P&H HC | No substantive issue raised when parties at consensus to resolve the matter with the competent authority

Punjab and Haryana High Court: A Division Bench of Krishna Murari, C.J and Arun Palli, J. disposed of the writ petition after the consensus was drawn between the parties to present the case in front of the competent authorities.

A writ in the nature of mandamus was sought for commanding the respondent to restraint from awarding the tender/contract whose bid had been accepted.

Brief facts of the case were that FCI invited E-tenders for Handling and Transport Contractor for a period of 2 Years. The grievance was that the respondent submitted his bid as a small enterprise so as to avail the benefit admissible to Micro & Small Enterprises but it does not fulfill the requisite terms prescribed to be eligible in the said category. Thus, the FCI was restrained from awarding the work order to the respondent and resorted to an ad hoc arrangement of the movement of the food grains.

D.S. Patwalia and Kannan Malik, Counsels for the petitioner submitted that parties shall report to the competent authority and abide by the date and time indicated by the counsel.

J.S. Puri, Counsel for the respondent submitted that as time was the essence of the situation the parties should be directed to approach the Food Corporation of India.

The Court opined that as a consensus had emerged between the parties as only a period of 6 months remains out of initial period of 2 years for which contract to be awarded and it would rather be expedient if the FCI re-initiates the process, confining to the petitioner and respondent, with downward bidding from the lowest bid submitted by respondent. It was further submitted that it shall be open to the FCI to award the contract for a period of 6 months or for a longer period, as it may choose and decide.

The Court thus held that as the parties have drawn the consensus and nothing substantive remains, the petition was disposed of with the said terms to the parties. It was further added that the Court has not opined with the eligibility of the respondent to bid and thus the same was open to being adjudicated in appropriate proceedings if any.[Ambay Transport Co. v. FCI, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1267, decided on 17-07-2019]

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