Filed against Tirunelveli Corporation's notification

The Madras High Court Bench here on Friday dismissed a batch of five writ petitions filed by civil contractors against a notification issued by the Tirunelveli Corporation on November 2 extending the last date for submitting tenders for road laying contracts up to November 4.

Justice M. Jaichandren said that the petitioners failed to prove, through sufficient evidence, that the extension notification was issued with a mala fide intention.

There were also no materials to prove that the extension was arbitrary and contrary to the Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tenders Act.

“On a careful perusal of the original records placed before this Court by the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondents, it is clear that there were sufficient grounds to issue the impugned notification… As such, the writ petitions are devoid of merits and therefore they are liable to be dismissed,” the judge said.

The petitioners, M. Kumar, T. Balsubramanian, M. Sindhu, S. Aruldhasan and N. Balasubramanian said that they were First Class contractors registered with the Superintending Engineer, National Highways, Tirunelveli. They were eligible to participate in State-level tenders for contracts worth Rs.75 lakh and above.

The Municipal Administration Department had issued a notification on October 14 inviting tenders for laying cement roads and metal roads, using paver machines, under the Special Road Scheme 2010 and 2011 for 139 Municipalities and nine Corporations across the State.

As per the notification, the tenders should be submitted before 3 pm on November 1 and technical bids would be opened within half-an-hour thereafter.

Accordingly, the petitioners submitted their bids on time.

But the Tirunelveli Corporation extended the date for submission of bids at the last moment and hence the writ petitions. On the other hand, the Corporation counsel said the last date was extended based on complaints that some intending bidders could not participate in the tender process.

He pointed out that Rule 18 (5) framed under the Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tenders Act empowers the tender inviting authority to extend the last date.