Court stalls Himachal government from awarding school uniform tender to Ambala firm

Shimla: For midway changing terms of a tender inviting school uniforms for government schools, the High Court yesterday intervened and restrained HP State Civil Supplies Corp (HPSCSC) for awarding the contract to an Ambala company.

In response to a petition by Excel Marketing Corp, Shimla and Surya Industries Mehatpur, Una, the first court of the High Court consisting of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice DC Chaudhary stayed awarding the contract to Gupta Textile Trading Co, Ambala in case it did not have a turnover of Rs 50 crore for the three preceding years which was part of terms and conditions originally advertised for the short term tender notice.

The tender notice was put out by director elementary education for supply of 1854410 sets of school uniforms in the print media.

However, three days before the tender was to be opened on March 19, the terms of tenderers were changed by HPSCSC by simply putting out a corrigendum on its website.

While the Ambala Company did not meet the Rs 50 Cr 3 year turnover condition but it bid was declared successful, the petition alleged.

The court observed that the original tender notice was published in the print media also, but corrigendum was issued only on the website.

The court said that it appears that HPSCSC has taken turnover as that of the mills, manufacturers, companies and not the authorized distributors, while, prima facie, the court was of the view that this turnover should apply to the individual tenderers.

While restraining HPSCSC, the court did allow the government to initiate the process afresh, if so advised, by giving equal opportunity to all the intending tenderers.

Posting the matter for April 16, the court directed principal secretary, food & civil supplies, director elementary education and MD of HPSCSC to file replies.

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