Justice SM Subramaniam issued the direction after dismissing a batch of pleas, including by a former Army Major Sathia Moorthy Gopalan.
“Indian Oil Corporation is directed to stop the supply of petrol, diesel and all petroleum products forthwith immediately. The IOC is directed to vacate the premises and hand over possession of the property to the Defence Estate Officer by following the procedures within a period of two months,” the judge ruled.
The petitioners who were running fuel stations on lands owned by the Defence Department at Evening Bazaar, Furzer Bridge Road, MUC Corner and Rattan Bazaar had challenged the notice issued by the Estate Officer directing them to vacate the land for the non-payment of rents. All three petitioners have got their licence from IOC to operate fuel stations.
“As per Sub-section 2 (b) of Section 4 of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971, all the persons concerned are entitled to notice and no such notice was issued to the writ petitioner and thus the impugned order is liable to be set aside,” the petitioners’ counsel V Balakrishnan submitted.
However, central government counsel G Bhaskaran said the oil firm owed rent dues of Rs 8,99,79,194 for the Evening Bazaar property and Rs 9,56,71,990 for the Furzer Bridge Road property. The dues were not paid despite repeated demands and thus they were liable to be evicted immediately, he argued.
But IOC counsel R Vijay said the oil firm has already decided to vacate the premises, and assured that the rent arrears would be settled.
The petitioners were only licensees and thus could not have any right, Justice Subramaniam held and directed the company to vacate the premises within two months.