High Court (India)

April 16, 2019

Cost of Rs 1.5 lakh imposed on CPWD for arbitrary rejection of bid to build Prime Ministers Museum


A cost of Rs 1.5 lakh has been imposed on the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) by the Delhi High Court for the department’s unjustified rejection of a bid to construct a Prime Ministers museum in the capital.

It has held that though a tendering authority has “substantial leeway” while interpreting the eligibility criteria in a tender, the Court’s interference is “certainly warranted” when such interpretation is manifestly perverse or arbitrary. It has added that the nature of relief in such cases would be determined by the “public interest” test. A Division Bench of Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Prateek Jain passed the judgment in a writ petition by Flying Elephant Studio, a Bangalore-based architecture firm, which concerns a ‘Notice Inviting Tender’ issued by the CPWD for a Prime Ministers museum in the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library premises at Teen Murti Bhawan in New Delhi.

The petitioner’s bid for the museum was rejected by the CPWD on grounds that the petitioner’s previous projects did not fall under the category of buildings enumerated in the definition of ‘Similar Comprehensive Consultancy Work’ contained in the tender notice.

It was further asserted by the CPWD that the petitioner failed to participate in the pre-bid meeting and obtain any clarifications with respect to the eligibility requirements.

On its part, the petitioner claimed it had fulfilled all eligibility criteria set out in the Initial Eligibility Criteria provided by the CPWD in the tender notice.

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