Kerala High Court: While deciding the instant public interest litigation wherein the petitioner raised the matter that the Public Works Department (hereinafter PWD) without any tender or notifications, blocked the passage to an important road and started constructing a cross drain, the Division Bench of S. Manikumar, CJ, and Shaji P. Chaly, J., held that, at times inconveniences may have to be suffered by the individuals for the common good and public welfare at large; this however is not violative of any fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
As per the facts, the petitioner, who is a social worker, pointed out that the construction has led to traffic congestion; there are no alternative routes available for the public to use. It was also pointed out that the road is used by the public to reach certain super speciality hospitals as well. The petitioner via his counsel R. Divakaran, submitted that a daily vernacular newspaper has covered the grievances that people have been facing due to this un-notified construction undertaken by the PWD. Meanwhile the counsel for the respondents, submitted before the Court that since the work had to be carried out as an urgent work, hence no tender could be invited. It was further stated by the respondents that the work pointed out by the petitioner is complete and after the curing period of the concrete, the road will be opened to the public on 08-06-2020.
Perusing the contentions of the parties, the Bench observed that the construction of the cross drain would avoid inundation, and flooding of the road during rainy season. There is no dispute with respect to the fact that the work was done by the PWD without awarding any contract, however since the nature of the construction was urgent, therefore no illegality or mala fides exist on the part of the PWD. Vis-à-vis the contentions raised by the petitioner, the Court pointed out that although the work was not awarded by inviting a public tender, but that by itself, will not constitute any illegality or corruption. The Court further observed that the petitioner did not substantiate his contentions with any case law to establish that there is any impropriety in the work carried out by the PWD. Before concluding the judgment, the Court reiterated that, “It is trite and settled law that a Public Interest Litigant approaching a constitutional court should aid the court with sufficient materials so as to substantiate the pleadings.” [K.V. Gopi v. District Collector, Ernakulam, WP(C) No.10537 of 2020(S), decided on 03-06-2020]