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The Supreme Court said on Tuesday ordinarily courts would not interfere with the tendering process if the scrutiny of tenders has been conducted in a “bonafide manner”. The top court’s observation came while dismissing an interim plea of real estate and construction firm Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Private Ltd. against grant of tender to another firm for setting up waste water treatment facilities in Mumbai.

The Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) group company alleged the firm that was awarded the tender to set up sewage treatment plants by the municipal body, was ineligible on various counts.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices Hima Kohli and J B Pardiwala took note of the submissions of the counsel for the municipal corporation that there was no truth in the allegation of “malafide” in the award of contract for setting up STPs.

“The technical bids were scrutinised in a bonafide manner,” the bench said while dismissing the plea of the SP group firm against the award of the tender.

“Ordinarily, the courts will not interfere in such matters when the tenders are granted in a bonafide manner,” the bench said.

The Mumbai municipal body had awarded contracts for wastewater treatment facilities at seven locations– Versova, Bhandup, Ghatkopar, Dharavi, Worli, Bandra and Malad.

Letters of acceptance were issued between May 27 and 31, 2022 after the tendering process was completed, the municipal body had said in its status report filed in the top court on July 15.

Earlier, the Mumbai civic body had approached the top court against an order of the National Green Tribunal directing the Municipal Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai to appear in person with his response and a compliance status in respect of the directions issued on October 14, 2020.

The NGT had issued several directions including setting up the STPs.

The process to set up STPs started thereafter when the top court also observed “the Municipal Corporation must, in our view, make every effort to comply with the directions of the NGT by setting up the required facilities and upgrading existing facilities.”

“Humanity can ill afford the luxury of using water bodies as dumping grounds of municipal waste. It is absolutely no valid answer to say that the directions which have been issued by the NGT would pose budgetary implications for the Municipal Corporation, particularly when the report of the expert committee indicates quite to the contrary.

“The discharge of untreated sewage and waste from Mumbai is a matter of serious concern and needs to be attended to with the highest priority. The protection of the environment is a matter of universal concern,” the top court had said.


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