There is a total lethargic and negligence on the part of the State and its departments in not issuing the fresh tender process and in not issuing fresh NIT after 2018: Supreme Court of India

It is very unfortunate that the contract for supply/transportation of rice and other micronutrients under the Development Scheme has been continued by way of an interim arrangement only and without issuing any fresh tenders and the contract has been continued at the old rates of 2017-18, which must have caused tremendous/huge loss to the State and the Public Exchequer. The aforesaid has been upheld by the Supreme Court of India while adjudicating the case of M/s B.K. Enterprises v. The State of Manipur and Another [ CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6532 OF 2021] which was decided upon by a single judge bench comprising Justice M.R. Shah on 12th November 2021.

The facts of the case are as follows. That the State of Manipur through the Director of Social Welfare Department, Government of Manipur issued a NIT for 2 transporting Rice & other micronutrients under the Wheat Based Nutrition Programme (WBNP), from Food Corporation of India’s depots in the State of Manipur, to the offices of Child Development Project Officers. That the State’s Higher Tender Committee in its meeting, recommended that the acceptable band of rate was Rs.6.265 – Rs.11,635 per MT per KM and further recommended that Route No.8 be awarded to one RK & Co. and that fresh tender should be conducted for the other routes. That respondent no.2 awarded contracts for all the routes to one RK & Co. by way of interim arrangement till the finalization of the re-tender process. That the appellant herein filed a writ petition before the High seeking award of tender with respect to route nos. 1,3,5 & 9 alleging inter alia that being the lowest bidder as per Higher Tender Committee’s band rate, it should be awarded the contract with respect to route nos. 1,3,5 & 9. During the pendency of the aforesaid writ petition, respondent no.2 – Director, Social Welfare Department cancelled the Higher Tender Committee’s proceedings and recommendations. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court of Manipur at Imphal, by which the Division Bench of the High Court has disposed of the said writ appeal.

The court perused the facts and arguments presented. it was of the opinion that “ we dispose of the present appeal by directing the respondents – State of Manipur and the concerned Department including respondent no.2 to issue fresh NIT for appointment of transport contractor under Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP), within a period of 10(ten) days from today and it is directed that the fresh NIT is conducted in a fair and transparent manner through e-Tender and invitation of the fresh NIT shall be nation-wide and it is the duty of the State/concerned Department to see that there is no cartel by the contractors and that the maximum price is received and there is no loss to the Public Exchequer and the State. The entire tender process be 7 completed within a period of six weeks from the date of issuance of the e-Tender. In the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and only with a view to see that there is no inconvenience caused to the beneficiaries, the directions issued by the High Court relating to transportation of goods under Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) in the impugned order/interim order dated 19.12.2018 is directed to be continued till 31.12.2021. The State of Manipur is directed to submit a compliance report before this Court. Any lapse on the part of the State and/or its departments and non-compliance of the present order shall be viewed very seriously”

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Judgment reviewed by Aryan Bajaj

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