Bombay HC sets aside BEST's tender awarded to Evey Trans: 'Decision does not depict fair play, issue fresh tender if required'

A division bench of Justices SV Gangapurwala and Madhav Jamdar, had on Tuesday dismissed Tata Motors’ petition challenging the BEST’s decision

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, July 06, 2022, 06:44 PM IST
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Bombay HC sets aside BEST's tender awarded to Evey Trans |

While upholding the decision of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) of disqualifying Tata Motors’ bid for operating electric buses, the Bombay High Court has set aside its (BEST’s) decision of accepting Evey Trans Private Limited’s tender observing that it “does not depict fair play”.

A division bench of Justices SV Gangapurwala and Madhav Jamdar, had on Tuesday dismissed Tata Motors’ petition challenging the BEST’s decision. In the same judgment, the HC held that the bid of Evey Trans Pvt Ltd “responsive” by the BEST, was “incorrect and suggested BEST to issue fresh tender “if required”.

“The Courts upon coming to the conclusion that the decision making process was not fair, same lacked fair play in action and arbitrary, will have to step in,” said HC while setting aside BEST’s decision of acceptance of Evey’s tender.

“Respondent No.1 (BEST), if it so desires, may proceed with a fresh tender process,” said HC.

In a detailed 33-page judgment, which was made available on Wednesday, the HC has said that the facts “does not depict fair play in action”. “The facts create doubt about whether the decision was a fair one or was the decision reached fairly? The same does not appear to be so in view of the facts discussed above while accepting the bid of Respondent No.2 (Evey Trans) as responsive,” said the HC.

The BEST had opened the technical bids on May 4. Evey had made modifications to its bid on May 6, two days after opening of the bids. It was then awarded the tender, on May 6 itself, two after submission of the modification letter.

The HC took note that one of the clauses of the BEST’s tender “specifically and categorically prohibits additions / corrections / submission of documents after opening of technical bid”. After opening of the bods, the BEST could not have “entertained” such a letter, said HC.

The BEST had claimed that the modification letter “did not influence its decision to hold its (Evey’s) bid responsive”.

Not agreeing with this argument, the HC said: “The same is not borne-out from the facts and circumstances of the case.”

“We are aware that the principle of equity and natural justice stay at a distance and no judicial interference is warranted in case of an error in assessment. However, the same holds good, if the decision is bona fide. We are also aware that interference of the Court would lead to some delay,” observed the court.

For accepting Evey’s bid, 90 days’ time is provided to it for getting the prototype vehicle. “The said period is not over. It is not even one month, the Respondent No.2’s tender is accepted,” said the court adding that it will have to step in after noting that the decision making process was not fair.

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