Demolished Hancock Bridge: SC allows Mumbai civic body to proceed with contract for 2 bridges
By Team Legistify / 2017-11-14

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The Supreme Court has granted permission to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to proceed with the award of a contract in “accordance with law” for the construction of two bridges at the site of the demolished Hancock Bridge between Sandhurst Road and Mazgaon. The apex court passed the order on November 10 taking into consideration the fact that “if the work is stalled, the general public would be put to great hardship.” The court was hearing a Special Leave Petition filed by a company that was awarded the contract by the BMC for construction of two bridges. The contract had run into trouble after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was moved in the Bombay High Court raising questions regarding the legality of the contract in favour of the petitioner. The court had in 2016 ordered that status quo be maintained.

Mukul Rohatgi, senior counsel appearing for the civic body, however, argued that the BMC be permitted to finalise the tenders and proceed with the execution of the work, or else it would put the public at a great degree of inconvenience. He also informed the court that apart from the instant litigation, the petitioner company in the matter was (earlier) blacklisted by the BMC, and the issue is pending consideration under a statutory appeal before the municipal corporation.

“We do not propose to examine the legality of the blacklisting order in the instant proceedings. It is an order independent of the order and the legality of which is to be determined by an appropriate forum. The fact remains that by virtue of the order, the High Court directed the cancellation of work awarded to the petitioner. Whether the order of the High Court could be sustained in law, is to be examined on the merits of the petition which is likely to take time,” said the Apex Court.

“Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the company eventually succeeds in the matter, it could be adequately compensated including award of exemplary costs for all the trouble to which the petitioner is subjected to, in the process of litigation. In the circumstances, we do not see any reason to continue the earlier interim orders of this court,” added the court.


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