Delhi High Court has held that the tender process can't be recalled just because the highest bidder was not given the tender.
The Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar noted that if the bidder was not found to be technically qualified, his financial bid could not have been looked into at all.
The order has come in a writ petition seeking setting aside of the e-auction process undertaken by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to allocate land for Multilevel Authorised Parking in South Delhi.
On the date of submitting the bid, the Petitioner had informed the Respondent that since his regular staff – which undertakes the task of uploading tender documents was not available due to restrictions of movement during lockdown, he had engaged services of inexperienced persons to upload the set of documents and the documents, as uploaded, were not correct documents.
The Petitioner further claimed that he subsequently submitted the correct documents and asked for the processing of the same. However, he did not receive any communication from the Respondent.
Appearing for the Petitioner, Senior Advocate Kirti Uppal submitted that the conduct of the respondent is mala fide in as much, as, though the technical bids were opened on 28.04.2020, he was communicated rejection of his technical bid only on 12.05.2020, i.e. the day prior to opening of the financial bid on 13.05.2020.
Ms Richa Dhawan, who appeared for the SDMC, argued that offer letters have already been issued to the successful bidders, and three months advance payments have been received from the successful bidders.
Ms Dhawan further submitted that, admittedly, the Petitioner had not uploaded the correct documents and, therefore, the Respondent was justified in rejecting the technical bid of the Petitioner.
It was further argued by Ms Dhawan that once the bidding process is over, it is not open to the Petitioner to seek to interfere with the same by offering higher rates.
While holding that the bidding process in the present matter cannot be interfered with, as the Petitioner did not submit and upload the requisite documents, which he was required to, along with his bid in response to the tender in question.
The court observed that:
'Such like submissions – if accepted, would hit at the very foundation of the bidding process, and would make them susceptible every now and then. The same would erode the sanctity of the bidding process itself, and make it uncertain for the bidders to participate in any bidding process. This would seriously undermine public interest.'
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