Declining to interfere with a global tender process for a Rs.5,900-crore steam generator and auxiliary package for NLC’s new thermal power project, the Madras High Court has said that if courts intervene at each stage, government agencies will not be able to proceed independently.

There should be material before the court that the bidder concerned was fully qualified and that in spite of being eligible, his tender was not considered on extraneous reasons, Justice K.K.Sasidharan observed while dismissing a petition by a New Delhi company seeking to restrain NLC from proceeding further with the bidding process by opening the price bids without considering its clarifications.

The public sector undertaking published a tender on September 25, 2012 calling for bids for steam generator and auxiliary package for its new thermal power project. The technical bids were opened in December last year. Since the scope of the work and technical requirements of the tender were complex in nature, requiring design and integration of multiple and complex components and systems, NLC allowed the petitioner and other bidders to take technological and commercial deviations.

The case of the petitioner, Lanco Infratec Ltd. was that it had complied with all the requirements indicated in NLC’s communications. NLC was bound to invite the company for submitting a revised price bid. Hence, the present plea.

In its counter, NLC disputed the petitioner’s claim and said the petitioner had been delaying the matter under one pretext or the other.

Mr. Justice Sasidharan said the factual matrix clearly showed that the petitioner had been buying time under one pretext or the other.

The correspondence between the parties would prima facie give an impression that the company was not sure whether it would be in a position to supply the boiler as per NLC’s specification. The public sector undertaking time and again extended the deadline to enable the petitioner to answer the query.

The Judge concluded that the petitioner wanted its technical bid to be evaluated after submitting clarifications. The NLC evaluated the bids based on the material available and found that the petitioner failed to comply with technical specifications.

Thereafter, NLC called upon the other two bidders to submit their supplemental/addendum price. Only at that point of time, the petitioner woke up from slumber and filed the writ plea.

Says government agencies won’t be able to proceed independently if courts intervene at each stage