HC asks TN govt not to act arbitrarily in tender matters

The judge made this observation on allowing two petitions filed by two private companies seeking a direction to quash a tender process initiated by the State to procure palmolein oil pouches from the petitioners.
HC asks TN govt not to act arbitrarily in tender matters
Madras High Court

CHENNAI: Citing the directions of the Apex Court, the Madras High Court on Wednesday held that the act of the Tamil Nadu government is required to be bonafide and not arbitrary in the tender matters. Justice G R Swaminathan made this observation after noting the failure of the government in opening an e-tender for procuring RBD palmolein oil pouches on a stipulated date as per the Tamil Nadu Transparencies in Tenders Act, 1991.

The petitioner companies submitted that the e-tender should be opened at 11.30 am on April 24 but the TNCSC opened the tender on April 28. “Meanwhile, Indonesia, the major supplier of palmolein oil, banned the export of palmolein oil on April 27 due to the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine that made them incapable of supplying the product, ” the petitioners submitted.

The judge held that even while playing the role of a landlord or a tenant, the State and its authorities remain so and cannot be heard or seen causing displeasure or discomfort to Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The judge made this observation on allowing two petitions filed by two private companies seeking a direction to quash a tender process initiated by the State to procure palmolein oil pouches from the petitioners.

“Indonesia is a major supplier of Palmolein and therefore the ban order imposed by the said exporter itself has momentous consequences on the market. This is clearly a supervening event. This had taken place before the opening of the tenders. It would be unjust to require them to stand by their offer, leading me to the conclusion that the petitioners have clearly made out a case for a grant of relief. Accordingly, the impugned tender process is quashed and both the writ petitions are allowed, ” the judge ruled.

The judge held that the conduct of the respondents was thus not in consonance with Section 8 and Rule 21 of the Tamil Nadu aforesaid statutory provision read with the relevant tender clause Transparency in Tenders Act, 1991.

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