Decided on November 02,2020

M/S. Swan Desilting Private Limited Appellant
Metal Scrap Trade Corporation Limited Respondents


S.K.MISHRA,J. - (1.) By filing this writ application, the petitioner-Company has prayed to quash the Email dated 4th February, 2020 sent at 06.18. P.M. by the opposite party no.1 to the petitioner-Company intimating the petitionerCompany that as the petitioner-Company had uploaded the documents and attached the file with library folder instead of attaching the same with a specific mineral block(s), the same would not be considered for evaluation of the Technical Bid. The petitioner- Company has further prayed to issue writ in the nature of mandamus directing the opposite party nos.1 and 3 to allow the petitioner-Company to take part in the second stage of e-tender scheduled to be held on 5th February, 2020 and to direct the opposite party nos.1 and 3 to withhold the declaration of result pending final hearing and order of the writ application.
(2.) This matter was taken up for hearing on 06.02.2020. As all the opposite parties appeared, the matter was taken up for hearing on the question of maintainability and merit at the same time.
(3.) Mr. S.S. Das, learned Senior Advocate appearing for the petitioner-Company relying upon different Annexures and affidavits filed in Court on that date i.e. on 06.02.2020 submitted that the petitionerCompany had successfully submitted online Technical Bid in all respects which obviously includes the "attachment of all the documents as required under Law/ Bid documents and further the same had been duly acknowledged, following which an email dated 02.01.2020, at 10.47 P.M. (Annexure-4 (Colly)) was received by the petitioner-Company from the opposite party no.1 in acknowledgement of the submission of the Bid. It was further submitted that the said email acknowledgement specifically states that the submission of the bid was for Jiling- Langalota Iron Ore Block. The email correspondences further clear that the acknowledgement in the system is valid, only if the petitioner does not withdraw or delete its bid, which the petitioner never did. Therefore, the above acknowledgement makes the Stage-I complete in all aspects, as the Tender Document under Annexure-1 at page 81 envisages that upon successful submission of initial price offer, the Bidder shall receive a bid acknowledgement from the system automatically, which, therefore, establishes that all the three phases of Stage-I was complete in all aspects. At page 161 under Annexure-4 (Colly), the petitioner-Company had uploaded the required documents viz. (i) Bid letter, (ii) Bank Guarantee and (iii) Power of Attorney, Affidavit, Board Resolution, which are as per Annexures-I, II, III and IV respectively. Following the Stage-I of Technical-cum-Initial Price Offer, the final bid was successfully submitted on 2nd June, 2020 at 10.48.15 P.M. This aspect gets reflected at page 162 under Annexure-5 as the petitioner never bid for any other mine, and the document under Annexure-5 further made it abundantly clear that the bid was only for Jiling- Langalota Iron Ore Block, which is in consonance with the Tender Document under Annexure1 at page 55, which says that a bidder shall submit only one bid for a particular Mineral Block. It was further submitted that Annexure-5 makes it abundantly clear that the petitioner has submitted its Technical Bid, Initial Price Offer and the bid status reflected as "Bid submitted". The said document further left an option with the petitioner-Company to either withdraw bid or delete bid, as reflected in the electronic acknowledgement receipt at page 160, received from the opposite party no.1. Since the petitioner-Company never chose to withdraw bid/ delete bid, the Technical Bid remained valid. Relying upon a decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Om Prakash Sharma vrs.- Ramesh Chand Prashar and Ors., (2016) AIR SC 2570, learned counsel for the petitioner-Company submitted that as the petitioner-Company has received such an acknowledgement, the only presumption that can be drawn that it has successfully submitted its Technical Bid, thereby qualifying the petitionerCompany to be a "Technically Qualified Bidder" for the second round of eauction and, therefore, the petitioner-Company could not have been left out halfway of the bid process, especially when it has satisfactory complied with all the requirements. It was further submitted that the above stand gets further fortified by the fact that the petitioner-Company never received any communication from the opposite party nos.1 and 3 showing any deficiency in the documents from the date of submission of bid i.e. 02.01.2020 till 03.02.2020 to cure any defect.;

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