Apex court’s crucial decision on Mumbai-Ahmedabad Rail project

NHSRCL has completed 33% of land acquisition in Maharashtra for MAHSR Corridor
Image Source: NHSRCL

NEW DELHI (Metro Rail News): The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that no company, including the Republic of India, may be allowed to violate any of the agreements’ terms and conditions, including the loan deed for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad rail project.

The Supreme Court overturned the Delhi High Court’s decision in favour of Montecarlo Limited, whose technical bid for many works related to the Bullet train project was rejected by an expert committee appointed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna were dealing with the question whether in the facts and circumstances of the case and concerning such a foreign-funded project, the High Court was justified in “interfering with the tender process in the absence of any specific allegations of mala fides and/or favouritism.”

The Supreme court released an 82-page judgement stating, “it is to be noted that under the contractual obligation, it was not open for the appellant – corporation and/or even the Republic of India to deviate from any of the terms and conditions of the loan agreement and/or the decision of JICC/JICA. Therefore, in the absence of any allegation of mala fides/arbitrariness and/or favouritism, we are of the opinion that the High Court has committed a grave error in interfering with a conscious decision taken by the JICC/JICA, which has been followed by the appellant.
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The bench accepted the appeal of the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), which is accountable for the Bullet train project, with Justice Shah saying that the 2021 high court ruling was “clearly unsustainable and the same deserves to be quashed.”

It said, “It cannot be disputed that the Bullet Train Project is a very important National project. However, the Bullet Train Project is a fully foreign-funded project, which was envisaged when the Japanese and Indian governments entered into a Memorandum of Understanding, pursuant to which it was agreed that the said project would be fully funded by a Concessional Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan of Rs.1 lakh crores by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.”

The communications of April 27 and 28, 2021 has been quashed,  in which the private firm was informed that its technical Bid had been rejected on the grounds that it was non-responsive. NHSRCL is a government company formed under the Companies Act of 2013, with equity participation from the Governments of India, the Government of Gujarat, and the Government of Maharashtra. It was formed to fund, build, maintain, and operate the planned bullet train project.

On October 22, 2020, the NHSRCL issued a tender notice seeking bids for ” 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 the 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.”

The NHSRCL opened the Technical Bids filed by several bidders, including Montecarlo Limited, on February 19, 2021. The original writ petitioner’s bid and four other bidders were declared unsuccessful.

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