October 17, 2019

High Court of H.P., directed the H.P. Public Works Department to issue necessary certificate and approval

Vijyender Sharma

Shimla------------In a matter of alleged malafide in awarding tender by the H.P. Public Works Department for construction of Link Road to Village Bakarla in HPPWD Division, Nahan, the High Court of H.P., directed the H.P. Public Works Department to issue necessary certificate and approval to the bid application made by bidder/petitioner namely Mohammad Jaseem as per the terms and conditions of the tender notification, whose tender was cancelled without assigning any reasons.

The Court further directed the petitioner that after clearance, as per the tender notification, he shall complete the work and report compliance to the Court within a period of six months.

A Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice L. Narayana Swamy and Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary passed these orders on a writ petition filed by one Mohammad Jaseem of Sirmaur District. It has been alleged in the petition that the Engineer in Chief, H.P. Public Works Department floated tenders for estimated cost of Rs.46,94,132/- for the construction of Link Road to Village Bakarla in H.P.P.W.D. Division Nahan, measuring 4 Kms and he being eligible bidder submitted bid against the said work. The petitioner has averred that he is the successful bidder as he had quoted the lowest bid amounting to Rs.18,17,172/- against the sanctioned estimated cost of Rs.46,94,132/-, but the Executive Engineer, instead of awarding the tender in his favour, cancelled the tender process itself. The petitioner has alleged malafides against the respondent. The grouse of the petitioner is that the said cancellation is on politically motivated grounds just to help out another person and that though, he has offered to complete the work for almost Rs.19lacs against the estimated cost of almost 47 lacs, but, without assigning any reason, the same has been cancelled. The petitioner has prayed to issue directions to the respondents to accept the bid offered by the petitioner.

In reply to the aforesaid petition, the Additional Advocate General stated that there is no foundation for alleging malafides against the H.P. State Public Works Department since the tender notification was floated through e-auction process and the said process was cancelled on valid grounds. He further submitted that keeping in view the past experiences, namely the incompletion of work executed by the contractors like the petitioner, his bid application for the latest tender has been rejected.

However, the Court after going through the material placed on record, i.e. terms and conditions stipulated in the Tender Notification, acceptable to the petitioner and the calculation chart regarding completion of entire work by the petitioner within the time less than the stipulated period of six months, said that though the Court has its own reservations about the technicalities of the tender notification, but in order to examine the veracity of the petitioner, it is inclined to direct the respondents to accept the bid of the petitioner.

The Court reiterated that though, it is not having the technical knowledge and only the Expert Body has to accept or reject a tender application, but, on the face of it, since the petitioner has submitted that what was estimated by the State instrumentalities for the construction of 4 kilometers long road, is on the higher side lacking pragmatic calculations and if it could be done for almost Rs.19 lacs., it is going to be an example and will throw light as to how the State instrumentalities function by spending public money.

In order to assess the progress made by the petitioner, the Court posted the matter in the first week of January, 2020.

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