Madras High Court upholds State-level tender for procuring 60 lakh eggs

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The Madras High Court has upheld the State-level tender notification of February last year for procuring 60 lakh eggs per day for the Nutritious Meal Programme and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme.

In the light of the ratio laid down by the Supreme Court in various decisions and coupled with appreciation of facts, it could not be said the conditions in the impugned tender were arbitrary and tailor-made to suit the needs of any particular individual to enable him to get the contract, said a Division Bench of Justices N. Paul Vasanthakumar and M. Sathyanarayanan in its judgment.

The appeals by Three Star Poultry Farm, Namakkal, and others, and a writ petition pertained to floating of tender for procurement of ‘Agmark’ quality eggs under the Puratchi Thalaivar MGR Nutritious Meal Programme and the ICDS Scheme for one year from May 1 last and awarding the contract to some private suppliers.

The notification had been issued based on a G.O. of October 17, 2012, re-introducing the State-level tender system for egg procurement. The appeals were filed against a single judge’s order in March last year dismissing writ petitions which challenged the G.O.’s legality and the tender notification.

The appellants submitted that there was no justification for the State government to change the procurement system from district-wise to State-level. The change would only encourage monopoly. No tenable reasons had been given.

Additional Advocate-General P.H. Arvindh Pandian submitted that the G.O. contained the reasons for resorting to the State-wide tender. Before passing the order, officials held consultations and deliberations and considered the requirement of a huge quantity of eggs to be supplied on time, with an emphasis on quality. The conditions in the notification were in tune with the object of the G.O.

The Bench said that in the G.O., the pros and cons of floating a State-level tender had been analysed and discussed in detail. It could not be said the G.O. had been passed with an oblique motive to favour somebody. Allegation of mala fide should be strictly proved, and in the present case, it was not so.

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