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Jharkhand High Court dismisses PIL challenging order barring the petitioner from future tenders for two years


The Jharkhand High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed challenging the order issued by the Respondents barring the Petitioner from participating in future tenders for a period of two years.

By filing the PIL , the petitioner has prayed for the following reliefs: –

a) For the issuance of an appropriate writ declaring that the order, contained in the letter dated 09.11.2021 (signed by the Respondent on 06.11.2021) issued by the Respondents debarring the Petitioner from participating in future tenders for a period of two years, is illegal, arbitrary and void ab initio since the same has been passed without any specific show cause notice or adequate opportunity of hearing to the petitioner for debarment of the Petitioner.

b) For the issuance of an appropriate writ or writ in the nature of Certiorari for quashing the order, contained in the letter dated 09.11.2021 (signed by the Respondent on 06.11.2021) issued by the Respondents debarring the Petitioner from participating in future tenders for a period of two years from the date of issue of the said Order, in as much as the said drastic adverse order has been passed illegally against the Petitioner inter alia without giving any specific prior show cause notice to the Petitioner and also without providing adequate opportunity of hearing to the Petitioner before passing the said order and also in as much as the said order is in violation of the well settled law which was also confirmed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Raghunath Thakur v. State of Bihar & Ors. reported in (1989) 1 SCC 229.

c) For the issuance of an appropriate writ or writ in the nature of Certiorari for quashing the order, contained in the letter dated 10.11.2021 issued by the respondents illegally terminating the contract dated 26.07.2021 entered with the petitioner, in as much as the same was passed in violation of the principles of natural justice, without considering the replies of the Petitioner and without giving any reasons.

d) For the issuance of an appropriate writ or writ in the nature of Certiorari for quashing the order, contained in the letter dated 03.11.2021 issued by the respondents illegally terminating the contract dated 26.07.2021 entered with the petitioner, in as much as the same was passed mechanically, arbitrarily, in violation of the principles of natural justice and without considering the replies of the Petitioner.

e) For the issuance of an appropriate writ or a writ in the nature of Mandamus directing the Respondents to allow the Petitioner to participate in all tenders issued by the Respondents and also allow the Petitioner to continue business with the Respondents without any unlawful restrictions;

f) For the issuance of an interim relief that during the pendency of the instant petition the operation, implementation and effect of the order contained in the letter dated 09.11.2021 issued by the Respondent No.3 (The Chief Engineer & HOP, Durgapur Steel Thermal Power Station) debarring the Petitioner from participating in future tenders may remain stayed.

It is brought to the notice of the Court that the petitioner challenges both the termination of contract as well as the blacklisting. It is borne out from the record that the petitioner was issued notices on two occasions (18.08.2021 and 28.08.2021) that he has failed to submit the bank guarantee and he has also not filed the labour license.

The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that such non-submission of bank guarantee as per the work order reference no. 1 and labour license would not make it ineligible to carry out the contract, rather the payment shall not be made to him.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjaya Kumar Mishra and Justice Ananda Sen was not in agreement with the submissions made by the counsel for the petitioner in the sense that the bank guarantee for performance contract is an essential condition of the bid document and violation of that will entail cancellation of the work order in favour of the petitioner. As far as the non-compliance of the principles of natural justice is concerned, the High Court is of the opinion that even today, the counsel for the petitioner would not be able to satisfy the High Court as to the cause that could have been shown by the petitioner in case a notice to show cause when issued against him for debarment/blacklisting. “Notice of show cause before issuance of such debarment order would have been an useless formality, as in our considered opinion, the petitioner has no cause to show.”

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