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Madras High Court Refuses To Stall State Decision To Supply 40,000 Tonnes Of Rice To Sri Lanka Amid Economic Crisis

Upasana Sajeev
13 May 2022 4:32 AM GMT
Madras High Court Refuses To Stay Government Decision To Procure 40,000 Tonnes Of Rice To Be Supplied To Srilanka

The Madras High Court on Thursday refused to stay the Government's decision for procuring 40,000 tonnes of rice to be supplied to Srilankan nationals in view of the current economic crisis prevalent in the country.

The bench of Justice G.R Swaminathan and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy was hearing a PIL filed by one A. Jaisankar seeking to quash the present government order for procuring the rice at an exorbitant amount and further to direct the respondent to procure the rice from the fifth and sixth respondents (Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Food Corporation of India respectively). The petitioner also sought a vigilance enquiry into the current decision of the government to acquire rice at an exorbitant price. The petitioner had also sought an interim stay on the operation of the government decision pending disposal of the writ petition.

The petitioner was challenging the government order issued by the Co-Operation, Food and Consumer Protection (B1) Department dated 09/05/2022 granting financial sanction for the purchase of rice. The petitioner contented that the proposal based on which the order was issued was without following the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tenders Act, 1998. The total cost for the purchase of 40,000 Metric Tonnes of rice arrives at Rs.134 Crore.

The petitioner submitted that no attempt was made to procure the rice at a subsidized rate from the fifth and sixth respondents and the decision was taken in a hasty manner. The petitioner also stated that the way in which the respondents have acted raised lot of suspicion from various stake holders over the persons responsible to take such decision.

"The Government order is issued only based on the proposal of the 4th respondent dated 05/05/2022 and there was no whisper about the other modalities discussed for procuring the rice and no justifiable cause either discussed or expressed while the decision making process. There was no reasoning given for to dispense with the provisions under the Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tenders Act except to say that urgency involved to purchase rice and there is no detailed discussion how for it will cause delay in procuring the rice."

He further stated that the price of rice per quintal (100 kg) was Rs.2000 in Open Market Sales Scheme for the year 2022. Thus, if the respondents had opted for this scheme, the total expenditure would have been only 80 crores as opposed to the present 134 crores.

Case Title: A Jaisankar v. The State of Tamilnadu and others
Case No: W.P No 12680 of 2022

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