Srinagar: Bashing “favouritism” and “arbitrariness” of the authorities, the J&K High Court on Saturday quashed the contract awarded to M/S Galaxy Transport Agencies for providing vehicles for the security forces in the current year, 2020-2021.
The court set aside a single-bench judgement dated 30 June, 2020, and directed the Inspector General of Police Kashmir range to invite fresh tenders and complete the process within one month.
A bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar recorded that public authorities while discharging public duty have to act in a transparent manner and their actions must be just, fair and free from arbitrariness as well as favouritism.
The court while allowing the appeal of M/S JK Roadways noted that the respondent no.5 (M/S Galaxy Transport Agencies) doesn’t have the requisite experience of five years in supply of vehicles which was an essential condition set out by the Government.
The court said, “If the decision of the Tender Committee is silent on vital aspects, such decision, in our view, undoubtedly, would be arbitrary, unjust and no amount of explanation on behalf of the authority can legitimise such decision which does not show proper application of mind by the Tender Committee, as required in view of the essential conditions of the tender notice.”
In the instant case the court noted that no explanation, much less a plausible explanation, has been given by the official respondents regarding overlooking of the lack of experience of respondent No.5.
“For the foregoing reasons, the impugned judgment passed by the Single Judge cannot be sustained and the same is, accordingly, set aside. Consequently, the appeal is allowed and the order, whereby the contract relating to supply of vehicles for the year 2020-2021 has been awarded in favour of respondent No.5, is quashed,” court directed.
The court also directed official respondents to invite fresh tenders and complete the process within a period of one month from the date of this order.
Earlier, on 18 February, 2020, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, invited online tenders (e-tenders) from reputed transporters, registered firms/Associations for supply of various types of commercial vehicles (without fuel) for carriage of troops and equipments etc. for the financial year 2020-21.
In response to aforesaid tender notice, four parties, namely, M/S Associated Contractors, Qureshi Transport Company, M/S New JK Roadways and M/S Galaxy Transport Agencies, submitted their bids for consideration by uploading the same through e-tendering system.
The tendering Committee constituted for evaluation of tenders met on 11 March and found that the appellant herein and M/S Associated Contractors did not qualify in the technical bid. The bids of remaining two bidders, namely, M/S Qureshi Transport Co. and M/S Galaxy Transport Agencies (respondent No.5 herein) qualified the technical bids and their financial bids were considered.
The appellant M/S JK Roadways aggrieved of the government decision moved to court with a plea which was dismissed by order dated 30 June, 2020 but appealed against the said judgement which was set aside by the bench.