BEST had issued the tender under an incentive scheme of the Union government’s Department of Heavy Industries (DHI).
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday quashed a BEST notice terminating a contract with a private company for 40 electric buses and has pulled up the civic transport and electricity provider for acting “high-handedly and arbitrarily.”
A bench of acting Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice G. S. Kulkarni was hearing a petition filed by Olectra Greentec, a Hyderabad-based firm, challenging an August 30 notice issued by Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking (BEST) terminating its contract to supply 40 electric buses.
According to the petition, in February this year, the company was awarded a contract by BEST to supply 20 air conditioned and 20 non-air-conditioned electric buses. By June, the petitioner had manufactured 24 electric buses. According to counsel Milind Sathe and Karan Bhosale, appearing for the company, BEST terminated the tender claiming that there had been a change in policy regarding ownership of the buses.
BEST had issued the tender under an incentive scheme of the Union government’s Department of Heavy Industries (DHI). However, the Union government then informed BEST about its decision to have the buses under joint ownership of the concerned state transport authority (in this case BEST) and the company which was awarded the tender. The petitioner, by its letter dated May 31, 2018, confirmed its acceptance on jointly owning the electric buses.
The bench noted that despite this letter issued by the company, and another communication sent to BEST stating that 24 buses were ready to be delivered, the BEST did not bother to respond or clarify its stand and instead went ahead and terminated the contract.
It added that fresh tenders were issued on August 31, a day after the contract awarded to the petitioner was terminated.
The court, in its judgement passed Tuesday, said the BEST’s decision terminating the contract was “ex-facie arbitrary and illegal”.