HC dismisss petition seeking direction to respondents not to proceed with e-tender of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project


Jammu, May 10: Justice Rajnesh Oswal of Jammu & Kasshmir and Ladakh High Court in a significant judgment dismissed the petition filed by BGE MFB JV seeking direction of respondents respondent to permit the petitioner to participate and bid in the tender for 'Slope Stabilization At Katra End Of Anji Khad Bridge On Katra-Dharam Section Of Udhampur- Sringar-Baramulla Rail Link Porject' respondents not to proceed ahead with e-tender for 'Slope Stabilization At Katra End Of Anji Khad Bridge On Katara-Dharam Section Of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link Project' till the date for submission of e-bid is extended and the petitioner is permitted to participate for submission of the e-bid and not to finalize the tendering process till such time the date for submission of e-bid be extended; (d) Direction against respondents directing them not to open the financial bid of the tender till such time the petitioner makes its bid and the technical bid of the petitioner is opened.
Justice Rajnesh Oswal while dismissing the petition observed that Supreme Court in a judgment holds that while entertaining the writ petition and/or granting the stay which ultimately may delay the execution of the Mega projects, it must be remembered that it may seriously impede the execution of the projects of public importance and disables the State and/or its agencies/instrumentalities from discharging the constitutional and legal obligation towards the citizens. Therefore, the High Courts should be extremely careful and circumspect in exercise of its discretion while entertaining such petitions and/or while granting stay in such matters. Even in a case where the High Court is of the prima facie opinion that the decision is as such perverse and/or arbitrary and/or suffers from mala fides and/or favouritism, while entertaining such writ petition and/or pass any appropriate interim order, High Court may put to the writ petitioner's notice that in case the petitioner loses and there is a delay in execution of the project due to such proceedings initiated by him/it, he/they may be saddled with the I damages caused for delay in execution of such projects, which may be due to such frivolous litigations initiated by him/it. With these words of caution and advise, we rest the matter there and leave it to the wisdom of the concerned Court(s), which ultimately may look to the larger public interest and the national interest involved.
Justice Rajnesh Oswal while dismissing the petition further observed that the petitioner on 22.02.2022 wrote to the respondent Nos. 2 to 3 for extending the date for submission of bids by at least three weeks i.e. up to 25.03.2022 so as to enable the petitioner to participate in the tender and in the said e-mail, it has been mentioned by the petitioner that the petitioner needs some more time (pandemic situation due to Omicron) for joint venture formalities and compliance like apostille etc. The petitioner has not denied the said communication which further gives credence to the contention of the respondent Nos.2 to 3 that the petitioner right from the very beginning wanted the extension of time for participation in tendering process.
As such, this Court does not find any illegality, arbitrariness and mala fide on the part of respondent Nos. 2 and 3 in continuing with the tendering process to the exclusion of the petitioner, by not extending the period for making bid. The petitioner cannot be allowed to participate in tendering process by extending the time for making bids because any delay in the completion of project would not be in the public interest particularly in view of the fact that the project was required to be completed in five months. JNF

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