs Vijaya  Nair,  wife  of      Mr, D.V. Pillai, another additional      Private Secretary to Captain Sharma      has been  allotted a petrol pump on      the grounds  that the "applicant is      a young unemployed [woman] with the      responsibility of  looking after  a      large family"  -  hardly  a  unique      classification in  this country  of      900 million. .......The Chairman of      the  OSB   for  Uttar   Pradesh  is      Justice  S.H.   Abidi  (retd.)  who      lives at  50, Dariyabad, Allahabad.      It so  happens  that  Syed  Shaukat      Hasan Abidi,  his  son,  living  at      50/1, Daryabad,  Allahabad put in a      request and  was allotted  a petrol      pump on  "compassionate grounds" at      Fatehpur  (80  Km  Mile  Stone)  in      Uttar Pradesh.      A former  MLA, Mr Shiv Balak Passi,      from Rae  Bareli is a member of the      OSB for  Madhya Pradesh and his job      is to allot petrol pumps to others.      He too had put in a request for the      discretionary  allotment   of   the      petrol  pump.  Lo  and  behold,  on      "compassionate  grounds"   he   was      immediately allotted  a petrol pump      on the  Rae Bareli-Lucknow  Road in      UP.      Mr.  Krishna  Swaroop,  a  Congress      party worker  and resident of 18/7,      Punjabi Bagh  Extension, New Delhi-      26 is a member of the OSB for Delhi      and chandigarh. His son, Mr Pradeep      Kumar, was  favoured with  a petrol      pump by the Minister on the grounds      that "the  applicant is a young man      from Scheduled Caste Community with      no source  of regular  income.  The      case      deserves      sympathetic      consideration. Therefore,  a retail      Outlet  for  MS-HSD  in  the  Union      Territory of  Delhi is  allotted to



    Shri  Pradeep   Kumar,  r/o   18/7,      Punjabi Bagh  Extension, New Delhi-      110026."      Mr. Ghulam  Ahmed  Mir  is  also  a      member of  the OSB  for  Delhi  and      Chandigarh. An application was made      by  him  for  the  allotment  of  a      petrol  pump.   And  the   Minister      passed the  order on "compassionate      grounds"  from   his  discretionary      quota.      Similarly   the    following    OSB      members, either themselves or their      next of  kin,  have  been  allotted      petrol  pumps   :  Mr  K.L.  Sharma      (Member OSB,  West Bengal), Mr R.S.      Nautiyal (Member  OSB, Punjab), and      Mr Harbanslal  Gupta  (member  OSB,      Haryana). Two relation of Mrs Satya      Bahen (Member  OSB,  Haryana)  were      allotted a gas agency in Etah and a      petrol  pump   at   Itmadpur   near      Tundla, respectively.      The son  of a  former Home Minister      who   is    currently   a   Cabinet      Minister;  the  son  of  a  present      Minister of  State from  the North-      East;  the   brother-in-law  of   a      former Janata Dal office-bearer and      now a  Congressman from Eastern UP;      the son  of a  Dalit leader who was      with the  late H.N. Bahuguna at one      time and  is now  in the  Congress;      the   son    of   former   Congress      Councillor   of    the    Municipal      Corporation of  Delhi; the  wife of      an  ex-Congress   MP  from  the  UP      hills;  the  wife  of  a  prominent      Dalit leader  in the Opposition and      several political hacks from Amethi      are among  the  hundreds  who  have      been gifted  petrol  pumps  or  gas      agencies  during   the  tenure   of      Captain  Satish   Sharma   as   the      Petroleum Minister."      Mr. Vijay  L. Kelkar,  Secretary  in  the  Ministry  of Petroleum  and  Natural  Gas,  government  of  India,  filed affidavit dated  October 9,  1995. The  relevant part of the affidavit is as under:-      "It may  be relevant  to point  out      here  that   under   the   approved      Guidelines,  the  Hon’ble  Minister      personally decides  each  case  and      the order  is a  speaking order. An      unsuccessful applicant  in the same      category is entitled to have a copy      of the  order if  a request is made      for it.      The specific  instances referred to      in  the  Indian  Express  newspaper      dated 11th  August, 1995, appear to      relate to  allotments made prior to      the order  of  this  Hon’ble  Court      dated 31st  March,  1995.  However,      those allotments  also were made on



    merits of  each case  as  appearing      from   the    applications    which      contained the  circumstances  under      which the request was made. For the      cases mentioned  in  the  newspaper      report,  it   is  denied  that  the      allotments were  made on account of      alleged  relationship   and/or  any      improper motive.  The  relationship      of a applicant with any official of      the  Ministry   has  not   been   a      relevant  factor  in    considering      discretionary     allotment      on      compassionate grounds.  Should this      Hon’ble Court  direct, the relevant      files shall be produced for perusal      for this Hon’ble Court."      This Court  examined the  affidavit of  Mr.  Kelkar  on October 13, 1995 and passed the following order:-      "Mr. Vijay  L. Kelkar, Secretary in      the  Ministry   of  Petroleum   and      Natural Gas,  Government  of  India      has filed  an affidavit pursuant to      this Court’s order dated August 11,      1995.  Without  commenting  on  the      affidavit, we  direct the  Ministry      of Petroleum  and  Natural  Gas  to      file a further and better affidavit      within two  weeks with reference to      the specific instances."      Pursuant to  the above  quoted order  Mr. Kelkar  filed affidavit dated  October 28,  1995. The relevant part of the affidavit is as under:-      "That the  Deponent, in  compliance      with  the  said  order  dated  13th      October, 1995,  has ascertained the      position regarding  the allegations      that    allottees     under     the      discretionary quota  are related to      various     political      leaders,      officials  and   members   of   Oil      Selection  Boards   (OSBs)  or  the      members themselves.  Such allottees      can   be    grouped   under   three      different categories and allegation      regarding  each   one  of  them  is      answered  and/or   dealt  with   as      follows:      A ALLOTTEES  SAID TO  BE RELATED TO      POLITICIANS      (i)   With    reference   to    the      allegation that the son of a former      Home Minister,  who is  currently a      Cabinet Minister, has been allotted      a Petrol  Pump,..... It  is correct      that  the  allottee,  Shri  Sarbjot      Singh is  the son  of the said Shri      Buta Singh.      (ii)   with    reference   to   the      allegation  that   the  son   of  a      present  Minister   of  State  from      North-East,  has  been  allotted  a      petrol  pump.  .....It  is  correct      that the  said allottee  is the son      of  a  Minister,  namely,  Shri  K.



    Hollahan, in  the State  Government      of Nagaland.      B. ALLOTTEES  SAID TO BE RELATED TO      THE MEMBERS  OF OSBs OR THE MEMBERS      THEMSELVES.      (i)   With    reference   to    the      allegation that  Shri Syed  Shaukat      Hasan Abidi  is the  son of Justice      S.H.  Abidi  (retd.),  who  is  the      Chairman  of   the  OSB  for  Uttar      Pradesh,.......       Discretionary      allotment was made in favour of the      applicant in  January, 1995.  It is      correct that  the said  allottee is      the son of the said Chairman of OSB      for U.P.      (ii)   With    reference   to   the      allegation  that  Shri  Shiv  Balak      Passi is  a member  of the  OSB for      Madhya Pradesh and he is himself an      allottee from  discretionary quota,      ..........     A      discretionary      allotment  was  sanctioned  in  his      favour in  December.  1994.  It  is      correct that Shri Passi is a Member      of the OSB for Madhya Pradesh.      (iii)   With   reference   to   the      allegation that  the allottee, Shri      Pradeep Kumar,  is the  son of Shri      Krishna Swaroop  who is a Member of      OSB  for   Delhi  and   Chandigarh,      ......  It   is  correct  that  the      allottee is  the son  of  the  said      Shri Krishna Swaroop.      (iv)   With    reference   to   the      allegation that  the allottee, Shri      Ghulam Ahmad Mir is a Member of OSB      for Delhi  and Chandigarh,.....  It      is correct  that Shri Mir is Member      of the OSB, Delhi.      (v)   With    reference   to    the      allegation that Shri R.S. Nautiyal,      who is a Member of OSB, Punjab, has      been allotted  a Petrol Pump either      in his  own name  or in the name of      his next  of kin, it is stated that      Smt.   Nena   Nautiyal,   made   an      application in  August, 1994, .....      It  is   correct  that   Smt.  Nena      Nautiyal is  the wife  of Shri R.S.      Nautiyal, a Member of OSB, Punjab.      (vi)   With    reference   to   the      allegation that  a Petrol  Pump was      allotted to Shri Justice Harbanslal      Gupta, a Member of OSB, Haryana, in      his own  name or in the name of his      next of  kin, it is stated that one      Shri  Arun   K.   Gupta   made   an      application  in   September,  1993,      ....... It  is  correct  that  Shri      Arun Kumar Gupta is the son of Shri      Justice  Harbanslal  Gupta  (Retd.)      who is  the Chairman  of  the  OSB,      Haryana.      (viii)  With   reference   to   the



