Dilip Buildcon Limited (DBL) is one of the prominent names in infrastructure sector and specially road infrastructure. Alleging registration of a FIR against DBL, NHAI issued a Show Cause Notice and finally Ministry of Road Transport & Highways debarred DBL for 4 months alleging breach of Integrity Pact by DBL. Challenging the said Order of debarment, DBL approached the Delhi High Court by filing a Writ Petition.
The Bench of HMJ Yashwant Verma, High Court of Delhi after hearing the submission made by the Senior Counsels for DBL in WP (Civil) No. 15460 of 2022 captioned as ‘M/s Dilip Buildcon Limited Vs. National Highways Authority of India & Anr.’ stayed the order of debarment, in the interim, on the ground that the impugned order has been passed in violation of the principles of natural justice and in complete disdain to the due process and rule of law.
This matter is of great relevance as the road industry has always faced the impact of arbitrary decisions of the authorities. Even in the present case, the challenge was regarding an order of debarment vide which DBL was debarred for 4 months, only on the basis of registration of a FIR against DBL by CBI. Notably, the competent authority which passed the order, never gave an opportunity of hearing to DBL.
DBL’s Counsels canvassed before the High Court of Delhi that although the show cause notice was issued by NHAI, MORTH passed the impugned Order on 20.08.2022 without following the due process of law. It was highlighted that DBL was debarred even without providing relied upon documents which violations by DBL were alleged, and without providing the opportunity of being heard in a reasonable manner, which is known to law. It was also argued that both NHAI and MORTH are duty bound to act without prejudice and without any pre-determined mindset and in the instant case, they have failed to do so and acted in an arbitrary manner and with undue haste. Thus, interference of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi was prayed.
Senior Advocates Mr. Sandeep Sethi and Mr. Jayant Mehta, assisted by S&A Law Offices team led by Mr. Nilava Bandyopadhyay, Senior Partner, Mr. Anurag Abhishek, Partner and Ms. Vijaya Singh, Partner appeared for DBL before the Delhi High Court.
This interim order will have far-reaching consequences on the road industry as a whole because it will tremendously boost the confidence of the diligent commercial entities working in the road sector as it will manifests the known law that Govt. entities cannot pass any arbitrary order on baseless allegations on their whims and fancies.