High Court Dismisses Coca-Cola Petition, Upholds Village Council Decision
Perumatty Panchayat has Complied with Court Directives
Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday dismissed
a petition filed by the Coca-Cola seeking to clarify that the licence
for operating its plant at Plachimada was renewed with effect from
June 10, 2004, for two years as per the court's earlier directive.
The Bench comprising Justice M. Ramachandran and Justice K.P. Balachandran
dismissed the plea. In its petition, the company pointed out that
the bench had earlier directed the Perumatty grama panchayat to renew
the licence within one week. The court had also ordered that if any
formal licence had not been issued by the panchayat within the time
limit, it should be deemed that the petitioner possessed such licence
as renewed and it would be within their rights to carry on the functioning
of the company for a block of two years subject to certain restrictions
already laid down by the court.
The panchayat had issued licence only for three months from June 6,
2005. The company said that the orders passed as well as specific
directive issued were resented by the panchayat and, therefore, a
clarification order was needed to ensure that the company got the
benefits available as per the earlier court directive. The company
also contended that the licence had not been granted within the prescribed
time and, therefore, the panchayat was liable to accept the position
that the petitioner had a dejure licence.
Counsel for the panchayat K. Ramkumar contended that the petition
was mischievous and not legally sustainable. He contended that there
was no deemed licence as claimed by the company. Only if a formal
licence was not issued within the time limit of seven days, it could
have been possible to contend that the petitioner possessed such a
licence as renewed. In fact, the panchayat had complied with the orders
of the court and it was the company's duty to collect the licence,
While observing that the contentions of the panchayat were justified,
the court felt that when a licence for three months had been issued,
the pancahayat had complied with the directives of the court. The
court also found that the panchayat had granted the company the licence
for three months.
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