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Dismissal of appeal on non-compliance of documents regarding physical possession of machinery: High Court of Shimla.

Once the bid document required a contractor to show that he was in physical possession of a particular kind of machinery in working order, he cannot explain that he would procure the same in the future. This honorable judgement was passed by High Court of Shimla in the case of M/s. Amit Singla Versus State of Himachal Pradesh & others [LPA No.78 of 2020] by The Hon’ble Mr. Justice L. Narayana Swamy and Chief Justice the Hon’ble Mr. Justice Anoop Chitkara.

Aggrieved by the refusal of learned Single Judge to quash the evaluation proceedings and the tender process by which the tender allotted to the respondent; the petitioner had come up before this Court. Under the Standard Bidding Document, the petitioner had participated in the invitation for bid for improvement and strengthening of Thalout-Thachi-Somagd Road. Vide communication addressed to the petitioner by Chief Engineer, Mandi Zone, it was pointed out that the tender was under process of technical evaluation and they sought clarification primarily qua the following two points. Invoice-cum-delivery challan for Batching Plant costing Rs.23,75,000/- as uploaded doesn’t seem to be as per requirement of item P/L bituminous concrete with 100-120 TPH batch type hot mix plant, Tax invoice as uploaded by you doesn’t seem to be as per requirement of Track mounted mobile stone crusher as provided in the bid document. The company had assured to lease out a Batch Mix Plant to the petitioner for the work. Similarly, it gave the undertaking to lease out Jaw Crusher. The petitioner also submitted documents regarding works of Kalpa Division. During the evaluation of the tender documents, the Evaluation Committee vide proceedings found the petitioner’s offer and bid as non-responsive. In contrast, it found the technical bid submitted by the respondent as responsive.

The court opinioned that, “Neither the company’s resolution to the said effect was attached, nor the amount of lease money for such undertaking. The date from which they will hand over the machinery was also not given. It was also not mentioned that such machinery was presently in working condition as of the undertaking’s date. Once the bid document required a contractor to show that he was in physical possession of a particular kind of machinery in working order, he cannot explain that he would procure the same in the future.”

The court dismissed the appeal stating that, “The essence of civil construction is the time limit within which the construction must be completed. The violation of the time limit leads to the escalation of price and throwing out of gear the schedules of so many other units and things, which depend upon the project’s timely completion. There is no error in the Evaluation Committee for declaring the petitioner-appellant’s technical bid as non-responsive. Consequently, there is no reason to interfere in this tender process. The learned Single Judge vide his detailed and very well-reasoned judgment had also arrived at the similar conclusion.”

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