The Bombay High Court denied Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited’s petition of the Board of Trustees of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority’s decision to disqualify it from the tender for upgrading the Navi Mumbai container port (JNPA) through A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik in the case of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited Versus The Board of Trustees of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority and Ors (WRIT PETITION (L) NO. 14657 OF 2022).
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The brief facts of the case are that The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (“JNPT”) issued a Request for Qualification (hereinafter “RFQ”) on August 23, 2021, for the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) upgrade, operation, maintenance, and transfer of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal (JNPCT). To facilitate, among other things, the shortlisting of suitable bids subject to national security clearance, applications from interested parties were invited.
After a stay was placed on the use and application of the letter, Adani asked for instructions on how to be permitted to take part in the Request For Proposals (RFP) stage of the tender process. JNPA argued against the motion for dismissal before the High Court on the grounds that the court lacked the expertise to look at “terms and conditions of present-day economic activity of the state.” Therefore, it was powerless to act. Even if the court finds complete arbitrariness, the JNPA, represented by Senior Advocate Venkatesh Dhond, argued, can order the party who was wronged to seek damages. However, it cannot step in to cancel the agreement.
The court ordered Adani Ports SEZ to deposit the remaining Rs. 75,000 because the corporation has already paid Rs. 4.25 lakh to JNPA.
The plea was deemed “unmeritorious” by a division bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik, who also assessed the corporation a cost of Rs 5 lakh. It also rejected the company’s request to keep things as they are while it files a petition for redress with the Supreme Court.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY