LE Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 20, 2021: Dismissing an appeal filed by an RTI activist seeking action against a contractor and officials of a municipal body for shoddy civic work, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that “bald assertions and allegations” cannot be made the basis for passing directions by the court.

Challenging a single bench order, the petitioner — an RTI activist — said that on the basis of information obtained by him under the transparency law, he asserted before the Court in the writ petition about the fraud having been played by a contractor in connivance with officials of the Municipal Committee, Kalayat.

He claimed that low grade material was used for carrying out the work assigned to the contractor, and that the residents of the area had complained against him. Allegations have also been made that the contractor, who was allotted the work, did not fulfil the requisite criteria laid down for a tenderer to be eligible for consideration. 

Forged and fabricated documents were appended relating to the experience of the contractor. Payment was also made to the contractor without following the norms in connivance with the officials of the Municipal Committee, the petitioner claimed.

Hearing the matter, the bench of Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Ashok Kumar Verma stated that it is not in dispute that the matter with regard to the eligibility of the contractor, who had been allotted the contract as well as the execution of the work in pursuance to the allotted tender, would be a purely contractual obligation and governed by the terms and conditions thereof.

The bench, however, said that the appellant has no connection or concern with the same as at the time when the work was allotted to the contractor, no objection whatsoever was raised by the appellant. 

“Now what has been sought to be projected is the substandard quality of the products which have been used in execution of the work which was allotted. No order of any competent authority or report of any laboratory has been placed on record to show the substandard use of material,” the bench said.

“As regards the allegations of fraud and connivance of the officials of the Municipal Committee are concerned, again there is no evidence to that effect. In the absence of these aspects, interference by this Court while exercising its extraordinary writ jurisdiction is uncalled for,” the HC said. 

It further said, “Bald assertions and allegations cannot be made the basis for passing directions which may be prayed for by a person who has approached this Court. In view of the above, the present appeal being devoid of merit stands dismissed.”

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