Utt HC | Court places confidence on the Ministry on its policy decision to setup petroleum retail outlets, puts locus standi itself into question

Uttaranchal High Court: The Division Bench of Ramesh Ranganathan, CJ and N.S. Dhanik, J. dismissed an appeal while placing reliance on the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for its policy decision and found no reason to entertain the petition since the locus standi of the petitioner was itself in doubt.

In the present matter the policy decision of the Government of India, to establish several petroleum retail outlets throughout the country, was challenged. The ground being that the increase in the number of petroleum retail outlets would result in a concomitant increase in petroleum consumption and would thus result in increased air pollution which will further put the viability of the existing units in jeopardy. Also as the government is coming out with an alternative fuel policy and a manifold increase in the number of petroleum retail outlets would, therefore, result in needless wastage of public money.

The court held that the petitioners were unable to show any statutory violation on the part of the respondents, apart from Section 11 of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act, 2006, where it only deals with the functions of the Regulatory Board, and does not stipulate a condition for obtaining prior consent of the Regulatory Board required for the Petroleum Corporations to establish petroleum retail outlets. Court was of the opinion that such matters are required to be examined by the Government of India and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas will give such a representation its due consideration, and if the need be, take necessary action thereafter in accordance with the law.[Samajik Evam Gramin Shiksha Vikas Samiti v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 143, Order dated 01-03-2019]

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