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HC disposes off plea challenging contract for widening Katra-Domail road

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JAMMU: Justice Alok Aradhe of J and K High Court today disposed of one more petition of mega project in which TBA Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd seeking quashment of order passed by respondent No. 2, whereby the technical bid of respondent No. 5 in respect of NIT No. 08 of 2015-2016 has been accepted. The petitioner has also prayed for allotment of contract to it in terms of NIT and to prohibit respondent No. 5 from execution of the contract work of widening of Katra-Domail Road.
Justice Alok Aradhe after hearing both the sides observed that from the perusal of clause 4.5.5, it is evident that the applicant should own and should have assured ownership of equipments in a working order and will be available for use in the proposed contract. The Executive Engineer inspected the site to ensure that the equipments, particulars of which were mentioned by respondent No. 5, were in the working condition. The Executive Engineer found that the equipments have been taken on rent by respondent No.5 from one M/s R. A. Engineers and Contractors and have been in possession of respondent No. 5 and are in working condition. Accordingly, recommendation was made to the Chief Engineer by the Executive Engineer. Thereafter, by order dated 19.09.2015, order awarding the contract in favour of respondent No. 5 was issued as respondent No. 5 fulfilled the entire eligibility criteria and was the lowest bidder. Court further observed that the official respondents have taken the rent agreement to be assured ownership of plant and equipments as defined in Clause 4.5.5.
The object of incorporation of clause 4.5.5 is to ensure that contractor must have the requisite plant or equipments so as to ensure timely completion of contract awarded to him. Viewed from this angle the decision of official respondents that respondent No. 5 fulfils the eligibility criteria as laid down in clause 4.5.5 can neither be termed as arbitrary or irrational as owner in context of any processing plant means lessee or other person in possession of such plant (See Advanced Law Lexicon P. Ramanatha Aiyar 3rd Edition) and decision in the case of Ram Deo (Supra).
It is pertinent to note that the petitioner was appraised about the eligibility of respondent No. 5 by communication dated 23.09.2015 and there are no allegations of mala fides against the official respondents.
Court further observed that the decision has been taken by the official respondents bonafide and is in public interest, as admittedly respondent No. 5 is the lowest bidder and difference between the bid of the petitioner and respondent No. 5 is approximately 30 lakhs.
This Court in exercise of extra ordinary discretionary jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India read with Section 103 of the State Constitution is not inclined to interfere with contractral dispute between two tenderers in which no element of public interest is involved. With these observations Court dismissed the petition.

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