Observing that there was no emergency in concretising city roads, the Bombay High Court on Friday restrained the BMC from proceeding further with the fresh tender issued on December 4 for concretisation of 300 roads worth Rs 1,362.34 crore in the island city.
A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata granted an interim stay till January 9, 2024, on operation and implementation of the fresh tender issued by the BMC while hearing a plea by Roadway Solutions India Infra Limited (RSIIL), the contractor who was terminated from carrying out the same road concretisation work due to alleged delay in implementing the project.
The high court has clarified that if any digging or trenching work is done and if any barricades around such pits/trenches have been removed, the BMC must put up protective bollards/barriers for the sake of public safety so that there is no untoward incident or accident. However, it added that the petitioner firm was put to notice that a future order may require them to bear the costs of such protective works.
Contract awarded to RSIIL in January
The BMC had awarded the contract to RSIIL on January 4 this year. But the same was terminated on November 9 stating that the contractor has not commenced the work even after 8-10 months of awarding the contract.
RSIIL had challenged this before the high court, which on November 30, restrained the BMC from taking any coercive, curative or further punitive action against the contractor. At the time, the high court had refused to restrain the BMC from issuing fresh tender.
The BMC hence issued a fresh tender on December 4, against which the RSIIL once again approached the high court. The high court said that on one hand, the termination notice had been stayed and on the other hand the BMC insisted on proceeding with the fresh tender.
'Not a matter of emergency'
“We see no urgency whatsoever on the part of the MCGM. Concretising roads in the city is not a matter of emergency. Curiously, one of the principal reasons for the impugned termination is an alleged delay on the part of the Petitioners of several months in commencing the work of concretising. If this be so, we see no reason why the MCGM should take peremptory action of rushing to a fresh tender,” the court added.
It further noted, “This might result in a completely intractable situation if, for any reason and after hearing the matter and considering merits, the Petition ultimately succeeds, because that would inevitably require the cancellation of any fresh tender.”
From every perspective, it is therefore better that the BMC “stays hands in regard to the fresh tender until the petitioners have had an opportunity to put in a rejoinder and the matter is heard fully on merits”, the court said.
The high court has kept the matter for hearing on January 9.