Delhi High Court’s Verdict on Tender Process and Bidder Selection Methodology   

Case Title: Batra Medicos and Others v. Union of India and Others 

Date of Decision: 18 August, 2023

Case Number: W.P. (C) 5077/2023 & CM APPL. 19793/2023, CM APPL. 30180/2023  

Coram: Hon’ble Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma & Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sanjeev Narula  



The case of Batra Medicos and Others v. Union of India and Others was heard in the High Court of Delhi at New Delhi before Justices Satish Chandra Sharma and Sanjeev Narula. The petitioners, Batra Medicos and others, challenged the decision of the respondents, Union of India and others, to award contracts for empanelment as Authorized Local Chemists (ALCs) under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS). The core issue revolved around the rejection of the financial bids of the highest (H1) and second highest (H2) discount bidders due to concerns of predatory pricing, and the subsequent award of contracts to the next highest (H3 and others) bidders. 


Factual Information 

The petitioners contested that the rejection of H1 and H2 bidders’ financial bids was unjustified. The respondents defended their actions, asserting the need to prevent predatory pricing and to ensure the financial capability of bidders to fulfill the contractual obligations. The court’s analysis centered on whether the respondents’ actions were consistent with the tender process, fairness, and public interest. 


Key Legal Issue 

  1. Whether the actions of the Respondents, who awarded contracts to bidders other than the highest bidder, were consistent with the tender conditions outlined in Clause 7.2 of the Scope of Work? 
  1. Whether the methodology adopted by the respondents in evaluating bids and awarding contracts was reasonable and unbiased? 


Core Arguments 

The central arguments presented by the petitioners revolved around the alleged breach of Clause 7.2 of the Scope of Work, which outlined the selection process for bidders. The petitioners contended that the respondents deviated from the standard practice by awarding contracts to bidders offering lower discounts than the highest bidder (H1). They argued that this deviation violated the principles of transparency, fairness, and objectivity in tender evaluation. Additionally, the petitioners challenged the respondents’ decision to reject the bids of H1 and H2 bidders on the grounds of predatory pricing. They claimed that this rejection was unreasonable and arbitrary. 


Court’s Observation and Analysis 

The court analyzed the tender process and the relevant clauses in the Scope of Work, focusing on Clause 7.2 and the concept of predatory pricing. The court noted that the respondents’ actions aligned with the core principle of fair competition and the need to prevent predatory pricing. The court rejected the petitioners’ argument that they could have secured contracts if Clause 7.2 had been followed strictly, emphasizing that the bid process involves competitive dynamics and the speculative scenario presented by the petitioners lacked legal foundation. The court held that the petitioners failed to demonstrate arbitrary or irrational decision-making. 


Decision of the Court 

In conclusion, the court found no substantial grounds to grant the remedies sought by the petitioners and held that the decision of the respondents to award contracts to certain bidders was reasonable, consistent with relevant guidelines, and did not violate the principles of fairness and transparency. The court upheld the methodology adopted by the respondents in evaluating bids and awarding contracts to the next highest bidders (H3 and others). It recognized the discretionary nature of tendering processes and the need for limited judicial interference.  



The judgment underscores the importance of evaluating bids comprehensively and ensuring fair competition while also respecting the autonomy of administrative decision-makers. It dealt with the balance between fair competition, financial capacity, and regulatory compliance in the context of tender processes. The court’s analysis focused on the reasonableness of the Respondents’ actions, their adherence to the tender conditions, and the broader public interest. The decision emphasized the importance of proper evaluation of bids, transparency, and adherence to guidelines. 



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Written by – Ananya Chaudhary 

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