Chennai

HC dismisses PIL against Mettur surplus water project tender

Madras High Court in Chennai

Madras High Court in Chennai   | Photo Credit: V. Ganesan

The Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed a public interest litigation petition filed against notification issued by the Public Works Department calling for tenders worth ₹445 crore for diversion of flood surplus water from the Mettur Dam to the dry tanks in the Sarabanga basin in Salem District for lift irrigation.

Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and R. Hemalatha dismissed the PIL petition filed by Arulnambi Engineering Consultants of Mettur though the company was not even interested in participating in the tender process. It claimed that the case had been filed only to ensure the tender rules were followed scrupulously. On the other hand, Advocate General Vijay Narayan contended that all rules had been followed meticulously and that the litigant had placed wrong information before the court. Agreeing with him, the judges said, “The petitioner cannot don the role of an expert adviser or that of a moral police.

“Any Government tender is not an easy process. There are experts in different fields and in this case, the irrigation specialists who are fully qualified and who know the job and the cost estimate for the work have planned on behalf of the Government. Tenders, when they are of high value, have their own inbuilt checks and balances.

“If such petitions are allowed by the court, the administration will come to a stand still. This petition is purely based on an apprehension. It can also be seen as shadow boxing by vested interests who are keen on stalling the tender process.

“Thousands of tenders are floated by various government departments in a year. Public interest litigation cannot be misused as a tool to stall them unless there is a clear case of violation of Article 21 (right to equality) of the Constitution of India. The infirmities pointed out by the petitioner appear to be ill conceived and disruptive,” the judges observed.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 7:13:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/hc-dismisses-pil-against-mettur-surplus-water-project-tender/article30994685.ece

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