Bullet train project: Company, Government not permitted to deviate from terms of agreement, says SC

Bullet train project: Company, Government not permitted to deviate from terms of agreement, says SC

The Supreme Court ruled that Company and Government are not permitted to deviate from the terms of agreement. 

Background 

That the NHSRCL issued a tender notice calling for bids in relation “to the Bid Package No. MAHSR-8 for the Design and Construction of Civil and Building Works for the Depot on Design Build Lump Sum Price Basis for Double Line High Speed Railway involving works for Site Formation, Abutment, Retaining Walls, Roadbed for track, Box Culvert, Roads, Cable Duct, Foundations of OHE Masts, Piping, Drainage, Water Supply, Water Harvesting, Fire Fighting, Land-scraping, Boundary Wall, General Inspection Train Shed, Maintenance Depot and other Associated Works at Sabarmati between MAHSR Km. 507.599 and MAHSR Km. 509.726 in the State of Gujarat for the Project of Construction of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail.

Arguments 

Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General appearing on behalf of the appellant NHSRCL, contended that the present matter pertains to the tender floated for works in Package C8, which is a part of various other packages being finalized for the implementation of Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail popularly known as Bullet Train Project.

Advocate Desai, appearing on behalf of the respondent that the main contention on behalf of the appellant is that the project being funded by JICA and the same being a foreign funded project, the decisions taken in this regard must not be a subject matter of judicial review.

Decision 

The division bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice A.S. Bopanna expressed few words of caution to the High Courts that while entertaining the writ petitions challenging the tender process midway and/or while interfering with the tender process in the contracts, more particularly, with respect to the contracts/projects funded by the foreign countries and with respect to the Mega project one has to appreciate that funds of such Mega projects by the foreign country is followed by a detailed discussion between the Prime Ministers of both the countries and to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the rail sector. 

The court stated that while entertaining the writ petition and/or granting the stay which ultimately may delay the execution of the Mega projects, it must be remembered that it may seriously impede the execution of the projects of public importance and disables the State and/or its agencies/instrumentalities from discharging the constitutional and legal obligation towards the citizens. 

Case title: National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited v/s Montecarlo Limited & Anr.

Citation: CIVIL APPEAL NO. 6466 OF 2021

Click here to read the Order/Judgment

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