Decided on August 06,2018

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd And 2 Ors Appellant
Mrp Enterprise And 12 Ors, Bijaynagar Respondents


Manojit Bhuyan, J. - (1.) Heard Mr. M.K. Choudhury, learned Senior Counsel, representing the appellant Indian Oil Corporation Limited, assisted by Mr. N. Baruah, Advocate, as well as Mr. D.K. Bagchi, learned counsel representing the respondents.
(2.) This is an intra-Court appeal against the common judgment and order dated 02.03.2017 passed in the WP(C) 7420/2016 and WP(C) 7900/2016 to the limited extent whereby in respect of the definition of similar work in the NIT dated 10.11.2016 the learned Single Judge have held the same to be arbitrary, irrational, without any reasonable basis and having the potential to cater to only a particular class of contractors. The learned Single Judge struck down the definition of similar work on ground that it fell foul with the essence and substance of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. In the present appeal, therefore, we are called upon to address only on the limited issue with regard to the interference made on the definition of similar work , as finding place in the NIT dated 10.11.2016.
(3.) The respondents herein are registered Zonal contractors under the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (in short, IOCL ). They responded to an e-Tender dated 06.05.2016 inviting applications for empanelment of contractors for carrying out Civil/Electrical/Mechanical/Pipe Line works at various Indian Oil Retail Outlets, Consumer Outlets etc. under the Indian Oil Assam Oil Division State Office for a period of 3(three) years. As there was delay in finalizing the empanelment process, due enquiries were made and the respondents were informed that the earlier Tender Notice dated 06.05.2016 was cancelled and a fresh Tender Notice dated 10.11.2016 has been issued in relation to the very same work. In the fresh tender, according to the respondents, alterations have been made by prescribing higher pre-qualification criteria, by reducing the categories of empanelment from the earlier three categories to two as well as in changing the definition of similar work visà-vis the definition occurring in the earlier tender dated 06.05.2016. According to the respondents, such change was introduced to limit the scope of participation to a handful of contractors. WP(C) 7420/2016 came to be instituted, calling in question the tender dated 10.11.2016; the e-mail dated 17.11.2016 whereby the decision taken to cancel the earlier tender dated 06.05.2016 was communicated; the pre-qualification criteria prescribed for Category-I and Category-II in the tender dated 10.11.2016, and for directing the IOCL authority to proceed with the earlier tender dated 06.05.2016. The second writ petition i.e. WP(C) 7900/2016 came to be instituted when in the affidavit of the IOCL in WP(C) 7420/2016, mention was made with regard to a revised policy guidelines issued on 05.08.2016, on the basis of which the fresh tender dated 10.11.2016 was stated to have been issued. The said revised policy guidelines dated 05.08.2016 was accordingly put to challenge in the said second writ petition. On a detailed examination of the facts in issue, WP(C) 7900/2016 was dismissed and WP(C) 7420/2016 was partly allowed by interfering with the definition of similar work finding place in the fresh NIT dated 10.11.2016.;

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