EXECUTIVE ENGINEER I G Vs. C RAGHAVA REDDY
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
EXECUTIVE ENGINEER, IRRIGATION CIRCLE NO.3, NIZAMABAD
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Sivaraman Nair, J. -
(1.)Respondents in Writ PetitionNo.9614/1987 which was allowed by judgment Hated 3-12-1987 are the appellants before us. The learned single judge directed the present 2nd appellant (2nd respondent in the Writ Petition) not to with hold the amounts payable to the petitioner for the works executed under the agreements other than agreement No. 10/83. The correctness of that decision is under challenge. It is necessary to refer to a brief resume of facts to understand the controversy involved in this appeal. We will refer to parties as they appeared in the Writ Petition.
(2.)Petitioner is a Works Contractor. He has entered into agreement No.10/83. with the 1st respondent on 5-9-1983 for construction of Masonry Blocks 7 to 14 of Singoor Reservoir project scheme. The Andhra Pradesh Detailed standard specifications formed part of the contract between parties and fells for consideration. The total worth of the contract was Rs.1,21,59,459/-. That amount was arrived at by aggregating the quantity of work multiplied by the accepted rates for each item of work. The period within which the contract was to be completed was eighteen months. A time table-cum-schedule of work was built into the terms of the contract. There was a delay of over two months before the petitioner commenced work on 24-11-83. He ought to have completed the works by 23-5-1985; but there was short-fall in performance according to the programme fixed by mutual agreement between parties. By April, 1985 only 30% of the work was completed, eventhough it ought to have been near about 100%. Clause 71 of the Andhra Pradesh Standard Specifications which is relevant for the purpose of the present appeal is in the following terms:
"71. Recovery of money from Contractor in certain cases: In every case in which provision is made for recovery of money from the contractor, Government shall be entitled to retain or deduct the amount thereof from any money that may be due or may become due to the contractor under these presents and/or under any other extract or contracts or any other account whatsoever."
(3.)Number of letters were exchanged between parties. Petitioner pleaded for extension of time claiming circumstances beyond his control for the delay, whereas the respondents maintained that the delay was deliberate and due to defaults on the part of the contractor. We are not concerned with the details of that correspondence, except that the petitioner had requested for extension of time for four months, but he was granted such time specifically only upto 30-6-1985. Though the contract was not immediately terminated by either side, work seems to have progressed only at a snail's pace. Petitioner requested for enhanced rates in his communication dated 26-12-1985. He also intimated that unless higher rates were sanctioned, he would with draw from the contract from 4-1-1986. On 29-12-1985, he seems to have abandoned the contract and left the site. On 4-1-1986 a formal letter determining the contract was issued. In the meantime, petitioner was informed that part of the work yet to be completed was being withdrawn. The actual measurements of the works which were withdrawn were duly intimated. Inastill later communication after withdrawing yet other items of work, petitioner was required to witness the final measurements. He deputed an agent of his who witnessed the measurements and endorsed the final measurements. On 25-3-86, the 1st respondent requested his counter-part to withhold the amounts due to the petitioner, apparently in terms of Clause 71 of the A.P. Standard Specifications, which we have extracted above. That was done after assessing the amounts due from the petitioner as Rs. 21,89,300/- with reference to the final measurements.
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