MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court ordered interim injunction on the tender notification issued relating to opening of new petrol retail outlets in Tamil Nadu.
A division bench comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and SS Sundar gave the direction on a petition filed by one VVenkidusamy of Dindigul seeking direction to quash the tender notices issued by three public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) on November 25, 2018, calling for applications to open 5,125 new petroleum retail outlets in Tamil Nadu.
According to Venkidusamy, nearly 4,897 retail outlets have been established so far in the State in the past 70 years and are presently catering to the needs of the public. However, the OMCs have decided to open 5,125 more outlets in one go, without any rational or justification, he said.
Moreover, the decision to proceed with the proposal is highly premature as the State government has not formulated any procedure or policy for approval of sites and issuance of NOC to start retail outlets, he pointed out.
The litigant further submitted that the decision of the OMCs to open 65,000 new retail outlets in the country have been challenged before various courts across the country. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has also passed an order on January 18, 2019, directing to constitute a joint committee to assess the impact of opening such a large number of retail outlets across India and the recommendations of the committee are awaited, he stated. Therefore he prayed the court to stay all proceedings on the impugned notification and also quash the same.
A bench comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and SS Sundar who heard the plea, termed the entire exercise of doubling the number of retail outlets ‘unnecessary’ and ordered interim injunction on proceedings of the impugned notification.
Taking note of the fact that no guidelines have been framed for granting approval to the outlets, the Judges directed the State government to respond when they are going to frame the guidelines. They also issued notices to the Central and State governments and the three oil corporations, returnable before the next hearing on March 7.