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Delhi High Court allowed the writ petition filed and dismissed the order passed by the Container Corporation of India Ltd.

Title: Loadstar Equipment Ltd. Vs Container Corporation of India Ltd.

Decision: 04.07.23

W.P.(C) 5040/2023 & CM APPL. 19721/2023

CORAM: HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE MR. SATISH CHANDRA SHARMA

 HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SUBRAMONIUM PRASAD

Introduction

Delhi High Court allowed the writ petition filed and dismissed the order passed by the Container Corporation of India Ltd, disqualifying the petitioner from participating in the bidding of tender bearing reference no. CON/AREA1/TECH/FORKLIFT-20/2023, which was floated by Respondent No. 1 on their website vide NIT dated 08.02.2023.

Facts of the Case

The Respondent No. 1 invited applications on the government portal for bids from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)/authorized dealers through a two packet online open tendering system, at an estimated total cost of Rs. 38,11,40,000/-, for the design, manufacture, supply, and commissioning of 20 forklifts with a capacity of 35 tonnes at a specified terminal. This is the background to the current petition.

Respondent No.1/CONCOR subsequently issued a corrigendum in respect of the part of the NIT document which lays down qualification criterion for bidders. Accordingly, Clause 2.1(b) under Section II “General Instructions to Bidders” was added to the NIT document.

Upon examination of the bid documents in the technical stage, Respondent No.1 issued communications to the bidding parties on 23.03.2023 and again on 24.03.2023, calling upon them to submit additional documents to rectify discrepancies found in the documents, latest by 29.03.2023. and The Petitioner submitted their reply to the aforesaid communication and submitted documents to the Respondent vide emails dated 28.03.2023 and 29.03.2023

On a perusal of the documents submitted by the Petitioner, the Tender Evaluation Committee of Respondent No.1 found the Petitioner to be technically not qualified and rejected the bid of the Petitioner vide impugned communication dated 18.04.2023. The Petitioner thereafter addressed an email to the CMD of Respondent No. 1, stating that no reasons had been assigned for their disqualification, and requested the intervention of CMD of Respondent No. 1 to permit the Petitioner to give further clarifications. However, there was no response to this communication.

Being aggrieved by the decision of the Respondent No.1 dated 18.04.2023, disqualifying the Petitioner from the tender process, the Petitioner has filed the instant petition on 19.04.2023, challenging the impugned communication.

Analysis and Decision of the court

In accordance with Clause 2.1, a qualified bidder must have submitted at least one purchase order for a comparable good to at least one government department, CPSC, SPSC, public limited company, etc. during the previous three years and on or before the last day of the financial year immediately preceding the one for which the bid is being submitted. Additionally, it states that a bidder and an authorised dealer cannot submit separate bids for the same product or item in the same tender.

According to Clause 2.1, the manufacturer or an authorised dealer must demonstrate that they have successfully delivered or completed one purchase order in order to be taken into consideration for the tender. According to the certificate provided by APL Apollo Steel Pipes, M/s Excellent Engineering & Allied Service Private Limited provided the device produced by the petitioner.

The justification offered by Respondent No. 1 was that M/s Excellent Engineering & Allied Service Private Limited was the beneficiary of the certificate issued by APL Apollo Steel Pipes. This justification is inadmissible since the proof demonstrates that M/s Excellent Engineering & Allied Service Private Limited worked with Apollo Steel Pipes to complete the machine the petitioner built.

It is undeniably well established that judicial review of administrative acts, including those involving tenders, is severely constrained. However, judicial review may be used to stop arbitrary, unreasonable, and illogical behaviour.