    allegation that  two  relations  of      Smt. Satya  Bahin, a  Member of the      OSB for  Haryana, were  allotted  a      Gas Agency and a Petrol Pump, it is      stated that one Shri Dharmesh Kumar      made an  application In  September,      1994,.....    Along     with    his      application     there     was     a      recommendation  for   discretionary      allotment from Smt. Satya Bahin, Ex      Member  of  Parliament.....  It  is      stated  that  the  relationship  of      Shri Dharmesh Kumar with Smt. Satya      Bahin is not known.      C. ALLOTTEES  WHO ARE  SAID  TO  BE      RELATED TO VARIOUS OFFICIALS IN THE      MINISTRY.      (i)   The    allegation   is   that      relatives of  the  Drivers  of  the      Minister  and   of  the  Additional      Private Secretary  to the  Minister      have been  allotted Petrol Pump and      Gas Agency.  It has been found that      one Smt.  Leela Devi,  wife of late      Shri   Kishan   Swaroop   made   an      application that  her  husband  was      brutally murdered on 25.1.1994, she      had no  means of  income to support      her family and that she belonged to      a Scheduled  Caste. A retail outlet      was allotted  to Smt. Leela Devi on      compassionate  grounds   from   the      discretionary quota  in may,  1995.      It has  now been  ascertained  that      Smt. Leela  Devi happens  to  be  a      relative  of   a  Driver   of   the      Minister.      (ii)   With    reference   to   the      allegation    that     Shri    Poda      Rajasekhar is a relative of Shri G.      Gurucharan,  Private  Secretary  to      the Minister of State, it is stated      that an  application  was  made  by      Shri Rajasekhar  in July, 1993,....      A Retail  Outlet Dealership for MS-      HSD at  Secunderabad was sanctioned      to Shri Rajasekhar on compassionate      grounds. It  has  been  ascertained      that  the   said  allottee   is   a      relative   of    the   said    Shri      Gurucharan.      (iii)   With   reference   to   the      allegation that  Ms. Madhuri Safaya      is a  relative of Shri B.N. Safaya,      Additional Private Secretary to the      Minister, to  whom a  Retail Outlet      has been allotted,..... It has been      ascertained that  she is related to      the said Shri B.N. Safaya.      (iv)   With    reference   to   the      allegation that Ms. Monica Malla is      also related  to Shri  B.N. Safaya,      ...... A Retail Outlet was allotted      to her  in November,  1994  out  of      discretionary quota.  It  has  been



    ascertained that the said Ms. Malla      is related to the wife of Shri B.N.      Safaya.      (v)   With    reference   to    the      allegation that  the allottee, Mrs.      Daya Rani, is the wife of Shri H.R.      Verma, Personal  Assistant  to  the      Additional Private Secretary to the      Minister, Shri B.N. Safaya,..... It      is correct that the allottee is the      wife of Shri H.R. Verma.      (vi)   With    reference   to   the      allegation that  Mrs. Vijaya  Nair,      who has  been sanctioned  a  Retail      Outlet, is  the wife  of Shri  D.V.      Pillai,     Additional      Private      Secretary  to   the   Minister   of      State,.... It  has been ascertained      that Mrs.  Vijaya Nair  is not  the      wife of  Shri D.V.  Pillai, but she      is related to him".      This  Court   issued  notice  to  all  the  15  persons mentioned in  the affidavit  of Mr. Kelkar. Thirteen, out of them filed  affidavits justifying  the allotments  of petrol pumps made to them by Capt, Satish Sharma.      This Court by the order dated December 6, 1995 directed that "the  minister may, if he so desires, file an affidavit in this  regard". Capt.  Satish  Sharma  has,  however,  not chosen to file any affidavit.      The relevant records have been produced before us.      Mr. Sarbjot  Singh in his application mentioned that he was a  commerce graduate  belonging to  the scheduled  caste community. He  completed graduation in the year 1991. He was interested in  sports  (shooting)  and  won  awards  at  the national level.  Because  of  his  pre-occupation  with  the sports, he  had average academic record and as a consequence could not  get admission  to any  professional  courses.  He further stated  that in  spite of  his best efforts he could not get  any suitable  employment for supporting himself and as such  a petrol pump in Delhi be allotted to him. The file does not indicate how the application was entertained. There is no  receipt/entry on the application. No official/officer has examined  the application  before the  Minister’s order. There is  nothing to shown that any guide-lines were kept in view. The  application, obviously,  was given by hand to the Minister, who readily passed the allotment order. There is a separate sheet containing the order of the Minister which is as under:-      "Office of the Minister of State                  (P&NG)      Placed below  is an  application of      Shri Sarbjot Singh for allotment of      a Retail  Outlet dealership for MS-      HSD. The  applicant has stated that      he  is   a  graduate   without  any      suitable employment      Submitted for kind orders.                          Sd/-                     (G. Gurucharan)                     PS to MOS (P&NG)                          31/1      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application      carefully.  The   applicant  is  an      unemployed graduate and a sportsman



    who participated  in national level      competitions. The applicant has not      been  able  to  get  any    gainful      employment and is unable to support      himself.    The    case    deserves      sympathetic          consideration.      Therefore, a  Retail Outlet for MS-      HSD   in   the   National   Capital      Territory of  Delhi is  allotted to      Shri Sarbjot  Singh r/o  16,  Ashok      Road New Delhi.      Orders may be issued accordingly.                          Sd/-                (Capt. Satish Sharma)                     Minister of State"      Thereafter, the  matter was processed in the office and in one  of the  notes by  an officer  of the ministry it was mentioned that  the allottee  "is son  of Shri  Buta  Singh, Minister of Civil Supplies". No one took notice of this fact and the allotment order was issued.      In all  the cases  discussed hereinafter the pattern of allotment and the method and procedure followed was the same as in Sarbjot Singh’s case.      Benjamin K.  Hollohon stated in his application that he was an  educated unemployed  youth  and  also  active  party worker in  the area.  He belonged  to scheduled  tribe  from Nagaland  State.   He  requested   in  the  application  for allotment of  petrol pump  in Purana  Bazar area  of Dimapur town, Nagaland.  The application  was sent to Captain Satish Sharma by  Mr. K. Hollohon, Minister, Industry and Commerce, Nagaland (Father  of the applicant) along with a d.o. letter which reads as under:-      "Me dear Capt. satish Sharma,      Kindly recall  our  discussions  of      date  regarding  allotment  of  one      retail outlet petrol pump (petrol &      Diesel) in the Purana Bazar area of      Dimapur town  in Nagaland in favour      of my son Benjamin K. Hollohon.      As   you   may   be   aware,   that      Benjamin’s   application   and   my      earlier note  in  this  regard  are      available   in    your    Ministry.      However, I  am again enclosing copy      of Benjamin’s  application for your      perusal.      It was indeed pleasure to note that      you  have  very  kindly  agreed  to      allot one  petrol pump  in favor of      my son  Shri Benjamin after careful      and due  consideration  as  a  very      very   special    case.   I   shall      personally grateful  if  you  could      kindly use  your  good  offices  in      issuing  suitable  instructions  to      the  officials  concerned  in  your      Ministry  so   that  the   possible      bureaucratic delays are averted and      the permit  is issued  without much      loss of  time. Therefore, I request      your personal  intervention in  the      matter. I  hope, you  can very well      appreciate my  predicament  in  the      matter and am sure, you will do the      needful."



