In a recent judgment delivered by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (“Hon’ble SC”), the Special Leave Petition (“SLP”) filed by Tata Motors Limited (“Tata”) was dismissed, while the counter-SLPs filed by Brihan-Mumbai Electricity Supply & Transport Undertaking (“BEST”) were allowed.

DSK Legal advised, assisted, and successfully defended BEST in the appeal filed by Tata against the Judgement dated July 5, 2022, of the Hon’ble Bombay High Court.

In 2022, BEST floated a tender for the supply, operation, and maintenance of 2100 Single Decker AC Electric Buses with drivers for public transport service within the city of Mumbai for a period of 12 years. This is one of the largest EV Bus procurement tenders until now.

One of the tender conditions required the EV Buses to operate with 80% State of Charge in actual conditions. Tata’s bid was found to be non-responsive as it deviated from this requirement for “actual conditions”, and did not advance to the price bid stage. The Bombay High Court upheld this disqualification and also found issues with the bid of the successful bidder, suggesting that BEST consider re-bidding.

The July 5, 2022, order was challenged by all three parties before the Hon’ble SC. The Hon’ble SC on May 19, 2023, held that BEST rightly rejected Tata’s bid as it was non-compliant with the tender conditions and reiterated the principles of limited judicial interference in commercial/tender matters, acknowledging the significant cost implications and impact on the exchequer. Additionally, the Hon’ble SC set aside the portion of the July 5, 2022 Order that quashed BEST’s decision of declaring EVEY Trans as the successful bidder

This judgment by the Hon’ble SC holds significance as it reinforces the established legal position that courts should exercise restraint in judicial review of tender, contractual, or commercial matters. The Court emphasized that the power of judicial review should not be invoked to protect private interests at the expense of public interest, or to decide contractual disputes.

The DSK Legal team comprised Mr. Anjan Dasgupta (Partner), Ms. Rimali Batra (Associate Partner), Mr. Jash Shah (Senior Associate), and Mr. Abhishek Lalwani (Associate).

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