A full bench of the Bombay high court held, on Friday, that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) need not invite competitive bids for appointment of a reputed firm to carry out quality audit of road repair and construction work.
The full bench comprising Chief Justice Mohit Shah, justice Ranjit More and justice Amjad Sayed held that the civic body could appoint any reputed company that enjoys the trust and confidence of the corporation.
A division bench of justice Sharad Bobde and justice RD Dhanuka had referred a PIL, filed by BMC standing committee member, Niaz Ahmed Vanu, challenging the appointment of SGS India Private Limited as road quality auditor for the works done in the last financial year.
Vanu had challenged the appointment on grounds that though section 72 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act, 1881 mandates the civic chief to invite competitive bids for every works contract involving expenditure of Rs50,000 or above, no bids were invited before appointing SGS India despite exceeding the limit.
In support of his contentions, Vanu relied on a judgement of the high court delivered in 2006 in which it had been held that contracts exceeding Rs50,000 are liable to be awarded only by floating tenders. SGS India and BMC, on the other hand, contended that quality audit of road works is a work of fiduciary in nature and therefore can be allotted only to an entity which enjoys trust and confidence of the corporation.