In a relief to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC),the Bombay High Court on Tuesday refused to impose an interim stay on a Swiss firm which audits road works for the civic body.
Ruling in favour of the BMC,the Bench of Justice S A Bobde and Justice R D Dhanuka said,Such an order,if passed,may result in completely thwarting the intention of the BMC to appoint an authority to assess its own performance in the city and would go against public interest.
The judges also accepted the contention of the counsel for auditor Iqbal Chagla that prima facie,there seemed to have been considerable delay on the part of the petitioner,a former corporator,in approaching the court. Chagla had argued that the corporator,Niyaz Ahmed Vanu,was present in a meeting in September when the appointment was made,but did not move court till January.
Chagla pointed out that due to the delay,four months out of the eight- month contract have already expired. In their order,the judges also noted that the interests of the petitioners would not be directly affected because of the interim order.
The case,however,has been referred to a full bench of the court as the judges opined that there was a larger issue that was required to be decided.
The petitioner had said that the BMC appointed Swiss firm SGS Consultancy for an amount of Rs 6.78 crore to audit road works in the city without inviting tenders or bids. Arguing for the petitioner,lawyer S Aney claimed that this was done at the behest of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. He said there are 16 other firms which can perform the same task and that the BMC could have got the work done at a lower price if it had invited tenders.
The counsel for the firm,however,pointed that previous auditing work did not seem to have yielded results and that the city roads continued to be in a poor condition. He also said that the firm has vast experience in the field and has done similar work for the Golden Quadrilateral as well.