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WHERE VALUABLE RIGHTS ARE SOUGHT TO BE TAKEN AWAY BY THE GOVERNMENT IN DEPRIVING OF A PERSON DEALING WITH IT, THE WRIT COURTS CANNOT ACT AS MERE SPECTATOR AND SHALL INTERVENE TO DO JUSTICE TO THE AGGRIEVED PARTY: ODISHA HIGH COURT

This particular decision is upheld by the High Court of Odisha through the division bench of Justice Dr. Justice B.R. Sarangi and Mr. Justice S.K. Panigrahi in the case of M/s. Ram Kumar Agrawal Engineers Pvt. Ltd. State of Odisha and Ors (W.P.(C) No.14053 of 2020)

FACT

A public tender was invited by the opposite party No.3- Engineer-in-Chief, Rural Works, Odisha, Bhubaneswar for various roads and bridges in terms of an item rate tender. Since the petitioner has wealth of experience in executing several construction and related works, on the W.P.(C) No.14053 of 2020 basis of such varied experience, it participated in the tender process and got selected. An agreement was signed between the petitioner and the opposite party No.6- Executive Engineer, Rural Works Division, Patnagarh, District- Bolangir on 26.02.2014 for the construction of H.L. Bridge over River Suktel on Tamla-Mudassir Road in the district of Bolangir under “Biju Setu Yojana.” An estimated cost of Rs.6,99,97,278/- was provided with a stipulated date of completion of work fixed for 25.02.2016. The said work was completed before time and as per the drawing and design supplied by the department, and the said work was measured and the final bill was also cleared by the department.

On 26.02.2020, after the expiry of about four and half years from handing over the bridge for the purpose of transportation by public, some horizontal cracks appeared to have developed. The petitioner intimated such facts to the authority stating that there are some horizontal cracks developed in the S-4 grider between the soffit and outer webs. In addition, there were also some inclined cracks. In the meantime, the opposite party No.3 requested the Government to consider and allow the Executive Engineer to take up the work of dismantling and related construction would be undertaken by the petitioner after diversion of the traffic. He further informed that such diversion of traffic, dismantling and related construction would be done by the petitioner at his own cost. In anticipation of the approval, the Executive Engineer instructed the petitioner to go ahead with preparation of preliminary arrangement to take up the work.

JUDGEMENT

The decision of the State to blacklist the petitioner has been done in a hush hush manner without giving a proper hearing. Further, the application of the doctrine of proportionality has not been kept in mind in proper perspective while awarding a punitive measure like blacklisting without a period specified in the impugned order. In addition, there seems to be violation of codal procedures, in so far as procedural formalities are concerned. In the result, this writ petition succeeds to the extent that the impugned order of blacklisting the petitioner deserves a revisiting by the State authority.

JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY NAISARGIKA MISHRA

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