Read Order: M/S S H KHAN AND CO & ORS v. GOVERNMENT OF NCT OF DELHI& ANR 

LE Correspondent

New Delhi, June 13, 2022: The Delhi High Court has opined that the work under the NITs issued for operation, management and maintenance of Jan Suvidha Complexes, requires certain level of financial and other resources and assessment of the same is not to be interfered by this Court under writ jurisdiction unless it is found adverse to public interest.

The Division Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri and Justice Poonam A.Bamba said, “…it is well-settled that Courts are not meant to vet tender conditions and rewrite the same based on their own understanding, unless the conditions are manifestly arbitrary or smack of mala fide. 

In this case, the petitioners-M/s S.H. Khan & Co.& Ors. are Societies registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and the petitioner-ALERT DÉCOR, is a Firm engaged in providing security and sanitisation services including in the NCT of Delhi. NITs were invited for operation, management and maintenance of Jan Suvidha Complexes.

It was contended from the petitioner’s side that the eligibility and turnover criteria as enumerated in the aforesaid NITs are arbitrary, irrational and violative of Articles 12, 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. It was submitted that the respondents had arbitrarily decided to not permit consortium/joint venture of agencies to participate in the tenders, which had narrowed down the competition as well as resulted in elimination of small players like the petitioners to the benefit of the bigger players, resulting into monopoly upon a limited class of persons. 

The Bench opined that the work under the impugned tenders had been consolidated under 2 NITs as opposed to24 NITs issued for earlier projects and the scope of the work had become bigger as well as specific. It was also held by the Bench that the respondent had good reason for exclusion of consortiums/joint venture of agencies from participation and the impugned conditions in the NITs were neither arbitrary nor actuated by mala fide. 

Saying that the tenders in question were for operation, management and maintenance of JSCs, i.e. common toilet facilities, in JJ clusters/slum bastis in Delhi, the Bench opined that the project by its nature is for the welfare of the people. Also, the Bench held that the scope of work had increased and the respondents had stated that it would be more efficient for the authorities to collaborate with single players/agencies instead of multiple members in a consortium/joint venture.Thus, the petitions were dismissed.

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