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K.M.A. Caterers v/s Indian Railway Catering & To

    W.P. (C) No. 10562 of 2005

    Decided On, 14 December 2005

    At, High Court of Delhi


    For the Petitioner: D.K. Rustagi, Advocate. For the Respondent: V.K. Makhija, Sr. Advocate with Akshay Makhija, Advocate.

Judgment Text

Markandeya Katju, C.J.

1. The respondents invited bids for catering services in train No. 6501-02, Bangalore-Ahmedabad Express.

2. The petitioner submitted his bid and in the accompanying document, it was stated that the bid was for Rs. 9,50,000/-. However, in words the bid amount was written as Rs. ninety lakhs fifty thousand only. On this basis, the respondents sought to award the contract to the petitioner for Rs. 90,50,000/-.

3. The petitioner went back on the bid amount on the ground that he had committed a human error. The petitioner then filed the present writ petition seeking the award of the contract in his favour on his bid of Rs. 9,50,000/-. It is now stated by learned Counsel for the respondent that the tender has since been cancelled and fresh bids are now being invited. To this extent, the writ petition is infructuous.

4. During the pendency of the writ petition, the respondent sought to blacklist the petitioner for backing out of the bid. The petitioner was issued a show-cause notice dated 23rd June, 2005. By way of an amendment, the show-cause notice was challenged by the petitioner. The application for amendment is allowed.

5. The only question that, therefore, survives is with regard to the proposed blacklisting of the petitioner for not accepting the contract at Rs. 90,50,000/-.

6. It does appear from the record that there is human error that has been committed by the petitioner inasmuch as the reserve price for the contract was Rs. 2.75 lakh and it is unlikely that the petitioner could have given a bid of Rs. 90,50,000/-. Moreover, we are told that the train for which catering services are sought to be provided is only a weekly train.

7. In view of the fact that the error is a human error, and we are all prone to commit such errors, we do not think that it would be appropriate for the respondents to go ahead with the show-cause notice issued to the petitioner. We are now told that the proceedings have culminated in an order dated 26th August, 2005 which, it is stated by learned Counsel for the respondent, has not yet been implemented.

8. In the special circumstances of the case, we set aside the

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show-cause notice dated 23rd June, 2005 and the order dated 26th August, 2005. 9. The result is that the petitioner will be entitled to bid at the fresh tender as and when it is called. 10. The writ petition stands disposed of.