Bombay HC seeks BEST reply in challenge by bidder over ouster from e-bus tender – ET Auto

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Bombay HC seeks BEST reply in challenge by bidder over

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Bombay HC seeks BEST reply in challenge by bidder over ouster from e-bus tender
MUMBAI:
Bombay high court on Tuesday gave BEST a week to file its reply to a petition filed by a bidder challenging its disqualification in the recent tender for 1,400 electric buses for Mumbai.

Senior counsel Venkatesh Dhond appeared for BEST and opposed the petition, pointing out that the tender has already been awarded.

BrihanMumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking for Mumbai had February issued the tender. JBM Eco Life Mobility Pvt Ltd is one of the bidders who challenged its May 6 ouster for being ‘technically non-responsive.’

The bidder’s senior counsel Darius Khambata with advocate Aniesh Jadhav said the challenge is to BEST’s May 6 tender summary report.

Arguing before a bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice MS Karnik, Khambata submitted that BEST’s conduct is in complete breach of its own tender conditions as the Tender provides disqualification only if the Bidder itself has been debarred.

He said in the present case the bidder was not disqualified as at the relevant time it was its group company that had received a debarment letter from the Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI).

Afterward, the Delhi high court directed that authorities should not reject the petitioner’s bids on the basis of the MHI letter. He also said that once the petitioner’s financial bid was opened, BEST was bound to give the bidder an opportunity to match the Lowest Price as per the tender.

Meanwhile, a similar petition filed by Tata Motors before the HC was heard at length and reserved for orders on June 9.

JBM, a global conglomerate, in its petition says the BEST in its May 6 Tender Summary Report has a note appended to it that “reveals that this purported rejection was purely in view of the letter dated 25th April 2022” from the union barring the company and other JBM Group entities from participating in future tenders of the Ministry…”

The company cited a June 1 order,of the Delhi HC which directed that authorities considering its bid will not reject it on basis of the MHI letter.

At present, around 250 buses are operating between Uttarakhand and Delhi. Out of these, 50, including 22 Volvo buses, fulfill the BS-VI norms. According to the department, tenders were floated recently to buy 141 buses and the process is likely to be complete before October 1.

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