The fundamental requirement of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution is now well established and has been upheld numerous times by the Apex Court. Non-arbitrariness in substance and essence is the lifeblood of fair play, and State actions are subject to judicial review to the extent that the State must act lawfully for a discernible reason and not arbitrarily. The Court must intervene in order to exercise its authority under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution if the State or an instrumentality of the State fails to behave reasonably or fairly in the awarding of contracts. Vice Chairman & Managing Director, City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd. and Others v. Shishir Realty Private Limited and Others, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1141 a case decided by the Supreme Court, where it was held that “Fairness and the good faith standard ingrained in the contracts entered into by public authorities mandates such public authorities to conduct themselves in a non-arbitrary manner during the performance of their contractual obligations” and “The constitutional guarantee against arbitrariness as provided under Article 14, demands the State to act in a fair and reasonable manner unless public interest demands otherwise. However, the degree of compromise of any private legitimate interest must correspond proportionately to the public interest, so claimed”

Arbitrariness is the antithesis of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, and the State must operate in a fair and reasonable manner, as has been well-established and stated by the Apex Court. As previously stated, the bidder who is a manufacturer only needed to demonstrate that it has experience supplying at least one single purchase order of government departments, CPSEs, SPSEs, Public Listed Companies, ICD, DCT, MMLP, Ports, CFS, CTOs for similar item during the previous three financial years and current financial year last day of month prior to the one in which tender is invited.

A thorough study of Clauses 2.1, 5.4, and Annexures 10 and 11 of the NIT reveals that the maker must merely demonstrate that it has provided a machine that has been installed satisfactorily. In a similar vein, Annexure-14 stipulates that the maker must also provide the certificate.

Since the Petitioner has demonstrated that it satisfies the qualifying requirements, their bid shouldn’t have been turned down.

The Respondent No. 1 was instructed to open the Petitioner’s financial bid during the hearing, and it turned out that the Petitioner was the lowest bidder.

 Given the foregoing, the writ petition and any pending applications, if any, are approved. It is mandated that the Respondents go forward in line with the law.

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Written By – Shreyanshu Gupta

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Delhi High court rejected the Review petition filed by Statesman Limited seeks to review the judgement passed by the high court.

Title: The StatesMan Limited vs Govt. of NCT of Delhi & Ors.

Decision: 04.07.23

+ REVIEW PET. 516/2019 and CM APPL. 53531/2019, CM APPL. 12275/2022 in W.P.(C) 9497/2015

CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE C. HARI SHANKAR

Introduction

The Delhi High court rejected the Review petition filed by Statesman Limited seeks to review the judgement passed by the high court dated 18.11.19 on the grounds that it does not address the issue of jurisdiction of the Authority under the Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955, (“the Working Journalists Act”) to pass the order dated 21 July 2015 forming subject matter of challenge in WP (C) 9497/2015.

Facts of the case

The application made under Section 17(1) of the Working Journalists Act by a few members of the Statesman Mazdoor Union is resolved by the order dated July 21, 2015. The stated applicants requested payment of arrears in accordance with the Majithia Wage Board’s recommendations. The petitioner-Statesman disputed their obligation to pay the applicants in accordance with the Wage Board’s recommendations on the grounds that they had incurred significant cash losses three years prior to the implementation of those recommendations, exempting them from the requirement to pay arrears. The Court has carefully considered the applicants’ case and rejected the petitioner’s argument that it was not the petitioner’s responsibility to pay the applicants as recommended by the wage board.

The petitioner conceded to the Authority’s authority and objected to its need to compensate the applicants-workers on a merits-based basis. After losing before the Authority, the petitioner used the current writ petition to appeal to this Court.

Analysis and Decision of the court

The Delhi High Court held that Even in the current writ suit, there is not even the slightest hint of a challenge to the Authority’s authority to hear the workmen’s claims and issue the ruling of July 21, 2015. Instead, extensive and numerous submissions have been made in an effort to prove that the petitioner was, in fact, experiencing significant losses three years prior to the Wage Board’s recommendations and was not, therefore, required to pay the applicants-workmen in accordance with those recommendations. The petitioner submitted a response to the writ petition after the respondents submitted a counter affidavit. There isn’t even a claim that the Authority lacked the authority to decide the applications of the journalists in the response. Instead, the response outlines how the petitioner believes the Authority should have resolved the aforementioned arguments.