    The allotment order by the Minister is reproduced here- under:-      "Office of the Minster of State                  (P&NG)      Placed below  is an  application of      Shri  Benjamin   K.  Hollohon   for      allotment of  a retail  outlet  for      MS-HSD. The  applicant  has  stated      that  he  is  an  unemployed  youth      belonging   to    Scheduled   Tribe      community. The  applicant has  also      stated  he  no  regular  source  of      income.      Submitted for kind orders.                          Sd/-                     (G. Gurucharan)                     PS to MOS (P&NG)                          10/10/94      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application      carefully.  The   applicant  is  an      educated unemployed Scheduled Tribe      youth  without  regular  source  of      livelihood.   The   case   deserves      sympathetic          consideration.      Therefore, a  Retail Outlet for MS-      HSD  at   Purana  Bazar,   Dimapur,      Nagaland  is   allotted   to   Shri      Benjamin    K.     Hollohon     r/o      Durgapathar, 2  1/2 Mile,  Dimapur,      Nagaland, Pine Code-797 112.      Necessary  orders   may  be  issued      accordingly.                          Sd/-                (Capt. Satish Sharma)                Minister of State"      Syed Hasan  Shaukat Abidi  stated in his application as under:-      "Respectfully I  beg t state that I      was  born   at   Allahabad,   Uttar      Pradesh on  20th December,  1965. I      have passed  B.Sc. and completed my      Master’s in Business Administration      (specialisation in  Marketing).  In      spite of  my best  efforts, I  have      not been  able to  get  a  suitable      employment. I  have no other source      of income and am entirely dependent      on my aged parents for survival. My      inability to  find  employment  and      settle down  is causing  anxiety to      my parents.  Hence,  I  would  most      humbly request you Sir, to grant me      a petrol  pump at  Fatehpur (80 Km.      Mole Stone) in Uttar Pradesh."      The Minister passed the following order:-      "Office of the Minister of State                  (P&NG)      Placed below  is an  application of      Shri Syed  Hasan Shaukat  Abidi for      allotment of  a Retail  Outlet  for      MS-HSD. The  applicant  has  stated      that  he  has  completed  his  Post      Graduation       in        Business      Administration  and  has  not  been



    able   to    find   any    suitable      employment. The  applicant has also      stated that  he has no other source      of income  and is  dependent on his      parents for sustenance.      Submitted for kind orders.                          Sd/-                     (G. Gurucharan)                     PS to MOS (P&NG)                          16/12      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application      carefully.  the   applicant  is   a      professional qualified  man without      any   regular    employment.    The      applicant has  no other  source  of      income and is entirely dependent on      his   parents   for   support   and      sustenance.   The   case   deserves      sympathetic          consideration.      Therefore, a  Retail Outlet for MS-      HSD at Fatehpur (80 Km. Mile Stone)      In Uttar  Pradesh  is  allotted  to      Shri Syed  Hasan Shaukat  Abidi r/o      50/1, Dariyabad,  Allahabad,  Uttar      Pradesh.      Orders may be issued accordingly.                          Sd/-                (Capt. Satish Sharma)                     Minister of State"      It is  obvious from  Mr. Kelkar’s  affidavit that  Syed Hassan Shaukat Abidi is the son of Justice S.H. Abidi (retd) who was at that time Chairman of the Oil Selection Board for Uttar Pradesh.      Shiv Balak  Passi applied  for allotment of petrol pump in the following words:-      "I  wish  to  state  the  following      about myself.  I am a social worker      who has devoted his entire life for      the  upliftment   of   downtrodden,      underprivileged. I have been in the      forefront   in    all    activities      involving  eradication   of  social      evils. But  Sir, I  am growing  old      and am not in a position to support      myself. Therefore,  Sir,  with  due      respect I request you to grant me a      petrol    pump    at    Lucknow-Rae      Bareilley Road, Uttar Pradesh."      The Minister passed the following order:-      "Office of the Minister of State                  (P&NG)      Placed below  is an  application of      Shri Shiv Balak Passi for allotment      of a  Retail Outlet for MS-HSD. The      applicant has  stated that  he is a      social worker  without any  regular      source of income.      Submitted for kind orders.                     Sd/-                (G. Gurucharan)                PS to MOS (P&NG)                     21/12      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application



    carefully.  The   applicant  is  an      educated  unemployed   who  has  no      regular source of income due to his      serious   preoccupation   for   the      upliftment of downtrodden. The case      deserves sympathetic consideration.      Therefore, a  Retail Outlet for MS-      HSDA at Rae Bareilley Lucknow Road,      UP, is  allotted to Shri Shiv Balak      Passi,   Ex-MLA,    District    Rae      Bareilley, Uttar Pradesh.      Orders may be issued accordingly.                          Sd/-                (Capt. Satish Sharma)                Minister of State"      Mr. Kelkar’s  affidavit shows  that  Shiv  Balak  Passi himself is  a member  of the  Oil Selection Board for Madhya Pradesh.      Pradeep Kumar, in his application stated that he was an unemployed young  man from  Scheduled  Caste  category  with enterprise, initiative  and determination  and was very keen to make petrol pump dealership as his business. He indicated that he was appearing in B.A (final). He further stated that his father has been an active congress worker since 1952 and has held  many important  positions in  the organisation  as well as  on the executive side. The following order was made by the Minister:-      Office of the Minister of State                  (P&NG)      Placed below  is an  application of      Shri Pradeep Kumar for allotment of      Retail  Outlet   for  MS-HSD.   The      applicant  has   stated   that   he      belongs  to   a   Scheduled   Caste      Community and  also  an  unemployed      Under Graduate.      For kind orders.                          Sd/-                     (G. Gurucharan)                     PS to MOS (P&NG)                          20/6/94      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application      carefully. The applicant is a young      man from  Scheduled Caste Community      with no  source of  regular income.      The   case   deserves   sympathetic      consideration. Therefore,  a Retail      Outlet  for  MS-HSD  in  the  Union      Territory of  Delhi is  allotted to      Shri  Pradeep   Kumar,  r/o   18/7,      Punjabi Bagh Extension, New Delhi -      110 026.      Orders may be issued accordingly.                          Sd/-                (Capt. Satish Sharma)                  Minister of State"      While processing  the order,  noting on  the file is as under:-      "Reference notes  on pre-page.  MOS      has  sanctioned   a  retail  outlet      dealership     at      Delhi     on      compassionate   grounds   to   Shri      Pradeep Kumar  who is  belonging to      SC category.  He has  stated in his



