On 30th June 2020, Hon’ble Justice Sindhu Sharma heard the case of M/s New J.K. Roadways vs Union Territory of J&K and others, via-video conferencing. The Court dismissed the petition as it lacked merit.
Facts of the case
The I-G of Police, Kashmir Zone and Zonal Police HQR’s Kashmir, Srinagar invited online tenders. They invited reputed transporters, registered firms and associations. This was for the supply of various types of commercial vehicles. Four parties submitted their bids for consideration. Out of the two bidders, M/s New JK Roadways and M/s Associated Contractors did not qualify in the technical bid. While, M/s Quareshi Transport Co. and M/s Galaxy Transport Agencies qualified the technical bid.
Both were thus, considered for allotment of the contract. However, M/s Galaxy Transport Agencies was the lowest bidder. Thus, the contract was allotted to M/s Galaxy Transport Agencies. The petitioner seeks to quash the allotment of the contract to respondent No. 5 – M/s Galaxy Transport Agencies.
He further seeks direction for allotment of the said contract to the petitioner.
Contentions of the Petitioner
The respondent No. 5 did not fulfil the terms and conditions of the trader. The firm did not own the requisite service license to execute the contract. Its license to run Motor Transport service was valid only up to 31.03.2020.
Thus, the respondent No. 5 is not qualified for allotment of the contract. Out of the list of 36 vehicles, only 29 vehicles were in the name of M/s Galaxy Agency, 7 vehicles were in the name of some other persons.
Thus, respondent No. 5 did not own a requisite number of vehicles as per the condition of the contract.
Contentions of the Respondents
According to the tender notice, the bidders should have at least 30 vehicles. All registered in their names. This is the most essential condition. The petitioner did not meet the same.
Hence, the respondents rejected the petitioner’s bid. Having failed to meet the condition, the petitioner can’t assail allotment of contract. The respondent No. 5 qualified the technical bid and allotment of contract.
At the time of submission of tender, respondent No. 5 possessed a valid transportation service license. The last date of validity was 31.03.2020. He sought extension of the validity of the license. But due to COVID-19, a general order was issued. This order extended the validity of documents of service till 30.06.2020. Thus, respondent No.5 fulfilled the condition of holding a valid service license.
Therefore, the respondent fulfilled the condition of having registered at least 30 vehicles. The Court referred to the Supreme Court case of ‘Raunaq International Limited v. I.V.R. Construction Ltd. & Ors. (1999) 1 SCC 492’. In this case, it was held that the Writ Court cannot interfere in commercial transactions where the State is a party.
It can interfere only when there is a substantial public interest involved and where the transaction is malafide. It was sought that respondent No. 5 was the lowest bidder. Thus, the public interest would get imperil if the respondents are not allowed to execute the contract.
It was held that respondent No. 5 had satisfied essential conditions and is eligible for the contract. The petitioner being ineligible, cannot question allotment of the contract to respondent No. 5. There is no merit in the petition. Hence, the Court dismissed the petition.
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