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IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT IF THERE IS ARBITRARINESS AND UNREASONABLENESS AND THE ORDER IS TELL-TALE ON THE FACE OF THE RECORD, THEN THIS COURT HAS JURISDICTION TO ENTERTAIN THE WRIT PETITION UNDER ARTICLE 226 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA: ODISHA HIGH COURT

This particular decision is upheld by the High Court of Odisha through the division bench of Justice B.R Sarangi in the case of SRB Transport, Sambalpur v Union of India and Ors (W.P.(C) NO. 2430 OF 2022), Avtar Filling Station, Sambalpur v Union of India and Ors (W.P.(C) NO. 2920 OF 2022), M/s. Maa Kalijaee Transport, Sambalpur v Union of India and Ors (W.P.(C) NO. 2160 OF 2022)

FACTS

the facts of W.P.(C) No.2430 of 2022 are taken into consideration, according to which, opposite Party-Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) floateda tender on 01.07.2021 inviting bids for the work “Road Transportation of Bulk Petroleum Products by bottom loading tank trucks at Jharsuguda terminal”. The petitioner in the said writ petition, having satisfied all the terms and conditions of the tender, submitted its bid through online on 24.07.2021. In compliance of the tender conditions, the bid was opened on 27.07.2021. On 02.11.2021, the technical bid was accepted, and thereafter financial bid was accepted. As the petitioner was declared L-1 by opposite party no.4 on 15.11.2021, letter of acceptance was issued on 19.11.2021. Opposite party no.4 communicated the same to the petitioner by e-mail and on 04.12.2021, after the contract was executed, it was called upon to furnish the security deposit of Rs. 50,000/- within 15 days from the date of letter of acceptance and to execute the agreement.  Thereafter, the petitioner on 07.12.2021 submitted security deposit in the shape of demand draft, which has duly acknowledged by the authority. After submission of required security deposit, agreement was executed on 07.12.2021 between the petitioner and opposite party no.4. Pursuant to such agreement, opposite party no.4 vide e-mail dated 10.12.2021 intimated the petitioner for physical inspection of Tank Truck before 19.12.2021. In response to said e-mail, petitioner on 16.12.2021 intimated that its 9 (nine) nos. of Tank Trucks were ready for verification and sought permission to physically place all the ready built Tank Trucks at the location (Jharsuguda Terminal) for physical inspection on 19.12.2021. At this point of time, opposite party no.4, vide e-mail dated 18.01.2022, cancelled the letter of acceptance issued to the petitioner on 19.11.2021, which is the subject matter of challenge in W.P.(C) No.2430 of 2022. The facts of W.P.(C) No.2920 of 2022 and W.P.(C) No.2160 of 2022 are almost similar to the facts of W.P.(C) No.2430 of 2022, as therein cancellation of Letter of Acceptance is also the subject matter of challenge.

JUDGEMENT

The court states that in the first instance, the requirement to give reasons ensures application of mind to the material, for, how does one give reasons for an order unless one applies one’s mind to the material which it is called upon to consider.

 Secondly, it incorporates a built-in safeguard against arbitrariness in the exercise of power. It immediately introduces an element of rationality into an executive decision-making process. The requirement makes the authority pause for a moment and articulate for itself why it was making the order. It feels that it is answerable for its order and the validity of the order would be tested on the touch-stone of reasoning, rationality and logic.

 Thirdly, it makes any further examination or review in appeal or other proceedings before courts more meaningful and effective. It enables all subsequent authorities dealing with the matter to know how the mind of the authority, which made the order, was functioning; what is it that appealed to it when it made the order and how it dealt with the objections as to why the order should or should not be made.

 Lastly, it is intended to inform the person aggrieved, if an individual, or if it involves wider rights, interests, freedoms, the public in general, as to why the action has been taken. This requirement would be particularly important where there remains a superadded requirement of publication in a Gazette. Such an order has to meet the larger public gaze. The authority in such cases is answerable to the people in general because the nature of the order is such that all of them must be informed as to what order has been made and why it has been made.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NAISARGIKA MISHRA

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