The order dated July 21, 2015 lists the errors under the heading “Grounds for Setting Aside Impugned Order” in paragraph 11 of that document. In the aforementioned paragraph, the petitioner first explains why, in its opinion, it had actually experienced losses for three years; second, it explains why the petitioner’s net current assets could not be taken into account when determining whether the losses suffered by the petitioner were heavy; and third, it makes reference to Supreme Court decisions that, in the petitioner’s opinion, established the guidelines for identifying “heavy losses.”

Therefore, the written submissions do not only fail to raise any objections to the Authority’s competence or jurisdiction. decision on the petitions submitted by the applicant-journalists, but they also go so far as to assert that the Authority should have handled the cases differently than how it did. Therefore, there is a favourable claim regarding the Authority’s ability and authority to rule on the journalists’ application.

The petitioner also had approached the hon’ble SC with an SLP (C) 36133/2015 The Supreme Court did not interfere with the direction, of the learned Division Bench, to decide the writ petition expeditiously, and merely modified the order of pre-deposit by reducing it to ₹ 30 lakhs. This indicates that the argument of want of jurisdiction of the Authority to adjudicate on the claims of the respondent-workmen was not canvassed either before the Division Bench or even before the Supreme Court.

Even after reserving the judgement in 2018, the petitioner failed to file any written submission when given opportunity for the same. As a result, there was no challenge made to the Authority’s competence or jurisdiction to decide on the claims of the respondent-workmen in the writ petition’s only written submission.

Thus, neither the writ petition nor the response nor the written representations submitted by the petitioner contested the Authority’s competence or authority to decide on the claims of the respondent-journalists. In contrast, the petitioner made specific allegations in the written submissions it submitted to this court about how it believed the Authority should have handled the situation, even going so far as to request a remand to make sure the Authority handled the situation again properly. These allegations cannot be reconciled with the claim that the Authority lacked the authority to determine the respondents’ petitions; in fact, they are diametrically opposed to one another. It was in these circumstances that, in the judgment under review, this Court did not return any findings regarding the competence of the Authority to pass the order dated 21 July 2015.

In light of the above, this Court conducted a merits review of the case and determined that the defence of three years of continuous loss as a justification for not adhering to the Majithia Wage Board’s Award was inadmissible.

Ultimately, the Delhi High Court dismissed the petition and miscellaneous applications were disposed of accordingly.

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Written By – Shreyanshu Gupta

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The Delhi High Court Dismissed the petition of an Employee on claim to quash the show cause notice issued by the employer.

Title: Dr. Geeta Oberoi vs National Judicial Academy

Decided on: 30th June, 2023

+ W.P.(C) 8487/2023, CM APPL. 32341/2023, CM APPL. 32343/2023 CM APPL. 32342/2023

CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE JASMEET SINGH

Introduction

The Delhi High Court dismissed the petition of an ex-employee for setting aside the order of National Judicial Academy dated 22.05.23 and quashing of the show cause notice issued by the employer and renew the contract of service with release of all increments withheld and other consequential benefits that have been conferred on other similarly placed employees as the Petitioner.

Facts of the case

Dr. Oberoi was employed at National Judicial Academy, Bhopal since 2014 at the post of professor against a sanctioned post pursuant to an advertisement. The advertisement was issued on 11.06.2012 by the Respondent, inviting applications for filling up several vacancies on deputation or contract basis including the post of professor. The petitioner was appointed after following the open selection-cum-merit procedure. letter dated 10.04.2014, the petitioner was appointed as a professor for an initial period of 3 years. A contract of service was executed on 17.08.2014. Since there was no director officiating with the respondent, the petitioner vide letter dated 03.11.2014 was also given the responsibility of performing the duties of the Director of the National Judicial Academy till a new director was appointed.

