Read Judgment: Union of India V. Bharat Fritz Werner Limited & Another

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, February 18, 2022: While hearing a claim with regard to the wrongful evaluation of the bids and discrimination meted out to some of the bidders, the Supreme Court has opined that the High Courts shall refrain from making sweeping observations which are beyond the contours of the controversy and/or issues before them. 

A Division Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V Nagarathna therefore observed that on the basis of a solitary case, general observations could not have been made by the High Court that the Indian bidders are being discriminated against.

Going by the background of the case, Bharat Fritz Werner (First respondent) filed a petition before the Delhi High Court assailing the Letter of Acceptance issued by the Union of India in favour of Second respondent, in respect of the award of tender. Observing that substantial time has elapsed since the award of the tender in favour of Second respondent, the High Court declined to interfere in the proceedings reserving liberty in favour of First respondent to raise all its pleas and claim the reliefs available to him at this stage in appropriate civil proceedings. Hence, present appeal by Union of India. 

After considering the submissions, the Top Court noted that when the High Court was neither deciding a Public Interest Litigation, nor even deciding the writ petition on merits, then general observations should have been avoided by the High Court and the High Court ought to have restricted itself to the controversy between the parties before it.

The Top Court also expunged the remarks that Indian bidders are being discriminated against.

Accordingly, the Apex Court quashed the orders passed by the High Court whereby it had accepted the grievance of Respondent bidders considering the fact that the Government of India is laying emphasis on the aspect of “Make in India” (Atma-Nirbharta).

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