Maheshwary Handling Agency Pvt Ltd v. Kandla Port Trust: Judgment Summary

The Supreme Court of India recently delivered a significant judgment in the case of Maheshwary Handling Agency Pvt Ltd v. Kandla Port Trust. This case revolved around the storage charges and regulations at Kandla Port, impacting the operations of the handling agency. The Court’s ruling addressed the dispute regarding storage durations and penalties, providing clarity on the legal framework governing port activities. Let’s delve into the details of this crucial judgment.


  • Maheshwary Handling Agency Pvt Ltd used facilities at Kandla Port for storing cargo and was liable to pay charges.
  • Charges were as per schedule/scales of rates framed by the Board of Trustees of Kandla Port Trust.
  • Rates were published in the Official Gazette under Section 52 of the Port Trusts Act.
  • The section, prior to its omission in 1997, required prior sanction of the Central Government for rates and conditions.

Also Read: Judgment in the Case of Sundew Properties Ltd. v. TSERC & APTEL


  • The Notification dated 4 November, 1993 fixed scales of rates for storage at Kandla Port.
  • The impugned circular issued by the Traffic Manager on 31 August, 1998 stipulated that storage of goods beyond sixty days would be considered unauthorized occupation.
  • The Traffic Manager’s authority to regulate storage time limits was in line with the powers granted by the Notification and regulations.
  • The impugned circular aimed at maintaining efficiency at the port amidst congestion issues.
  • The appellant challenged the circular stating it interfered with the notified rates and lacked justification for limiting storage duration.
  • The Traffic Manager had the discretion to prohibit goods likely to obstruct traffic under Regulation 64.
  • The circular brought uniformity and transparency in storage facility usage at Kandla Port.
  • Any unauthorized occupation of rented space incurred a penalty of double the rent.
  • The Tariff Authority’s new tariff scales from 29 January, 2001 replaced the rates specified in the 1993 Notification.
  • The appellant and the Port Trust agreed that rates from the 1993 Notification applied until the new tariff became effective.
  • The reasoning presented addresses the other arguments raised by the appellants which were not argued before the High Court.
  • A period of sixty days is considered sufficient, long, and not unreasonable, thus not violating Article 14 of the Constitution.
  • The circular in question aimed at ensuring uniformity and equal treatment by prescribing a maximum storage period of sixty days for goods, failure to comply with which would result in penalties.

Also Read: High Court Judgment on Renewal of Mining Leases: State of Odisha vs. Thakurani Global Processors


  • The appeal failed to succeed on all grounds
  • The appeal was dismissed
  • No order was made regarding costs

Also Read: Arvind Kejriwal vs. Directorate of Enforcement: Interim Bail Granted by Supreme Court of India


Case Number: C.A. No.-005277-005277 / 2010

Click here to read/download original judgement

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