Not in public interest to set at naught tendering process when contract is underway: HC

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Srinagar, May 31: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has held that when the contract is well underway, it would not be in public interest to set at naught the entire tender process at the stage.

Dismissing a plea related to the allotment of a contract, a bench of Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal said the writ courts must refrain from interfering in contractual matters involving technical issues that lie outside the domain of courts.

The bench observed that courts being a guardian of fundamental rights are duty bound to interfere when there is a clear-cut case of arbitrariness or mala fides or bias or irrationality being perpetuated.

“However, especially in case involving tenders, Courts must recognise their limited technical expertise and must not use a magnifying glass while scanning the tenders and make every small mistake appear like a big blunder,” it said.

Therefore, in matters concerning contracts, the bench said, the courts must give fair play in the joints to the government.

“Another aspect which must be borne in mind before judicial interference is done in matters concerning tenders is the financial implication on the public exchequer that the State may have to meet with if the Court directs a fresh tender notice,” the court said. “To say the least, it would not be in public interest to set at naught the entire tender process at the stage when the contract is well underway”.

The court made the observations while dismissing a petition challenging Chief Engineer, PW (R&B) Department Jammu’s corrigendum regarding tendering process for allotment of the contract works for Construction of road from Batangian to Ghai Katha via Jamia Maid Dhanidhar Tehsil Surankote Poonch , Construction of road from Kanl Narooni to Nagalgali and Construction of road from Hafeez Morh Pamrote to Lower Sangla Via HSS Gunthal Surankote Poonch.

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