    application vide  p-1/c that  he is      appearing in  BA final  year. He is      son of  Shri Krishna Swaroop member      of OSB,  Delhi. The  allowances and      perks of  the Member  of OSB exceed      Rs. 5000/- per month.      2.  However,   in   view   of   the      sanction by  MOS, file  is  put  up      with a  fair  sanction  letter  for      signature, if approved.                          Sd/-                          27/6      Allotment of  a dealership  to  the      son of  a sitting Member of the OSB      will invite  adverse criticism.  It      will  also   create  an   avoidable      impression    that     govt.     is      influencing the OSB in this manner.                            sd/-                          27.6.94"      Mr. Kelkar’s affidavit shows that Shri Pradeep Kumar is the son of Shri Krishan Swaroop, who was at that time member of Oil  Selection Board  for Delhi  and Chandigarh.  Pradeep Kumar in his application did not mention this fact. The file indicates that  despite the  noting to  the effect  that the allotment would  invite  adverse  criticism,  the  allotment orders were issued.      Mr. Ghulam  Ahamd Mir  in his application, addressed to the Minister, stated that due to the escalation of extremist violence in  Kashmir   Valley in  the recent  years, it  has become difficult  to lead a normal life in the Valley and as such earning  a livelihood  has become  very  difficult.  He further stated that the family was forced to sell some of he ancestral property.  He added  that despite being a Graduate he could  not get  regular employment. He also stated in the application that he was an active social worker and had been promoting the  nationalist cause  in the Valley due to which he and his family have been facing constant threats from the militants and  extremists in the Valley. The Minister passed the following order on the applications:      "Office of the Minster      of State for (P&NG)      Placed below  is an  application of      Shri Ghulam Ahamd Min for allotment      of a  Retail Outlet for MS-HSD. The      applicant has  stated that  he is a      graduate from  Jummu  and  Kashmir,      who has been forced to migrate from      Kashmir  as   result  of   militant      threats to  his life. The applicant      has  also  state  that  he  has  no      regular  source   of   income   for      maintaining his family.      Submitted for kind orders.                          Sd/-                     (G. Gurucharan)                     PS to MOS (P&NG)                          23/9      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application      carefully.  The   applicant  is  an      unemployed graduate  from  Jummu  &      kashmir trying  to settle in Delhi.      The applicant  is an  active social      worker  espousing  the  nationalist



    cause for  which reason  he and his      family  have  become  a  target  of      militants  in   the   Valley.   The      applicant  has  not  been  able  to      obtain any  suitable employment  in      Delhi and  is finding  it difficult      to support  his immediate family in      Delhi and his parents in Jammu. The      case      deserves      sympathetic      consideration.  Therefore   an  ‘A’      site Retail  Outlet for  MS-HSD  in      the Union  Territory  of  Delhi  is      allotted to  Shri Ghulam  Ahmad Mir      s/o Haji  Gh. Hassan  Mir r/o 71-D,      Pocket ‘K’,  Sheikh Sarai  II,  New      Delhi.      Orders may be issued accordingly.                          Sd/-                (Capt. Satish Sharma)                     Minister of State"      While processing the Minister’s order the office put up the following note on the file:      "Ref. note above. Sh. G.A, Mir, has      furnished his  bio-data vide  pp 3-      4/C. In  his bio-data he has stated      that he  working as  Member of  Oil      Selection  Board   and  is  getting      Rs.250/- per  sitting of  the Board      as Honorarium.      2. In view of he above, file is put      up for  orders whether we may issue      sanction to  Oil Company  for award      of RO  dealership, to  Sh. G.A. Mir      as  per   sanction  letter   placed      below, if approved."      Despite the  above quoted note, the allotment order was issued. Mr, Kelkar in his affidavit has stated that Shri Mir is a  member of  the  Oil  Selection  Board  for  Delhi  and Chandigarh.      Mrs. Nena  Nautiyal addressed a three lined application to the Minister. It is stated in the application that she is an educated  lady and  belong to  Scheduled Tribe community. Being an  unemployed, she  wished to install a retail outlet in the  Union Territory,  Delhi.  The  following  order  was passed by the Minister:      "Office of the Minister      of State (P&NG)      Placed below  is an  application of      Smt. Nena Nautiyal for allotment of      a retail  Outlet  for  MS-HSD.  The      applicant has  stated  that  is  an      educated   unemployed   lady   from      Scheduled Tribe community.      Submitted for kind orders.                     Sd/-                (G Gurucharan)                PS to MOS (P&NG)                     19/8      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application      carefully.  The   applicant  is  an      educated  lady   and   belongs   to      Scheduled  Tribe   community.   The      applicant is  unemployed and has no      regular source  of income. The case



    deserves sympathetic consideration.      therefore, a  Retail Outlet for MS-      HSD in the Union Territory of Delhi      is allotted  to Smt.  Nena Nautiyal      r/o B-399,  Gali No.19, Bhajanpura,      Delhi.      Orders may be issued accordingly.                          Sd/-                (Capt. Satish Sharma)                     Minster of State"      While processing the Minister’s order the office put up the following note:      "Ref. above. Smt. Nena Nautiyal has      furnished her  bio-data vide  pp 8-      7/C wherein she has stated that her      occupation is  agriculture and  her      and   her   husband’s   income   is      25,000/-  &   18,000/-  per   annum      respectively. In this connection it      is stated  that it happens from her      bio-data that  she is  the wife  of      Sh. Ravi  Sharan Nautiyal  who is a      Member of OSB - Punjab.      2. In  view of  the above,  file is      put up  for orders  whether we  may      issue sanction  to Oil  Company for      setting up a RO dealership in favor      of Smt. Nena Nautiyal".      The allotment letter dated 7th October, 1994 was issued to Nena  Nautiyal. It  is admitted  in the  affidavit of  Mr Kelkar that  Nena Nautiyal  is the  wife of  R.S.  Nautiyal, Member, Oil Selection Board, Punjab.      Arun Kumar  Gupta in  his application  stated  that  he passed BSc.  in Production  Engineering in the year 1970 and worked as  Project Engineer in the Haryana State cooperative Supply and Marketing Federation Ltd. at Chandigarh from 1976 to  1989  when  he  was  forced  to  tender  resignation  on political considerations  when the  Haryana  Government  was headed by Shri Devi ll. It is further stated that since then he was  unemployed and  as such the application for grant of petrol pump.  The application was directly dealt with by the Minister and his Private Secretary in the following manner:      "Office of the Minister      of State (P&NG)      Placed below  is an  application of      Shri Arun K. Gupta for allotment of      Retail Outlet.  The  applicant  has      stated that  he is  a  professional      who has  not been  able to  find  a      regular employment  and is  finding      it difficult to make ends meet.      Submitted for king orders.                          Sd/                     (G. Gurucharan)                     PS to MOT (P&NG)                          22/X/93      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application      carefully.  The   applicant  is   a      graduate in  Production Engineering      and   is    without   any   regular      employment.   The   case   deserves      sympathetic          consideration.      Therefore, a  Retail Outlet for MS-      HSD is  allotted to  Shri  Arun  K.



    Gupta, s/o  Shri  Harbans  Lal  r/o      H.No. 68, Sector 8-A, Chandigarh at      Sector-20 C, Chandigarh.      Orders may be issued accordingly.                          Sd/-                (Capt. Satish Sharma)                     Minister of State                          26/10      While processing the above order, Mr. S.K. Singh, under Secretary in the Ministry wrote on the file as under:      "A  retail  outlet  dealership  has      been allotted  to Shri  arun  Kumar      Gupta  s/o   Sh.  Harbans  Lal,  at      Chandigarh   under    discretionary      powers of  Govt. vide  MOS’ s order      at p-1/n and Government sanction at      p-2/c.      2.  Since   the  allottee  has  not      mentioned anything about his father      and since a similar named person is      working as  Chairman of  one of the      Oil Selection Boards, IOC was asked      to  check   the  detail   from  the      allottee.  A  report  now  received      from IOC  is placed at pp 5-3/c for      perusal. It  may be  seen therefrom      that the  father  of  the  allottee      Shri Harbans  Lal is  a Retd. Judge      of  the  Punjab  and  Haryana  High      Court   and    practising    Senior      Advocate in  the Supreme  Court  at      New Delhi,  and also functioning as      the Chairman  of the  Oil Selection      Board for Haryana.      3. It is humbly submitted that such      allotments  will   invite   adverse      public criticism.                          Sd/-                     (S.K. SINGH)                     US (M.II)/6.12.93"      Letter of  intent was issued to Mr. Arun Kumar Gupta on December 9,  1993. Mr.  Kelkar in  his affidavit  has stated that Arun  kumar Gupta  is the  son of  Justice Harbans  Lal Gupta (retd.),  who at  that time  was Chairman  of the  Oil Selection Board, Haryana.      Satya Bahin,  Ex.Member of Parliament and member of the Oil Selection  Board for Haryana recommended the application of Dharmesh  Kumar for  allotment of  petrol  pump.  It  was stated in  the recommendation  that Dharmesh  Kumar’s father died few  years back,  they  are  poor  and  his  mother  is suffering from cancer. The Minister allotted the petrol pump by the following order:      "Office of the Minister      of State (P&NG)      "Placed below  is an application of      Shri Dharmesh  Kumar for  allotment      of a  Retail Outlet for MS-HSD. The      applicant has  stated that he is an      educated youth from Scheduled Tribe      whose father  had passed away while      in    Government    service.    The      Applicant  has   also  stated   his      mother  who   had  been  trying  to      support   her    family   is   also      afflicted by  Cancer which  has put



