On Friday, the High Court of Bombay directed the Mumbai civic body to respond to a Public Interest Litigation filed by a BJP MLA alleging compromise on standards in the procurement of medicines at hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
MLA Ashish Shelar also alleged in the PIL that conditions in the tender for supply of medicines & disinfectants was changed for the benefit of certain manufacturers.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta & Justice G S Kulkarni, however, noted that judicial review of a tender process was not advisable.
Justice Kulkarni said that “The government is the master in such a tender process as it is aware of the situation & requirements. They know what conditions to impose in the tender”.
Chief Justice Datta said that “Who are you (Shelar) to complain if the bidders are alright & have no problem with the conditions imposed”.
The Court posted the petition for further hearing next week & asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to file its affidavit in response to the plea.
Shelar’s plea said that during the pandemic, medicines & disinfectants procured by civic-run hospitals should be of the highest standards.
There was “infringement of the norms of accountability, rationality & manifestation of arbitrariness & perversity in the tendering process”, it alleged.
The BMC keeps changing the eligibility criteria, Shelar claimed.