Bombay High Court upholds barring of Tata Motors by BEST The bench suggested that the civic transport company issues a fresh tender The Bombay High Court has upheld the decision of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) to disqualify Tata Motors Limited from a tender bid for operating electric buses. The division bench of Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice...
Access the exclusive LEGAL ERAStories,Editorial and Expert Opinion
Bombay High Court upholds barring of Tata Motors by BEST
The bench suggested that the civic transport company issues a fresh tender
The Bombay High Court has upheld the decision of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) to disqualify Tata Motors Limited from a tender bid for operating electric buses.
The division bench of Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice Madhav Jamdar was deciding on a writ petition filed by Tata Motors challenging the decision of BEST.
However, the bench stated, "The petitioner (Tata Motors) was rightly disqualified. (But) the decision of BEST to hold Evey Trans Pvt. Ltd. responsive is (also) incorrect. Evey Trans is also held non-responsive. BEST may, if required, issue a fresh tender."
BEST had issued a tender inviting bid for the operation of State Carriage Services for public transport. The bid was for 1,400 single-deckers AC electric buses in Mumbai and the extended suburbs on a gross cost contract model for 12 years.
In its plea, Tata Motors challenged the decision by BEST declaring the former's bid as 'technically unresponsive' for deviating from tender specifications. It claimed that it had submitted the technical and financial bid for the tender after a pre-bid meeting with BEST. It had requested BEST to modify certain tender specifications, which the latter had done.
But, in the meantime, BEST published the technical suitability evaluation of the tender and wrongly declared Tata Motors' bid as 'technically non-responsive.'
Tata Motors contended that BEST's declaration was arbitrary, as it selectively relaxed the conditions of the tender for another bidder, Evey Trans. It allowed the company interruption in charging time and waiving off the requirements of matching rates for the evaluation of bids.
However, BEST stated that since there was no stay on the process, it had issued Letters of Acceptance to Evey Trans. BEST contended that Tata Motors' reply highlighted that the company's bid (by their admission) contained deviations. It did not fulfil the requirement or the specification of the tender and such bids became 'technically non-responsive' for BEST. Tata Motors consciously chose to submit a technically non-responsive bid.
BEST further said that Tata Motors had deviated from the conditions to the extent that it was going to submit the models after testing them under simulated conditions using the Automotive Industry Standards measure.
However, BEST wanted the buses to have been tested under Actual Operating Conditions. This meant that the number of people being carried, the road conditions, and the traffic, all required testing.
Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi briefed by Karanjawala & Co. and Lexicon Law Partners appeared for Tata Motors.
Senior Advocate Venkatesh Dhond with Advocates Nirav Shah, Anjan Dasgupta, and Jash Shah briefed by DSK Legal, appeared for BEST.
Advocates Somshekhar Sundaresan and Rohan Cama appeared for Evey Trans.