THE INDORE bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court has ordered issuance of special process server (SPS) to an aviation sports company of Karnataka in response to a writ petition that has charged Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE), Mhow, with relaxing mandatory conditions to favour the proprietary firm for purchase of two micro light aircraft.
The SPS was ordered, as none from the company turned up at hearings of the case ever since it was filed in 2003. The aircraft were to be purchased for MCTE’s Army Aero Nodal Centre. The cost of one aircraft is approximately Rs 88 lakh.
The bench of Justice A M Sapre ordered SPS on Wednesday in response to the writ petition filed by M/s Agni Aero Sports Adventure Academy Pvt Ltd through its counsel Vijay Assudani against MCTE, Savan Aero Sports and Union of India through Secretary, Ministry of Defence. Both aviation sport companies are based in Bangalore.
MCTE, an organisation under Ministry of Defence, invited bids for procurement of micro light aircraft in November 2002 in two parts that is, technical bid and commercial bid.
Amending the initial bidding process in February 2003, MCTE stated that intending bidder should have Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) registration and Aircraft System and Testing Establishment (ASTE) certificate for the aircraft it wished to supply.
The other mandatory conditions included furnishing a certificate of engine from its manufacturer and delivery of aircraft to MCTE by March 20, 2003. Both the firms made bids. MCTE management called Agni Aero Sports Adventure director J P Sharma to attend the opening of commercial bid on March 7, 2003, at 11 am.
The petitioner alleged that no bids were opened before him nor were any negotiations held on the designated day. At about 8 pm, he was informed that the negotiations would be held with Savan Aero Sports proprietor Shri Vasan K A since his commercial bid was lowest.
The writ has alleged that Savan Aero, which is a dealer of a foreign company, was the preferred choice of MCTE and was proved from the fact that the tender inquiry was sought from the same company in the previous year for the same tender. It was cancelled only after a financial member of Army headquarters opposed the single vendor/supplier situation.
The petitioner further said that Savan Aero neither has DGCA registration nor certification from ASTE, which is country’s premier organisation to test all the air-borne equipment. Besides, the respondent-company failed to supply the aircraft even after the MCTE deadline.
The petitioner company, therefore, has appealed to court to direct MCTE to accept its tender, as prima facie it makes a very strong case while balance of convenience and equity are in its favour. It has also pleaded that the court should issue directives to MCTE to avoid relaxing mandatory conditions in future to benefit a particular establishment. Advocate Sohan Lal Nagar appeared on behalf of MCTE and Defence Ministry.