    the     family     in     difficult      circumstances.      Submitted for kind orders.                          Sd/-                     (G. Gurucharan)                     PS. to MOS (P&NG)                          9.11.      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application      carefully.  The   applicant  is  an      unemployed  youth   whose  father’s      sudden demise  had  prevented  from      completing   his   education.   The      applicant’s mother who had been the      sole bread-winner for the family is      also afflicted  with  Cancer  which      has put  the family  in  straitened      circumstances.  The  applicant  has      also not  been able obtain suitable      employment.   The   case   deserves      sympathetic          consideration.      Therefore, a  Retail Outlet for MS-      HSD at  Ferozabad-Shikohabad  Road,      near Makhanpur,  Uttar  Pradesh  is      allotted to Shri Dharmesh Kumar s/o      Late Shri  Johari  Lal  (Amin)  r/o      H.No.20, Katra Mohammad Mah, Gandhi      Marg, Shikohabad,  Firozabad, Uttar      Pradesh.      Orders may be issued accordingly.                     Sd/- 9/11                Capt. Satish Sharma)                Minister of State"      In his affidavit filed before this Court Dharmesh Kumar stated that  he is "neither a family member nor dependent on Satya Bahin.  The deponent  is not  closely related to Satya Bahin."      Leela Devi  in her  application stated that her husband expired on  25th January, 1994. Two clerks of lawyers killed her husband  in the premises of Patiala House. It is further stated that  she is  a housewife  with no means of income to feed herself  and her family since the death of her husband. The Minister  allotted the  petrol  pump  by  the  following order:      "Office of the Minister of      State (P&NG)      Placed below  is an  application of      Smt. Leela  Devi for allotment of a      retail  Outlet   for  MS-HSD.   The      applicant  has   stated  that   her      husband was murdered and ever since      his  death   her  family   is  left      without  any   regular  source   of      livelihood.      Submitted for kind orders.                     Sd/-                (G. Gurucharan)                PS to MOS(P&NG)                     19/5/95      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application      carefully. The applicant is a widow      whose  husband  was  murdered.  The      applicant has  no regular income to      support herself and her family. The



    case      deserves      sympathetic      consideration. Therefore,  a Retail      Outlet for  MS-HSD at  NOIDA, UP is      allotted to  Smt.  Leela  Devi  w/o      Late Shri Krishan Swaroop r/o H.No.      B-412/A, Sector No. 19, NOIDA, UP.      Orders may be issued accordingly.                          Sd/-                (Capt. Satish Sharma)                Minister of State"      The material on the file shows that the late husband of Leela Devi  was a  dismissed employee  of Post and Telegraph Department. He  had six   sons and a house on Kalibari Marg. Late husband  of Leela  Devi was living away from the family for 7-8  years  prior  to  his  death.  Mr.  Kelkar  in  his affidavit has  stated that Leela Devi is the relative of the driver of  the Minister.  The affidavit  filed by Leela Devi and the  documents attached  with the  affidavit  read  with Kelkar’s affidavit  clearly show  that  Leela  Devi  is  the mother of  Nand Kishor  who was  working as  driver of Capt. Satish Sharma.  Mr. Kelkar  in his affidavit has stated that "Smt. Leela  Devi happens  to be a relative of the driver of the Minister".  Least we  can say  is that Mr. Kelkar should have known that Leela Devi was Minister’s drivers’s mother.      Poda Rajasekhar has, in his application, stated that he completed his B.Com in 1980 and in spite of his best efforts he could  not settle  in regular  employment. His father was serving as  an Inspector  of Customs  and Central Excise. He expired in  January 1981.  His mother,  who was  a  teacher, retired on 19.4.1993. He finds it difficult to cope with the present circumstances. The Minister allotted the petrol pump by the following order:      "OFFICE OF THE MINISTER      OF STATE (P&NG)      Placed below  is the application of      Shri Poda  Rajasekhar r/o 8-3-897/6      Nagarjuna Nagar,  Hyderabad (A.P.).      The applicant has stated that he is      an educated  unemployed person  who      has the  responsibility of  looking      after  his  mother  as  well  as  a      cousin, who  is mentally  retarded.      He has stated that besides his best      efforts, he  has not  been able  to      settle in  any regular  employment.      He has  prayed that a retail outlet      dealership  for   MS-HSD   may   be      allotted to  him at  Banjara Hills,      Secunderabad (A.P.).      For kin orders.                     Sd/-                (G. GURUCHARAN)                PS TO MOS (P&NG)                     23.7.93      Minister      I have   examined  the  application      carefully. The  applicant’s case is      genuine  in  view  of  the  adverse      financial  circumstances  that  the      family finds itself in. It is a fit      case for sympathetic consideration.      Accordingly   a    retail    outlet      dealership for  MS-HSD is  allotted      to Shri  Poda Rajasekhar at Banjara      Hills, Secunderabad (A.P.).



    Orders may be issued immediately.                          Sd/-                (CAPT. SATISH SHARMA)                     MOS  (P&NG)"      Mr kelkar  in  his  affidavit  has  stated  that  "Poda Rajasekhar  is   a  relative  of  Shri  Gurucharan,  Private Secretary to the Minister".      Madhuri safaya  has stated  in her application that she is a  native of  Kashmir. She  is a  young lady and has been rendered homeless  due to  the increasing  militancy in  the Valley. Due  to sudden  migration to  Delhi she has not been able  to  complete  her  education.  On  these  grounds  she requested the  Minister to  allot her  a  petrol  pump.  The Minister readily obliged her by the following order:      "Office of the Minister      of State (P&NG)      Placed below  is an  application of      Ms. Madhuri Safaya for allotment of      Retail  Outlet   for  MS-HSD.   The      applicant  has   stated  that   she      belongs to  Kashmir and  her family      has  migrated   to   Kashmir.   The      applicant has  also stated that she      has not been able to get a suitable      job and is without a regular source      of livelihood.      Submitted for kind orders.                          Sd/-                     (G. Gurucharan)                     PS to MOS (P&NG)                          12.10      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application      carefully. The applicant is a young      lady whose family has migrated from      Kashmir and  are dependent on their      relatives   for   sustenance.   The      applicant  has  not  been  able  to      obtain a  suitable job  for herself      and is  without any  regular source      of  income.   The   case   deserves      sympathetic          consideration.      Therefore, a  Retail Outlet for MS-      HSD   in   the   national   Capital      Territory of  Delhi is  allotted to      Ms.  Madhuri  Safaya    r/o  B-6/1,      Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.      Orders may be issued accordingly.                          Sd/-                (Capt. Satish Sharma)                     Minister of State"      Mr kelkar  has confirmed  in his affidavit that Madhuri Safaya is related to B.N. Safaya, Add1. Private Secretary to the Minister.      Monika Malla  in her application stated that her family was forced to leave Kashmir  due to the militant activities. Her family  had to dispose of the property at a loss and all the   savings had already been spent. She has to support her parents who  are not  keeping good  health. On these grounds she requested the Minister for the allotment of petrol pump. The Minister passed the following order:      "Office of the Minister      of State (P&NG)      Placed below  is an  application of      Ms. Monica Malla for allotment of a



