Dadar Railway Station

Bombay High Court: In a writ petition filed by a catering stall operator under Article 226 of the Constitution, against the policy order issued by the Railway Administration to relocate 8 stalls including the petitioner’s, at Mumbai’s Dadar Railway Station, to aid decongestion; the Division Bench of Sandeep V Marne* and Dr. Neela Gokhale, JJ., dismissed the petition finding that the order was beyond the scope of interference under the Article 226. The Court further held that the interest of safety of lakhs of passengers was paramount over the interest of gaining higher profits of the petitioner.


The petitioner is an allottee of a Catering Stall, on a platform at the Dadar Railway Station, Mumbai, operated by her since 2007 after a prolonged litigation before the Supreme Court. A series of orders issued by the Railway Authority directed the relocation of her stall at the same platform towards another end (Kurla-end).

A Feasibility Report was made by various railway officials in 2022, under which the petitioner had agreed to shift her stall on the same Platform towards the Kurla-end, however, according to her no action was taken on the Feasibility Report. The Railway Administration contended that the peak hours congestion affected the free flow of passengers, and therefore, it was decided to relocate the petitioner’s stall in 2022. An order issued in February 2024 (“February 2024 Order”) by the Senior Divisional Commercial Manager (Works), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (“CSMT”), Mumbai, directed the relocation of 8 stalls including the petitioner’s, to which end, after repeated requests made by the petitioner against the relocation, a Final Notice was issued in May 2024, threatening her with suspension of license if she failed to relocate the stall by 20-05- 2024. These orders were challenged by the petitioner in the instant writ petition.

Counsels for the petitioner contended that the impugned relocation order suffers from non-application of mind and the proposed relocation will hurt not only the petitioner’s livelihood but also affect the hygiene of the beverages and food items sold at her stall.

Court’s Analysis and Judgment

The Court noted that the petitioner was part of the Feasibility Report and had agreed to relocate the stall back in 2022, and her stall was proposed to be shifted at the location per her own choice towards the Kurla-end. However, the chosen location was also between the halt points of trains which would not have met the purpose of decongestion.

The Court noted that the order of the Divisional Railway Manager to relocate 8 stalls was a uniform policy decision for decongestion, and the isolated case of relocation of petitioner’s stall was now a part of a policy decision.

Therefore, the Court viewed that the jurisdiction of the Court under Article 226 of the Constitution cannot be extended to interfere with such a policy decision especially when it is in the interest of the passengers, considering the quantum of people that commute through the Dadar Railway Station every day.

The Court distinguished the case of Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, South Central Railways v. S.C.R. Caterers, Dry Fruits, Fruit Juice Stalls Welfare Association, (2016) 3 SCC 582, relied on by the petitioner. In this case the Supreme Court had considered the issue of deprivation of right to livelihood to the weaker sections of society in relation to the allotment of catering stalls on railway platforms.

However, the Court stated that the relocation of the petitioner’s stall was not a deprivation of her livelihood’ and stated further that railway platforms exist mainly for travelling passengers and their free movement, their safety being paramount than the business interest of the petitioner in operating the catering stall. Therefore, if the Railway Administration believes that for ensuring decongestion and free flow of passengers, catering stalls must be shifted beyond halt points, the private interest of the petitioner to secure better profits from her stall is superseded by the interest of lakhs of passengers using the platform.

After considering the overall conspectus of the case, the Court found no valid grounds to interfere with the impugned policy decision of the Railway Administration and dismissed the writ petition.

[Rukmani V. Agarwal v. Union of India, 2024 SCC OnLine Bom 1370, Decided on 15-05-2024]

Judgment by: Justice Sandeep V. Marne.

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Advocates for the Petitioner: Mayur Khandeparkar, Nidhi Singh, Brian Noronha, Shubham Khaire, Ishan Gambhir, Akshata Parkar, i/by Indialaw LLP

Advocates for the Respondents: T.J. Pandian and D.P. Singh

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