On 01.02.2021, a show cause notice was issued to the petitioner with regard to the petitioner’s role in obstructing the academy’s security personnel or other employees from taking steps for evicting stray dogs from the premises of the academy. The Executive Committee decided that the Petitioner should continue in service till appropriate decision on show cause notice is issued (The Hon’ble chairperson observed “She may be continued till further orders”). On 22.05.2023, the petitioner’s services were terminated pursuant to a resolution of the Executive Committee dated 13.05.2023. Hence the present petition.

Court Analysis & Decision

The court noted that in the current case, it is true that the petitioner was covered by the service contract as of the day the show cause notice was given; hence, the respondents were required to abide by the contract’s terms and conditions. The respondent issued the show cause notice due to claims that stray dogs were being fed on academy property, which was causing a disturbance. Since the petitioner was a contractual employee of the respondent on that date and both parties were subject to the terms and conditions of the contract, the Executive Committee members believed that the petitioner’s services should be continued until an appropriate decision is made regarding the show cause notice. The petitioner is not entitled to rely on the terms and conditions of the aforementioned contract since it ceased to exist on July 8, 2021 and was not renewed.

The decision of the executive committee was taken on 13.05.2023 & there was no contract of service subsisting between the petitioner and the respondent. And in accordance with the advertisement, the respondent was only interested in hiring professors on a temporary basis, which is why the petitioner was chosen. The petitioner at best could have had legitimate expectation to be considered for regular appointment against a sanctioned post provided her performance was outstanding but that’s not correct to be held on the present case and unlike in the case of K. Ragupathi v. State of U.P., (2022) 6 SCC 346 (on which the petitioner relied on) where the petitioner therein had “outstanding” Annual Performance Assessment Report, there is nothing on record to show the performance of the petitioner as outstanding in this case. Hence the arguments of the petitioner that her appointment is akin to a regular appointment and her reliance on K. Ragupathi (supra) is faulty. Further the termination of the petitioner is on account of expiry of the period of the contract of service, the same is neither stigmatic nor vindictive.

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Written by – Shreyanshu Gupta

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WRIT PETITION FILED IN ANDHRA PRADESH HIGH COURT TO RELEASE THE DETENUE

Andhra Pradesh High Court – Amravati

Mekala Puspha Reddy vs The State of AP

BENCH – THE HON’BLE SRI JUSTICE D.V.S.S. SOMAYAJULU AND THE HON’BLE SRI JUSTICE V. SRINIVAS

WRIT PETITION No. 40489 of 2022

DATE OF JUDGEMENT – 12 MAY 2023

FACTS

In this writ petition, the petitioner is challenging the order of detention of her husband Mekala Vamsidhar Reddy, S/o C.Rami Reddy aged 32 years, passed by the 2nd respondent(The Collector & District Magistrate, Tirupati District), which was confirmed by the 1st respondent (State) and prays to direct the respondent authorities to set the detenue at liberty forthwith.

The Collector and District Magistrate, Tirupati District, while categorizing the detenue as “Goonda” within the definition of Section 2(g) of the A.P. Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Dacoits, Drug Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Land Grabbers Act, 1986 and passed the impugned order of detention. The same was confirmed by the 1st Respondent.

The Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the order of detention passed in a mechanical manner and non-existent grounds; that basing on the three different cases registered against the detenue, the impugned order is passed; that in all the three cases initially the detenue was not shown as accused and basing on the confession of other accused, he was falsely implicated in cases under Section 457 and 380 of IPC; that there is every possibility for him to obtain bail in the said cases, but the said fact was suppressed by the sponsoring authority before the detaining authority and due to non-furnishing of relevant material, the detenue lost opportunity to submit an effective representation before the concerned authorities. He also submits that the penal laws are sufficient to deal with the situation and that invoking the provisions of preventive detention is completely unnecessary. He further submits that the detaining authority did not supply the material relied on by them within the stipulated period of five days and only the order and grounds of detention along with material supplied after about three weeks, but the subsequent developments such as approval and confirmation of the order of preventive detention were not even informed to the detenue, thereby, it vitiates the entire order of preventive detention.

