Govt agencies should pay their contractors on time Says Madras High Court.

Case Title:              Mr. M. Prakash          …. Petitioner


                    The State of Tamil Nadu and Anrs     …. Respondents

Date of Decision: 20.06.2023


Citation: W.P.No.14931 of 2023


Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for the issuance of a Writ of Mandamus, directing the 1st to 4th respondents to settle the bill amounts of the petitioner meant for the periods from 09.10.2019 to 21.01.2022 to the tune of Rs.1,47,13,958.10/-

The petitioner is seeking a writ of mandamus from the court directing the Board to settle the bills. The Board has not yet settled the bills.  A writ of mandamus is a court order that requires a public official to perform a legal duty. In this case, the petitioner is asking the court to order the Board to settle the bills that are due to him.


Mr. M. Prakash is a contractor who has worked for the Chennai Metro-Water and Sewerage Board since 2019. He has submitted bills for the work he has done for the Board in the period from 09.10.2019 to 21.01.2022, totaling Rs. 1,47,13,958.10/-. The Board has not yet settled the bills, even though Mr. Prakash has made a representation to the Board asking for settlement. The Board has acknowledged the representation, but has not yet settled the bills.

Mr. Prakash has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court seeking a writ of mandamus, directing the Chennai Metro-Water and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) to pay the amount that is due and payable against the various works done by him.


Whether the CMWSSB has a legal duty to settle the bills that are due to Mr. Prakash?

Whether the CMWSSB has given any reason for not settling the bills?

Case analysis

The area engineer of the CMWSSB has submitted a report. The report shows that the petitioner has already been paid Rs.1,03,37,377/- for the work they have done. The department is in process of verifying the relevant records for the pending bills. Once the claim made by the petitioner is ascertained, the amounts will be settled to them. The CMWSSB has a legal obligation to pay Mr. Prakash for the work he has done. The CMWSSB has acknowledged that Mr. Prakash is entitled to be paid, by accepting his bills. The CMWSSB has not given any reason for not paying Mr. Prakash.


The Madras High Court has issued a writ of mandamus directing the CMWSSB to pay the amount that is due and payable to Mr. M. Prakash. The court found that the CMWSSB had a legal duty to settle the bills that were due to Mr. Prakash, and that Mr. Prakash was suffering financial hardship because the CMWSSB had not settled the bills. In response to the stance taken by the CMWSSB, the court stated there will be an instruction given to the respondent parties involved to address the petitioner’s claim. Any undisputed amounts will be settled in favor of the petitioner. However, for disputed amounts, they will need to be resolved through the appropriate legal channels. In any case, the respondent parties are required to complete this process within twelve weeks from the receipt of this order. Consequently, this writ petition is concluded according to the terms mentioned above.


The court’s decision is a win for Mr. Prakash, and it reminds government agencies that they have a legal obligation to pay their contractors on time. The decision also shows that the Madras High Court is willing to take action to protect the rights of contractors.

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