B.R. Sarangi, J. -
(1.) Impugning unilateral cancellation of tender order no. 3232 dated 28.11.2019 and agreement dated 10.02.2020 by the Treasury Officer, District Treasury, Bargarh-opposite party no.3, vide letter dated 04.08.2020, the petitioner, a partnership firm, has approached this Court by way of this writ petition.
(2.) The factual matrix of the case, in hand, is that the Joint Director, Directorate of Treasuries and Inspection, Odisha, Bhubaneswar, vide letter dated 29.01.2019, directed the Treasury Officers of different districts to fill up vacant posts of peon in their Treasuries/Sub-Treasuries on outsourcing basis by following the provisions contained in Delegation of Financial Power Rules, 1978. Accordingly, Deputy Director, Directorate of Treasuries & Inspection Odisha, Bhubaneswar, vide letter no. 11890 dated 23.09.2019, instructed opposite party no.3 to call for tender on the recruitment of outsourced employees, as per Finance Department letter no. 37323/F dated 30.11.2018. Pursuant to such letter dated 23.09.2019, opposite party no.3, by issuing office order no. 3525 dated 28.11.2019, invited sealed quotations from eligible agencies/farms having valid EPF Code, ESI in their name issued by RPFC, Odisha Circle, Service Tax registration Certificate, ESI Registration Certificate and Labour License issued by the competent authority for providing man power for WCS and Peons to work in Bargarh Treasury and Sub-Treasury under Bargarh.
2.1 The petitioner, having satisfied the eligibility criteria, submitted its tender documents. For finalization of tender process, a six-member committee was constituted including Chairman, Convener and four members. The committee evaluated the technical bids of the aspired participants in the meeting dated 27.12.2019 and out of 21 numbers of quotations, shortlisted 12 participants, including the petitioner. The list of such successful bidders in the technical bid was carried out for consideration of their financial bids. The committee in its meeting held on 13.01.2020, after evaluation of financial bids, shortlisted the petitioner as L1 bidder and accordingly decided to award contract in its favour. Pursuant to such decision of the committee, on 07.02.2020 letter of intent was issued to the petitioner to assign the work of engagement of peons and watchman-cum-sweepers at the District Treasury Office and Sub-Treasury Offices at the quoted rate i.e. Rs.7748/- only and it was called upon to execute the agreement with stamp paper of Rs.100/- on or before 14.02.2020. On issuance of letter of intent dated 07.02.2020, the petitioner was issued with an work order on 10.02.2020 and agreement was also executed on the very same day between the Treasury Officer, Bargarh as the first party on one part and the petitioner as the second party on the other part for the period of one year to provide three numbers of peon and six numbers of watchmancum-sweeper to the District Treasury, Bargarh and SubTreasuries located under the jurisdiction of District Treasury, Bargarh. After execution of agreement, the petitioner was directed to submit the performance security deposit amounting to Rs.93,690/- in favour of District Treasury Office, Bargarh towards one month salary of its outsourcing employees, which the petitioner complied by way of fixed deposit on 28.02.2020.
2.2 After following the procedure, engagement of 9 outsourced peons and watchman-cum-sweeper was undertaken. The said fact was also intimated by the Treasury Office, Bargarh to opposite party no.2, vide letter dated 29.02.2020. Pursuant to such engagement, nine outsourced persons rendered their services for the months of March, April, May, June and July, 2020. In lieu of services provided by the personnel, the petitioner also raised the bills for each month on completion of each calendar month for the period from March, 2020 to July, 2020, but the said bills were not sanctioned, though the same were neither disputed nor denied by the opposite party authorities. Therefore, the petitioner pursued the authority to release the running bills, which are pending for last five months. But all on a sudden, the petitioner was issued with letter no. 1705 dated 04.08.2020, wherein it was intimated that the tender order no. 3525 dated 28.11.2019 and agreement dated 10.02.2020 with the petitioner for engagement of nine numbers of outsourced worker to work in District Treasury, Bargarh and SubTreasuries under it stood cancelled w.e.f. 04.08.2020 and on the very next day i..e on 05.08.2020 the petitioner was intimated that opposite party no.3 has moved opposite party no.2, vide letter no. 1421 dated 05.08.2020, for placement of Rs.4,49,636,84 towards pending bill for the months from March, 2020 to July, 2020.
(3.) Mr. Asok Mohanty, learned Senior Counsel appearing along with Mr. S. Mohanty, learned counsel for the petitioner argued with vehemence and contended that cancellation of contract by impugned order dated 04.08.2020 under Annexure-12 cannot sustain in the eye of law, in view of the fact that opportunity of hearing was not given to the petitioner and, thereby, there was noncompliance of principles of natural justice and, as such, no reasons have been assigned in the order impugned. It is further contended that there was no violation of any of the terms and conditions of the agreement on the part of the petitioner, as envisaged under clauses-14, 18 and 19 and, as such, nothing has been referred to in the order of cancellation, thereby, the same cannot sustain in the eye of law. It is further contended that the terms and conditions, as enumerated in the agreement dated 10.02.2020, are the basis which governs and guides both the parties to act specifically in a particular manner. Clause-26 of the agreement specifically stipulates that payment has to be made on monthly basis and even though the petitioner submitted its bill since last five months, the same has not been paid and, as such, the authority is sitting tight over the matter. It is further contended that this Court has jurisdiction to entertain this writ petition due to violation of principles of natural justice as well as fundamental rights of the petitioner, particularly when the action taken by the authority is in gross violation of Articles 14, 19 (1)(g) of the Constitution of India.;