Court quashes PDD’s re-tendering notice

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Aug 16: Giving the public importance of the project and its supposed beneficial impact on the supply of electricity to the consumers, the High Court has quashed a re-tendering notice by Power Development Department for project management services under R-APDRP for 19 towns of the Kashmir Province and directed the respondents to take the decision in the matter within a month.
Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey while quashing the notice directed the respondents are expected to take a decision in the matter within the shortest possible time, preferably within a month from today.
The Bench also quashed a show cause notice for department of a ‘firm Feedback Infra Private Ltd.’ while allowing a petition filed by the firm.
The Power Development Department had invited tender on 26.03.2013 for Project Management services for Design, Engineering, Bid Process Management, Construction, Erection / Supervision, Inspection, Testing and Monitoring and overall Contract Administration of R-APDRP Part-B work including Handholding of the Project from concept to commissioning up to final execution and acceptance for 19 towns of the Kashmir Province.
Subsequently, the firm participated in the tendering process and was declared as the lowest bidder. The respondents also entered into negotiations with the firm for reducing the price rates offered by it. The firm later submitted the revised reduced offer on 04.07.2013.
However, subsequently, acting on a complaint that the firm had violated Clause VII (f) of the eligibility criteria of the NIT, the PDD on 05.09.2013 decided to re-tender the work. Consequently, the PDD issued a fresh notice, inviting tenders.
And also issued Show Cause Notice for Department seeking an explanation from it to explain as to why the firm or agency be not debarred and why its EMD be not forfeited for concealing information (about the alleged blacklisting order passed by the Public Works Department of Chhattisgarh) and violating the clause VII (f) of eligibility criteria. The firm challenged the decisions taken by the PDD on 05.09.2013, inviting the fresh tender notice as also the Show Cause Notice of Department.
Counsel for the firm, senior advocate Muzaffar Hussain Beigh pleaded that the actions and decisions of the PDD to reject the petitioner’s tender after it had been declared to be the lowest bidder are in violation of the principles of natural justice.
After hearing both the sides, the Bench allowed the petition, directing the PDD to proceed ahead with consideration of allotment of the contract/ works in question from the stage the firm, pursuant to the negotiations held with him by the PDD on 04.07.2013, submitted its revised offer.
“The act of issuance of the Show Cause Notice tantamount to putting the cart before the horse and asking the corpse of a hanged person why it should not be sent to the gallows.” said the court.
The court further said that this fact by itself goes to the very root of the matter and radiates ‘glaring arbitrariness’ in the decisions of the respondents rendering the show cause notice a mere lip service to mandatory requirements of equal clauses enshrined in the Constitution.

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