    Retail  Outlet   for  MS-HSD.   The      applicant has  stated that  she  is      young  lady   form  Kashmir   whose      family has  been forced  to migrate      to Delhi  due to growing militancy.      The applicant  has also stated that      she has  exhausted  their  family’s      savings   and    are   finding   it      difficult to  sustain themselves in      Delhi.      Submitted for kind orders.                     Sd/-                (G. Gurucharan)                PS to MOS (P&NG)                     12.10      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application      carefully. The applicant is a young      lady whose  family had  migrated to      Delhi owing  to militant activities      of the  extremists. The applicant’s      family has  no source of livelihood      and she has not been able to obtain      any suitable  employment. The  case      deserves sympathetic consideration.      Therefore, a  Retail Outlet for MS-      HSD   in   the   National   Capital      Territory of  Delhi is  allotted to      Ms. Monica  Malla c/o  Smt.  Labroo      r/o  D-1/54,   Vasant  Vihar,   New      Delhi.      Orders may be issued accordingly.                          Sd/-                (Capt. Satish Sharma)                     Minister of State"      Mr. Kelkar  has stated  in his  affidavit  that  Monika Malla is  related to  the wife  of B.N.Safaya, Add1. Private Secretary to the Minister.      Daya Rani  stated in  her application  that  she  is  a housewife of  a low  paid employee  having four school going children. It was difficult to live with the meagre salary of her husband.  She wanted  to share the responsibility of her husband and  as such  requested the  Minister to allot her a petrol  pump.  The  minister  obliged  her  by  passing  the following order:      "Office of the Minister      of State (P&NG)      Placed below  is an  application of      Smt. Daya  Rani w/o Shri H.R. Verma      for allotment  of a  Retail  Outlet      for  MS-HSD.   The  Applicant   has      stated that  she has  a  family  of      four school  going children  and is      finding it  difficult to  make ends      meet with  the income  being earned      by her husband.      Submitted for king orders.                          Sd/-                     (G. Gurucharan)                     PS to MOS (P&NG)                          10.10.94      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application      carefully.  The   applicant  is   a      housewife whose  family  is  facing



    difficult financial  circumstances.      The   case   deserves   sympathetic      consideration. Therefore,  a Retail      Outlet in  the Union  Territory  of      Delhi is allotted to Smt. Daya Rani      w/o Shri  H.R.  Ramakrishna  Ashram      Marg, Gole Market, New Delhi.      Orders may be issued accordingly.                          Sd/-                (Capt. Satish Sharma)                 Minister of State"      Shri S.K.  Singh, Under Secretary, while processing the Minister’s order noted on the file as under:      "Smt. Daya  Rani, the  allottee  is      the wife of Shri Hari Ram Verma who      is working  in this  Ministry as an      Assistant and  presently posted  to      Minister’s   Office.   His   annual      income  from   pay  and  allowances      during  1993-94   is  reported  Rs.      52,925/-. However, the allottee has      shown   the    annual   income   as      Rs.36,000/- which  is factually not      correct.  It  seems  that  she  has      shown only  the take-home pay after      deductions. It is for consideration      whether the  sanction letter placed      below as per Orders of MOS recorded      at p-1/n may be issued                               Sd/-                          (S.K. SINGH)                     US (M.II)/25.10.94"      Allotment  order  was  issued  to  Daya  Rani  on  31st October, 1994.  Mr. Kelkar  has stated in his affidavit that Daya Rani  is the  wife of H.R. Verma, Personal Assistant to the Add1. Private Secretary (B.N. Safaya) to the Minister.      Vijaya Nair has stated in her application that she is a young housewife  with a  large family  to support.  She  has studied up  to B.A.  level. The meagre income of her husband could not  sustain  their  liabilities.  She  requested  the Minister to  allot her  a petrol  pump which was done by the following order:      "Office of the Minister      of State (P&NG)      Placed below  is the application of      Smt. Vijaya  Nair. The applicant is      a young  educated unemployed person      with the  responsibility of looking      after a  family which  has a meagre      income. The  applicant  has  stated      that despite  best efforts  she has      been unable to obtain suitable job.      She has,  therefore requested  that      as  a   special  case  she  may  be      allotted a  Retail Outlet MS-HSD in      the Union Territory of Delhi.      For kind orders.                          Sd/-                     (G. Gurucharan)                     PS to MOS (P&NG)                          23.7.93      Minister      I  have  examined  the  application      carefully.  The   applicant  is  an      educated unemployed housewife whose



    family  circumstance   is  one   of      considerable financial  difficulty.      The applicant  has also prayed that      she has  the  necessary  drive  and      initiative to  run a Retail Outlet.      This is a fit case to be considered      sympathetically.   Accordingly,   a      Retail   Outlet   for   MS-HSD   is      allotted to Smt. Vijaya Nair, 2213,      Lodi Road  Complex,  New  Delhi-110      003,  in  the  Union  Territory  of      Delhi as  a special case.      Orders may be issued accordingly.                          Sd/-                (Capt. Satish Sharma)                Minister of  State"      Mr. Kelkar has stated in his affidavit that Vijaya Nair is related  to  D.V.  Pillai,  Add1.  Private  Secretary  to Minister.      All the  15 allotments  - discussed  above -  have been made  by   the  Minister   in  a   stereotyped  manner.  The applications  have  not  been  officially  received  by  the Petroleum Ministry.  There is  no receipt  - entry on any of the applications. The applicants seem to have approached the Minister directly.  None of the applications have been dealt with in  any of  the branches  of  the  Ministry.  There  is nothing on the record to indicate that the Minister kept any criteria in  view  while  making  the  allotments.  How  the applicants came to know about the availability of the petrol pumps is  not known. No advertisement was made to invite the applications. There  is nothing  on the  record to show that any other method of inviting applications was adopted. There is no  indication in the allotment-orders or anywhere in the record to show that the Minister kept any guidelines in view while making these allotments. The allotments have been made in a cloistered manner. The petrol pumps - public property - have been doled out in a wholly arbitrary manner. This Court in Ramana Dayaram Shetty vs. International Airport Authority of India and others (1979) 3 SCC 489, held ad under:      "It must, therefore, be taken to be      the law  that where  the Government      is dealing with the public, whether      by way  of gibing  jobs or entering      into contracts or issuing quotas or      licences or granting other forms of      largesse, the Government cannot act      arbitrarily at  its sweet will and,      like  a  private  individual,  deal      with any person it pleases, but its      action must  be in  conformity with      standard  or  norms  which  is  not      arbitrary,      irrational       or      irrelevant. The power or discretion      of the  Government in the matter of      grant of  largesse including  award      of   jobs,    contracts,    quotas,      licences, etc. must be confined and      structured  by  national,  relevant      and non-discriminatory  standard or      norm and  if the Government departs      from such  standard or  norm in any      particular  case   or  cases,   the      action of  the Government  would be      liable to be struck down."      The allotments have been made by the Minister either on



