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Bombay High Court Imposes Rs. 5 Lakh Cost On Adani Port In Challenge To Disqualification In JNPA Tender

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
27 Jun 2022 1:13 PM GMT
Bombay High Court Imposes Rs. 5 Lakh Cost On Adani Port In Challenge To Disqualification In JNPA Tender
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The Bombay High Court on Monday dismissed Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited's petition challenging its disqualification in the tender for upgradation of the container terminal in Navi Mumbai by the Board of Trustees of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA).

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik said the plea was "non-meritorious" and imposed costs of Rs. 5 lakh, payable to JNPA.
Since Adani Ports SEZ has already deposited Rs. 4.25 lakh with JNPA, the bench directed the company to Court deposit the remaining Rs. 75,000.
It also refused to grant status quo so that Adani can approach the Supreme Court. The court had reserved it order on June 21 on a petition filed by the multi-location port developer and operator.
Adani termed JNPA's disqualification as "illegal and in violation of fundamental and legal rights." It sought directions to restrain the Board from declaring highest bidder or from signing a concession agreement with any other bidder pending hearing of the plea.
Adani sought directions to be allowed to participate in the Request For Proposals (RFP) stage of the tender process after a stay on the operation and implementation of the letter.
Earlier, the Board had issued a tender, a global invitation of Request For Qualification (RFQ) for application to upgrade, operate, maintain and transfer the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal, through a public private partnership (PPP) for a concession period of 30 years.
Before the High Court, JNPA opposed the plea seeking it's dismissal on the grounds that the court did not have the expertise to examine "terms and conditions of present day economic activities of the state." Therefore it could not intervene.
"The project involves financial implication and investment of over Rs 827 crore. If the tender is delayed, operations at JN Port container terminal will come to a complete halt, and the port productivity, berth productivity and service to the trade will also get affected,
" it said.
JNPA represented by Senior Advocate Venkatesh Dhond claimed that even if the court finds complete arbitrariness, it can direct the aggrieved party to claim damages. But it must not intervene to stay the contract.
Case Title: Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited Versus The Board of Trustees of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority and Ors.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 235


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