Decided on June 15,2005

Waidhan Engineering And Industries Pvt Ltd Appellant
Chhattisgarh State Electricity Respondents


- (1.) BY this petition under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India, petitioner has prayed to issue a writ of certiorari quashing the decision of respondent No. 1 Board for retendering the work of conveyor belt joining, replacement of belts, rubber lagging on conveyor pulleys, longitudinal jointing of belts and spot patch repairing and other conveyor work (by cold vulcanizing process) in respect of Korba West and East Thermal Power Stations of CSEB (henceforth "the impugned work") for a period of three years and for issuance of writ of mandamus commanding respondents 1 and 2 to consider the offer/ price bid and to award the impugned work to the petitioner.
(2.) IT is averted in the petition that the petitioner M/s. Waidhan Engineering and Industries Private Limited is a Private Limited Company which is engaged in the work of conveyor belt joining, replacement of belt, rubber lagging etc., and is undertaking such activities in Power Plants of M/s. National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd. Korba; Sakti Nagar, Vindhya Nagar, Rihand Nagar, ATPS Anapara (UP); Northern Coalfields Limited, Singrauli and also in some other big organizations as also in Bhilai Steel Plant, Bhilai. Respondent No. 1 is a State Electricity Board constituted in the State of Chhattisgarh under the provisions of Electricity Supply Act and engaged in the generation and supply of electricity in the State of Chhattisgarh. Respondent No.2 is the Superintendent Engineer of respondent No.1. Respondent No.1 floated notice inviting tender dated 08-09-2003 inviting sealed tenders from experienced contractors against tender specification dated 08-09-2003 to award the impugned work and due date for submission of the tender was 14-10-2003. Petitioner in order to participate in the tender, made application for grant of tender documents and deposited Rs. 1,000/-. Petitioner obtained tender forms after satisfying the requirements of qualifying conditions. Clause 3 of the tender conditions provides for submission of bids on the tender/bids in three parts i.e., Part 1, Earnest Money Deposit, Part 2 Techno Commercial bid arid Part 3 Price bid. Petitioner succeeded clearing Part 1 and 2, therefore, the date of opening of part III was notified to the petitioner by fax message intimating that price bid of the said tender shall be opened on 20-02-2004 and on 20-02-2004 the price bid was opened in presence of representatives of the petitioner as well as respondent No.3. The total contract amount as per the price bid quoted by respondent No.3 is Rs. 224.13 lacs whereas the total contract amount, as per price bid of the petitioner was Rs. 181.83 lacs. Respondent No.2 prepared a comparative chart on the basis of lowest price and recommended the petitioner's offer for acceptance to respondent No.1/Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board. Respondent No. 1 who is the competent authority to take a decision to award the contract to a suitable tenderer without assigning any reason for not accepting the lowest bid returned that proposal with a direction to re- tender the impugned work. Although the right to refuse the lowest or any other tender is always available to the competent authority, but the principle laid down in Article 14 of the Constitution of India, cannot be ignored and the power cannot be exercised arbitrarily, despite that respondent No. 1/Board directed for re-tendering without considering the fact that by re-tendering, the public exchequer would suffer a loss of Rs. 42 lacs. It appears that respondent No.3 is presently executing the similar kind of work with respondent No. 1 and respondent No. 1 wanted to award the said contract to respondent No.3, but looking to the suitability of the petitioner and the difference in price to favour respondent No.3 directed for re-tender of the impugned work.
(3.) RESPONDENTS No.1 and 2 raised preliminary objection regarding tenability of the petition and also stated that though the petitioner's price bid was opened but on close scrutiny by the highest decision making authority al the Apex level it was found that the petitioner does not possess requisite experience as per the pre-qualification requirement and also not submitted proof of having undertaken work of conveyor belt joining, replacement of belt, rubber lagging etc., by cold vulcanizing process whereas the notice inviting tender was for the work of conveyor belt joining, replacement of belt, rubber lagging etc., by cold vulcanizing process and not by hot vulcanizing process, as also from the list/details furnished by the petitioner during last three years in respect of scope of work specified in the instant tender is for Rs. 63,41,996/- only against desired pre-qualifying requirement of worth Rs. 1.50 crores. On the scrutiny of the copy of letter of intent for rate contract on item rate basis for reconditioning/repair of belts with M/s. Northern Coalfields Limited, vide their order dated 22-01-2003 submitted by the petitioner it was found that the order placed by M/s. Northern Coalfields Limited for various works is for repairing/re-conditioning of steel cord belts with through cut, repairing of damaged nylon conveyor belt by hot vulcanizing with through cut etc., which involves hot processing whereas the disputed tender was called for the work of conveyor belt joining, replacement of belt, rubber lagging on pulleys, patching, longitudinal joining etc., by cold vulcanizing process. On the aforesaid facts, it was found that the petitioner was not eligible for participating in the instant case as such the offer of the petitioner was liable for rejection.;

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