the ground  of poverty  or unemployment.  Assuming that  the allottees belong  to either of these two categories then how the Minister has selected them court of millions of poor and unemployed in  this country.  As mentioned above no criteria was fixed,  no guidelines  were kept  in view, none knew how many  petrol   pumps  were      available   for   allotment, applications were  not invited  and the allotments of petrol pumps were made in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner.      We may  examine these   allotments  from another  angle which has  very serious repercussions. Six of the  allottees are related  to various officials working with the Minister. Leela  Devi   is  the  mother  of  Minister’s  driver.  Poda Rajasekhar is a relation of G. Gurucharan, Private Secretary to the Minister. Madhuri Safaya and Monika Malla are related to B.N.  Safaya, Add1.  Private Secretary  to the  Minister. Daya Rani  is the  wife of H.R. Verma. Personal Assistant to B.N. Safaya  and Vijaya  Nair is  the wife  of D.V.  Pallai, Add1. Private Secretary. Two of the allottees are related to the politicians.  Sarbjot Singh is the son of Buta Singh who was Home  Minister and  at the  relevant  time  was  Cabinet Minister heading  the Civil  Supplies portfolio. Benjamin K. Hollohan is  the son  of Shri  K. Hollahan,  Minister in the State of  Nagaland. Remaining  seven  allottees  are  either members of  the Oil  Selection Boards  or  their  relations. Shaukat Hasan Abidi is the son of Justice S.H. Abidi(Retd.), who was  the Chairman  of the  Oil  Selection  Board,  Uttar Pradesh. Similarly,  Arun Kumar  Gupta is the son of Justice Harbans Lal  Gupta (Retd.)  who  was  the  Chairman  of  Oil Selection Board,  Haryana.  Pradeep  Kumar  is  the  son  of Krishna Swaroop,  who was  Member of Oil Selection Board for delhi and  Chandigarh. Nena  Nautiyal is  the wife  of  R.S. Nautiyal, who   was  member of  Oil Selection Board, Punjab. Dharmesh Kumar was the recommended of Satya Bahin, Ex.Member of Parliament  and Member  of the  Oil Selection  board  for Haryana.  Shiv   Balak  Passi  and  Ghulam  Ahamd  Mir  were themselves members  of  the  Oil  Selection  Boards.  It  is obvious that  Capt. Satish  Sharma was personally interested in making  allotments of petrol pumps in favour of all these 15 persons. He made allotments in favour of relations of his personal staff  under the  influence of  the staff on wholly extraneous considerations.  The allotments  to the  sons  of Ministers were  only to oblige the Ministers. The allotments to  the   members  of   the   Oil   Selection   Boards   and their/chairmen’s relations  have been done to influence them and to  have favours  from them.  All these  allotments  are wholly arbitrary, nepotistic and are motivated by extraneous considerations.      The Government  today -  in a  welfare State - provides large number  of benefits  to the  citizens. It  distributes wealth in  the form  of allotment  of plots,  houses, petrol pumps, gas  agencies, mineral  leases, contracts, quotas and licences etc.  Government distributes  largesses in  various forms.  A   Minister  who  is  the  executive  head  of  the department  concerned   distributed   these   benefits   and largesses. He  is elected by the people and is elevated to a position where  he holds a trust on behalf of the people. He has to  deal with  the peoples’  property in a fair and just manner. He  cannot commit breach of the trust reposed in him by the  people. We have no hesitation in holding  that Capt. Satish Sharma  in his  capacity as  a Minister for Petroleum and Natural gas Deliberately acted in a wholly arbitrary and unjust manner.  We have  no doubt  in our  mind  that  Capt. Satish Sharma  knew that the allottees were relations of his personal  staff,   sons  of   Ministers,  sons/relations  of Chairmen and  members of  the Oil  Selection Boards  and the



members  of   the  Oil   Selection  Boards  themselves.  The allotments made  by him  were wholly  mala fide  and as such cannot be sustained.      We are  further of  the view  that Capt.  Satish Sharma acted in  a wholly  biased manner  inasmuch as  he  unfairly regarded with  favour the  cases of 15 allottees before him. The  relevant   circumstances  available   from  record  and discussed by  us leave  no manner  of doubt in our mind that Capt. Satish Sharma deliberately acted in a biased manner to favour these  allottees and as such the allotment orders are wholly vitiated and are liable to be set aside.      The orders  of the Minister reproduced above read: "the applicant has  no regular  income to support herself and her family", "the  applicant is  an educated lady and belongs to scheduled tribe  community, "the applicant is unemployed and has no  regular source  of income",  "the  applicant  is  an uneducated, unemployed scheduled tribe youth without regular source of  livelihood", "the  applicant  is  an  uneducated, unemployed scheduled  tribe youth  without regular source of livelihood", "the  applicant is  a housewife whose family is facing difficult  financial circumstances"  etc. etc.  There would be  literally millions of people in the country having these circumstances  or worse.  There  is  no  justification whatsoever to  pick up  these person except that they happen to have  won  the  favour  of  the  Minister  on  mala  fide considerations.  None   of  these   cases  fall  within  the categories placed  before this Court in writ petition (civil No. 886/93  titled Centre  for public  interest ligation vs. Union of India & Anrs. decided on March 31, 1995 but even if we assume for argument sake that these cases fall in some of those or  similar guidelines  the exercise of discretion was wholly  arbitrary.  Such  a  discretionary  power  which  is capable of  being exercised  arbitrarily is not permitted by Article 14  of the  Constitution of  India. While Article 14 permits a  reasonable classification having a rational nexus to the  objective sought  to be achieved, it does not permit the power  to pick  and choose  arbitrarily out  of  several persons falling  in  the  same  category.  A  transport  and objective criteria/procedure  has to  be evolved so that the choice among  the members  belonging to  the same  class  or category  is   based  on   reason,   fair   play   and   non arbitrariness. It  is essential  to lay  down as a matter of policy as  to how  preferences would be assigned between two person falling  in the  same  category.  If  there  are  two eminent sportsmen  in distress  and only  one patrol pump is available, there  should be clear, transparent and objective criteria/procedure to  indicate who  out of the two is to be preferred. Lack  of  transparency  in  the  system  promotes neptosism and arbitrariness. It is absolutely essential that the entire  systems should  be transparent  right  from  the stage of  calling for  the upto  the stage  of  passing  the orders of  allotment. The names of the allottees, the orders and the reasons for allotment should be available for public knowledge and  scrutiny. Mr.  Shanti Bhushan  has  suggested that the  petrol pumps,  agencies etc.  may be  allotted  by public auction  - category-wise  amongst  the  eligible  and objectively selected  applicants. We  do not  wish to impose any procedure  on the  Government. It  is a matter of policy for the Government to lay down. We, however, direct that any procedure laid  down by  the Government must be transparent, just, fair and non-arbitrary,      This Court in The Centre for Public Interest Litigation case (supra)  has endorsed  the guidelines  submitted by the Attorney General for allotment of petrol pumps, gas agencies etc. The  Court in  that case  did not  have before  it  the



