Writ Court Should Refrain From Interfering in Expert Evaluation of Tender Unless Arbitrariness Alleged: SC

Recently, the Supreme Court observed that expert evaluation of a particular tender, especially a technical evaluation, should not be second-guessed by a writ court unless malafide intention or arbitrariness on the part of tendering authority is alleged.

Background of the Case:-

The Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir Zone, Srinagar had invited online tenders from reputed transporters, associations/registered firms for supply of different types of commercial vehicles for the carriage of equipment and troops for Financial Year (2020-2021).

In this regard, M/s New J.K. Roadways, Fleet Owners and Transport Contractors and Galaxy Transport Agencies, Contractors, Traders, Transports and Suppliers submitted their tenders.

According to the Tender Opening Committee, JK Roadways did not have the requirement to qualify for the technical bid.

Accordingly, Galaxy Transport Agency was awarded the contract.

The said allotment was challenged before the J&K High Court, but a Single Bench dismissed the same. 

However, a Division Bench ruled that the tendering authority wrongly disqualified the JK Roadways.

Observations of the Supreme Court:-

The order was challenged before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, where a three-judge Bench comprising Hon’ble Justice RF Nariman, Hon’ble Justice Navin Sinha and Hon’ble Justice KM Joseph observed that the authority which authored the tender was the Judge of its requirement and its interpretation should not be guessed by a Court.

To support their observation, the Court relied on Afcons Infrastructure Ltd. v. Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, Jagdish Mandal v. State of Orissa, Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. v. AMR Dev Prabha and other judgements.

Writ Court Should Refrain From Interfering in Expert Evaluation of Tender Unless Arbitrariness Alleged

The Court held that Condition No.27 of N.I.T which prescribes a work experience of five years of an amount not less than two crores, in Tender Opening Committee’s opinion was not met by the appellant and as per the well-settled law unless it is alleged that the tendering authority had any malafide intention, its technical evaluation cannot be second-guessed by a Court.

Accordingly, the Appeal was allowed.

Case Details:-

Title: M/s Galaxy Transport Agencies vs New JK Roadways

Case No.:SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 12766 OF 2020)

Date of Order: 18.12.2020

Coram: Hon’ble Justice RF Nariman, Hon’ble Justice Navin Sinha and Hon’ble Justice KM Joseph

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