Larsen and Toubro Limited v. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited

Larsen and Toubro Limited v. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
(2014) 2 Kant LJ 522
In the High Court of Karnataka
WP 49507/2013 (GM-RES)
Before Justice A.S. Bopanna
Decided on January 02, 2014

Relevancy of the case: Error committed and delay in the process of uploading documents for procuring tenders through e-mode.

Statutes & Provisions Involved

  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 6, 13)
  • The Constitution of India, 1950 (Article 226)

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • The petitioner is a company which is engaged in engineering, manufacturing and construction. The respondent which is a Government company under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence had issued a tender notice for empanelment of Contractors in respect of the construction of MMRCA facility.
  • The notice was published on 14.03.2012 on the website of the respondent-company. The interested contractors were to respond through e-mode.
  • The procedure for uploading the documents was indicated and the last date for submission of the documents for enabling empanelment was to be made before 23.04.2012.
  • The petitioner contends that they had submitted 79 documents including the required documents for empanelment on the Portal of the respondent between 24.04.2012 and 12.03 hours on 25.04.2012 which according to them is prior to the outer time that was fixed.
  • The petitioner, however, did not receive the acknowledgement for the same. Hence, the petitioner addressed a letter dated 26.04.2012 to the respondent and sought acknowledgement for the same by enclosing thereto the screenshots indicating the uploading of the documents.
  • The petitioner contends that when the documents had left the computer resource of the petitioner and had been uploaded in the computer resource of the respondent, the documents submitted on 25.04.2012 are to be considered as valid and uploaded within the deadline.
  • The petitioner contends that the respondent informed the petitioner that the petitioner had stated the option “IMM” instead of “ALL” while selecting the Department in the user profile at stage no. 1 and the documents submitted as per stage no. 2 got saved in the document library of the respondent’s server and as such, it was not acknowledged.
  • The respondents have issued the tender documents to the others and have excluded the petitioner. Therefore, this petition is filed.

 Opinion of the Bench

  • The notification for empanelment was issued on 14.03.2012 and after the initial exchange of correspondence, the respondents by their letter dated 21.09.2012 had returned the demand draft thereby signalling the rejection of the claim by the petitioner for empanelment.
  • From the said date, the instant petition filed is after 1 year and 1 month which certainly is a long period. Though a letter was addressed thereafter on 06.10.2012, the subsequent letter was only on 18.10.2013 as a prelude to this petition.
  • The initial error committed in the process of uploading the documents and the manner in which the petitioners have sought to agitate their rights shows that they were never vigilant and have not acted as a prudent business concern who were interested in the present tender process.
  • Once they were excluded from the process of empanelment and demand draft was returned, they were certainly aware that the empanelment of other contractors would be completed and tender documents would be issued only to such empanelled contractors.

 Final Decision

  • The petitioners should have acted in haste to approach the Court to seek redress and secure empanelment before the tender documents were issued.
  • Therefore, the petition was dismissed with no order as to costs.

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