Constitution of India – Whether in exercise of powers under Article 226, the High Court could have permitted one of the bidder to revise / modify its offer ? Held, the procedure adopted by the High Court while disposing of the writ petition by permitting / allowing the original writ applicant to modify its offer and that too in exercise of powers under Article 226 is unsustainable and unknown to law. Even in the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court felt that instead of inviting fresh bids, the same could be allowed, in that case also, similar opportunity ought to have been given to the other applicants also.
Constitution of India – Article 226 – though the High Court has, as such, directed and issued the writ of mandamus directing ONGC to finalize the contract with the writ applicant on the condition that the writ applicant shall lift gas within 65 days from the date of allotment, instead of allowing the writ petition and making the Rule absolute, High Court has used the word writ petition is disposed of. Once the writ of mandamus was issued, instead of disposing of the writ petition, the High Court ought to have allowed the writ petition.
The impugned order passed by the High Court is unsustainable in as such no reasons whatsoever have been assigned by the High Court on merits. Except narrating the prayer clause and two earlier orders passed on 19.08.2021 and 16.09.2021 there is no further discussion by the High Court on merits of the matter. In view of the above and for the reasons stated above, impugned order passed by the High Court dated 20.09.2021 in Special Civil Application No.5815 of 2021 is hereby quashed and set aside. The matter is remitted back to the High Court for its fresh decision. Special Civil Application No.5815 of 2021 is ordered to be restored to the file of High Court. The appellants herein to submit appropriate application for impleading them as party respondent nos. 4 and 5 and same to be allowed by the High court and thereafter the High Court to pass a fresh order in accordance with law and on merits and after giving fullest opportunities to all the respondents including ONGC, Union of India and the appellants herein. In the facts and circumstances of the case and looking to the urgency, we request the High Court to finally decide and dispose of the writ petition in accordance with law and on its own merits at the earliest and preferably within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of the present order. Either of the parties to place the present order before the High Court forthwith. It is made clear that this Court has not expressed anything on merits and the impugned order of the High Court has been set aside for the reasons stated above. Both these appeals succeed and accordingly allowed. However, there shall be no order as to costs.