The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner to appoint a senior officer to give a hearing to Roadway Solutions India Infra Limited (RSIIL), whose contract for concretising South Mumbai roads was terminated last November.
The court directs to complete the hearing by January 31
A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Kamal Khata also directed to complete the hearing and decide on the matter by January 31, and meanwhile continued the stay on the firm’s termination. The court has asked the senior civic officer to hear the reply filed by RSIIL on the termination notice issued to it and also on the show cause notice as to why a nearly ₹52 crore penalty cannot be imposed on it for not complying with the contract terms.
The bench noted that although the corporation, while issuing notice, had called for a hearing, however, no such hearing was given. The same is “unacceptable”, the bench said.
The court granted an interim stay on the BMC’s operations
The HC, while hearing RSIIL’s plea challenging the termination notice, had granted an interim stay on its operation and proceeded further with the BMC’s fresh tender issued on December 4, 2023, observing that there was “no emergency” in the concretisation work.
BMC counsel Ranjit Thorat informed the HC that the corporation had cancelled the said tender.
BMC issued a fresh tender
The BMC had issued the tender for ₹1033.11 crore for concretisation of 297 roads in the city. The work was to be completed in 24 months, minus the monsoon season. The civic body has awarded contracts for the concretisation of 397 roads to five firms totalling over Rs 6000 crore.
The contract was awarded to RSIIL on January 4, 2023, but the same was terminated on November 9, stating that the contractor has not commenced the work even after 8-10 months of awarding the contract. RSIIL had challenged this before the HC, which, on November 30, restrained the BMC from taking any coercive action against the firm.
The judges took note of the fact that on November 2, the BMC had conceded to RSIIL’s request to hear its reply on the termination notice and had asked the contractor to attend the hearing the next day. The firm’s director could not attend as he was busy before the GST authority and sought adjournment to November 8 or 9. However, the same was rejected and the termination notice was issued on November 9. The termination notice proposed certain consequences, including forfeiture of contract deposit of over ₹30 crore and other costs, taking the total penalty to the tune of nearly ₹52 crore. The HC has disposed of RSIIL’s plea.