actual manner  of exercise  of discretion by the Minister in the allotment  of pups/agencies.  The allotment orders which are now  before the  Court clearly indicate that leaving the authorities to  enjoy absolute  discretion even  within  the guidelines would  inevitably lead  to gross violation of the constitutional norms  when the  persons  for  allotment  are picked up arbitrarily and discriminatory.      This Court  as back  as in 1979 in Ramana Shetty’s case (supra) held  "it  must,  therefore,  be  taken  to  be  the law...." that  even in  the matter  of  grant  of  largesses including award of jobs, contracts, quotas and licences, the Government  must  act  in  fair  and  just  manner  and  any arbitrary distribution  of wealth would violative the law of the land.  Mr. Satish Sharma has acted in utter violation of the law  laid-down by  this Court  and  has  also  infarcted Article 14 of the Constitution of India. As already stated a minister in  the Central  Government is  in a  position of a trustee in  respect of  the public property under his charge and discretion.  The petrol pumps/gas agencies are a kind of wealth which  the Government  must distribute in a bona fide manner and  in conformity  with law. Capt. Satish Sharma has betrayed the  trust reposed  in him  by the people under the constitution. It  is high  time  that  the  public  servants should be  held personally  responsible for  their mala fide acts in the discharge of their functions as public servants. This Court  in Lucknow  Development  Authority  versus  M.K. Gupta  (1994)   1  Supreme   Court   Cases   243,   approved "Misfeasance in  public offices"  as a  part of  the Law  of Tort.  Public   servants  may   be  liable  in  damages  for malicious, deliberate or injurious wrong-doing. According to Wade "There is, thus, tort which has been called misfeasance in public  office and  which  includes  malicious  abuse  of power, deliberate  maladministration, and perhaps also other unlawful acts  causing injury".  With the  change in  socio- economic outlook,  the public  servants are  being entrusted with more  and more discretionary power even in the field of distribution of  Government wealth in various forms. We take it to  be perfectly  clear, that  if a public servant abuses his office  either by  an act of omission or commission, and the consequence  of that  is injury to an individual or loss of public property, an action may be maintained against such public servant. No public servant can say "you may set-aside an order  on the  ground of mala fide but you cannot hold me personally  liable".  No  public  servant  can  arrogate  to himself the power to act in a manner which is arbitrary.      For the  reasons indicated  above, we conclude that the orders passed  by Capt.  Satish Sharma, the then Minister of State for  Petroleum and  Natural Gas,  Government of India, allotting  petrol   pumps  to  Sarbjot  Singh,  Benjamin  K. Hollohon,  Syed  Hasan  Shaukat  Abidi,  Shiv  Balak  Passi, Pradeep Kumar,  Ghulam Ahmad  Mir, Nena Nautiyal, Arun Kumar Gupta, Dharmesh  Kumar, Leela Devi, Poda Rajasekhar, Madhuri Safaya,  Monika   Malla,  Daya  Rani  and  Vijaya  Nair  are arbitrary, discriminatory,  mala fide, wholly illegal and as such are liable to be quashed.      We, therefore, hold and direct as under: 1.   The  orders  -  reproduced  in  earlier  part  of  this judgment -  allotting petrol  pumps to  the above  mentioned fifteen persons are hereby quashed. 2.   The allocation,  allotment of  the petrol  pumps/retail outlet dealerships  by the  Government of  India, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.  or any  other corporation  in names of the above  said  fifteen  persons  shall  stand  cancelled  with immediate effect. 3.   Most of  these 15  persons have not as yet commissioned



the petrol  pumps. Those  who have  commissioned the  petrol pumps and  are running  the same  shall stop  operating  the petrol pumps  and running the said business with effect from October 31,  1996. The  Government of  India/Oil Corporation (concerned) shall  take over  the petrol  pump premises from these  persons   within  ten   days  thereafter.   The   Oil Corporation shall  have the market-value of the site and the construction thereon,  determined in  a fair and just manner before October 31, 1996. 4.   Each of  the commissioned  petrol pumps,  taken over by the Government/Oil  Corporation (concerned) and the built-up area along with the site (whether lease-hold or owned by the original allottee)  shall be  disposed of  by way  of public auction. The  original allottees may also participate in the auction. The  petrol pump  shall be  allotted to the highest bidder. The  said allottee  shall run the petrol pump on the original terms  and conditions. He shall have all the rights in respect  of the  site and the construction thereon as the original allottee  had on  the date  of auction.  Out of the auction money  the value of the site and the construction as determined by  the Oil  Corporation shall  be  paid  to  the original allottee  and the  remaining money  shall go to the Government  coffer.  On  receipt  of  the  said  amount  the original allottee  shall cease to have any right or interest in the  site and the construction thereon. If the successful bidder is the original allottee, he shall pay the difference between the  auction money  and the  value of  the site  and construction as determined by the Oil Corporation. 5.   Capt. Satish  Sharma shall  show-cause within two weeks why a  direction be  not issued  to the  appropriate  police authority  to  register  a  case  and  initiate  prosecution against him  for criminal  breach  of  trust  or  any  other offence under  law. He  shall further  show-cause within the said period  why he  should not, in addition, be made liable to pay  damages for his mala fide action in allotting petrol pumps to the above mentioned fifteen persons.      We place  on  record  our  appreciation  for  Mr.  H.D. Shourie, who,  very ably,  assisted us  in this  matter.  He shall be  entitled to  costs which  was quantify  as  rupees fifty thousand.  The cost  shall be  paid  by  Capt.  Satish Sharma personally.      Before parting with this judgment, we may mention about Civil Writ  Petitions Numbers  400./95 and 4430/95 which are pending before  the Delhi High Court. In the said petitions, allotment of  petrol pumps/gas  agencies  to  various  other persons during  the period  1992-93,  1993-94,  1994-95  and 1995-96 have  been challenged.  Transfer petition  No.127/96 has been  filed in this Court seeking transfer of those writ petitions from  Delhi High  Court to  this  Court.  We  have issued notice  in the  transfer  petition  and  have  stayed further proceedings  before  the  High  Court  in  the  writ petitions. Various  affidavits have  been filed on behalf of the Ministry  of Petroleum  & Natural  Gas. Mr.  Devi Dayal, Joint Secretary  of the  Ministry, in  his  affidavit  dated March  26,  1995,  has  stated  that  in  1995-96  petroleum products agencies  were allotted  to 99  persons  under  the discretionary powers of the Government. It is further stated that  orders   on  file  have  been  made  allotting  petrol pumps/agencies to 61 more persons. An affidavit filed by Mr. Srinivasan, Advocate  supporting the transfer petition gives a long  list of  persons who  are related  to the then Prime Minister/Ministers and other VIPs and who have been allotted petrol  pumps  and  gas  agencies.  Mr.  Devi  Dayal,  Joint Secretary in  the Ministry  of Petroleum  has filed  another affidavit dated  April 18, 1996 in reply to the affidavit of



Mr. Srinivasan. Para 6 of the affidavit is as under:-      "As regards  the list  of allottees      mentioned in  paras 3  to 6 and the      alleged relationship with the Prime      Minister, other Ministers, V.I.Ps.,      M.Ps/M.L.As, etc.,  it is to submit      that  enquiries   have  been   made      through the  Oil Companies from the      allottees, who have replied through      affidavits.  The  comments  of  the      Ministry, on  the  basis  of  above      enquiry and  records, are contained      in Annexure - I to this affidavit."      Annexure 1  with the  affidavit shows that gas agencies were allotted  to six  relations of the then Prime Minister, an agency  to a  son of  the OSD in Prime Minister’s office, LPG dealership  to daughter-in-law  of the  OSD tot  eh then Minister of  Petroleum, a petrol pump to the real brother of Chadraswamy  (Nemi   Chand  Jain),  LPG  distributorship  to brother of  Shri Bhagwan Shri Satya Sai Baba, LPG dealership to Manju  Devi, wife  of  private  secretary  to  additional private secretary  of Capt.  Satish Sharma, a petrol pump to wife  of   V.K.  Aggarwal,   additional  private  secretary, Ministry of Law, RO dealership to Rakesh Saluja, son of R.L. Saluja, who  was employed  in the Ministry of Petroleum till June, 1993,  RO dealership to Prathiba Singh related to Shri Kalapnath Rai,  RO dealership in January, 1995 to Kanti  Lal Bhuriya, who at that time was Minister for Tribal Welfare in he Madhya Pradesh Government, a gas agency to the son-in-law of Mr.  G. Ganga  Reddy, Member  of Parliament  and  various others.      Since the  two writ  petitions,  mentioned  above,  are pending before the High Court wherein the allotments made to all the  persons  mentioned  above  and  others,  have  been challenged, it  is not necessary for us to transfer the writ petitions to this Court. We vacate the stay order granted by this Court  and dispose  of the transfer petition. We direct the Registry  of this Court to send all the affidavits filed by the parties in the transfer petition along with annexures to the  High Court.  We have  no doubt  that the  High Court shall examine  the issues  involved in he writ petitions and shall also  go into  the validity of the allotment of petrol pumps/gas agencies  to various  persons, after hearing them, in accordance  with  law.  We  request  the  High  Court  to expedite the hearing of the petitions.