In the case of TATA Motors Ltd. v. The Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking appeals TATA Motors Limited has filed. EVEY Trans Pvt. Ltd. is contesting the High Court of Bombay’s ruling. For the supply, operation, and maintenance of 1400 single-decker AC electric buses with drivers for use in public transportation within the city of Mumbai as well as other civil infrastructure development at the BEST depots for 12 years, Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking floated a tender. TATA Motors petitioned the High Court after being incensed by BEST’s technical suitability examination that rejected its offer. While the aforementioned writ petition was still pending, BEST awarded the tender to EVEY with a letter of acceptance dated 20-05-2022.
As a result of TATA Motors’ failure to meet the technical requirements of the Tender, the High Court affirmed TATA Motors’ disqualification and rejected their request to be included as an eligible bidder in the aforesaid ruling. As a result, the High Court deemed EVEY to be a losing bidder as well. As a result, all three parties filed their petitions with the Court together with the present appeal, feeling vindicated by the aforementioned Order of the High Court.
- Whether the High Court was appropriate in doing additional research after upholding TATA Motors’ exclusion from the tender
- whether EVEY was also rejected and BEST had the option to launch a new procurement process?
Contention from parties
On April 25, 2022, TATA Motors submitted its bid, guaranteeing an operating range of 200 kilometres with an 80% state of charge; however, the same result was obtained under standard test circumstances in accordance with AIS 040. This was a departure from the requirements of the tender.
EVEY said that when it submitted its offer on May 2, 2022, it did so in accordance with all of the requirements of the solicitation, including the requirement for a minimum operational range of 200 kilometres on a single charge.
Supreme Court Decision
Dr DY. Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice J.B. Pardiwala made up the three-judge panel of the supreme court that overturned TATA Motors’ appeal while allowing those brought by EVEY and Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking. The Court overturned the portion of the High Court’s ruling and order that stated that courts shouldn’t scrutinize tenders with a magnifying glass to make even the smallest errors seem significant. When it comes to contracts, the government and public sector organizations must be given “fair play in the joints” by the courts.
The High Court could have been a little more cautious and deliberate in its decision to overturn BEST’s action, according to the Court. The Court ruled that because the previous Annexure was erroneous due to a clerical error, the BEST did not make a mistake and cannot be accused of favouritism for allowing EVEY to submit a fresh one. Therefore, this exercise alone was insufficient to deem EVEY’s overall proposal to be illegitimate or illegal. The decision of BEST to accept the tender of EVEY was thus overturned, and BEST was given the option to conduct a new tender process. As a result, the Court set aside that portion of the impugned judgement and order passed by the High Court. Additionally, the appeals made by EVEY and BEST were accepted but TATA Motors’ appeal was denied.