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Tender Matters: In tender matters the judicial review by Courts is confined to decision-making process only; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice R. Subhash Reddy

It was held by the SC that while considering the scope of judicial review, in matters relating to Government contracts-tenders, the State’s decision/action must be in consonance of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. The scope is confined to examine only the decision-making process and not the merits of the decision itself. It is specifically held that courts cannot sit as appellate court while exercising power of review in matters relating to contracts and tenders.

It was further held while considering the scope of judicial review, in matters relating to power of contracts,  exercise of power of judicial review is called for, if the approach is arbitrary or mala fide or procedure adopted is meant to favour someone.

It was held that power conferred on SC, under Article 136 of the Constitution of India, is the corrective jurisdiction to settle the law. Further, it is held by the SC {M/S N Ramachandra Reddy v. The State of Telangana & Ors } that when the learned Single Judge of the High Court has found that the process of re-verification done by the Chief Engineer, on the dispute in question, is fair and acceptable for arriving at a decision,  the Division Bench has erroneously set aside such order, only on the ground that the report is called for from the Superintending Engineer, Karimnagar, who is not the concerned Engineer, as per the procedure. It was held by the SC that in absence of any prescribed procedure to deal with complaints, it was fair on the part of the Chief Engineer, in calling a report from the independent authority, other than the jurisdictional officers. As the issue does not relate to strict construction of territorial jurisdiction, it is always open for the decision-making authority, to have a report from the independent authority, to arrive at the just decision.

The SC, while setting aside the judgment of the DB of the HC, held that unless Appellate Bench concludes that findings of the learned Single Judge are perverse, it shall not disturb the same. The judgment of the Single Judge dismissing the Writ Petition was reinstated by the SC.

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