In this case, the detaining authority has not considered the vital aspect that the detenue was shown as accused basing on the confession of other accused. Similarly, the fact that the detenue was in judicial custody at the time of passing detention order is not considered and no reasons are assigned that he will commit further crimes. It is not clear how the authority came to the conclusion that the ordinary law is not sufficient to prevent the alleged crimes and that invoking provisions of preventive detention is completely unnecessary as settled by this Court in several judgments.

JUDGEMENT

This hon’ble court heald that, this Writ Petition was allowed, setting aside the order of detention passed by the 2nd respondent, dated 05.07.2022 as confirmed by the State Government. Consequently, the detenue namely Mekala Vamsidhar Reddy, S/o C.Rami Reddy, aged 32 years, was directed to be released forthwith by the respondents if the detenue is not required in any other cases

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY HARSHIT JAIN

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Petitioner challenging the order of detention of her husband passed by the Collector and District Magistrate in Andhra Pradesh High court.

Andhra Pradesh High Court – Amravati

Amrutha Durga vs The State Of AP

BENCH – THE HON’BLE SRI JUSTICE D.V.S.S. SOMAYAJULU AND THE HON’BLE SRI JUSTICE V. SRINIVAS

WRIT PETITION No. 41766 of 2022

DATE OF JUDGEMENT – 12 MAY 2023

FACTS

In this writ petition, the petitioner challenged the order of detention of her husband Amrutha Venkayya, S/o Kotaiah, aged 41 years passed by the 2nd respondent (The Collector & District Magistrate), Krishna District, and prays to direct the respondent authorities to set the detenue at liberty forthwith.

The Collector and District Magistrate, Krishna District, while categorizing the detenue as a “Bootlegger” within the definition of Section 3(1) and 3(2) r/w.2(a) and 2(b) of the A.P. Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Dacoits, Drug Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Land Grabbers Act, 1986 (for short, ‘the Act 1 of 1986’) passed the impugned order of detention. The same was confirmed by the 1st Respondent (State).

The petitioner filed writ to amend the prayer of the writ petition as ‘to issue writ order or direction more particularly one in the nature of writ of Habeas Corpus directing the 4th respondent (the Superintendent, Central Prison, Rajamahendravaram) to produce the detenue viz., Amrutha Venkayya, S./o.Kotaiah, before this Court and set him at liberty forthwith by declaring the order of detention as illegal, arbitrary, against the principles of natural justice, against Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the offences alleged against the detenue is under section 7(A) and 7(B) r/w.8(B) and 8(E) of Andhra Pradesh Prohibition Act, 1995 and they can be dealt under general laws. It is also stated that the detenue was already granted bail in all the six crimes and that the sponsoring authority did not place the copies of bail orders along with grounds of detention before the detaining authority to come to the right conclusion and that the detention authority erred in passing the impugned order without considering the material.

In the present case, the detenue was already enlarged on bail even prior to detention order and the said fact is not disputed by the respondents. A perusal of the detention order and grounds of detention would show the detaining authority as well sponsoring authority has not taken into consideration the fact that the detenue was on bail in all those cases and no opinion has been expressed as to whether the preventive detention of detenue was essential or not. No such discussion was made in the order.

JUDGEMENT

In this case the court held that the order impugned was passed without proper application of mind and there was serious procedural violation also. The detenue will not fall under the category of Section 3(1) and 3(2) r/w.2(a) and 2(b) of the Act. This Court could not find that for order of detention the authority had material to either substantiate or justify the said allegation that the detenue is a ‘Bootlegger’ whose activities would be prejudicial to public order.

This hon’ble court for the reasons recorded, this Writ Petition is allowed setting aside the order of detention passed by the 2nd respondent. The detenue namely Amrutha Venkayya, s/o Kotaiah, aged 41 years, is directed to be released forthwith by the respondents if the detenue is not required in any other cases.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY HARSHIT JAIN

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