Allahabad High Court: In a writ petition challenging the illegality, propriety and correctness of the order dated 26-8-2023 passed by the Chief Engineer, Agra Development Authority, whereby the petitioner has been blacklisted and debarred from participating in any future tender-contract of the Agra Development Authority, the division bench of Pritinker Diwaker, CJ. and Ashutosh Srivastava, J., has set aside the impugned order, as the orders of blacklisting have been passed for an indefinite period which is not permissible under the law. Further, it said that a notice for blacklisting is required to specify as to what would be the consequence if the noticee does not satisfactorily meet the grounds on which the action is proposed.
The petitioner submitted that the order blacklisting the petitioner and debarring him from future tender contracts is bad in law, since no prior notice of blacklisting has ever been issued to the petitioner and straightaway blacklisting order has been passed. It has been argued that a blacklisting order entails civil consequences and as such, show cause was required. to be issued calling for an explanation from the petitioner before blacklisting it. Thus, in the absence of show cause notice and the order being indefinite, the order blacklisting the petitioner is bad in law and liable to be set aside.
The State submitted that the petitioner’s submission that no notice/show cause was ever issued to him before blacklisting, is incorrect, as a communication dated 7-12-2021 was addressed to the petitioner, which is the show cause notice. Thus, there is no error in the order of blacklisting and no interference is warranted by this Court.
After perusing the said communication, it said that it merely required the petitioner to rectify the deficiency in the construction work carried out by him, failing which the petitioner would be recommended to be included in the blacklist. Thus, the said communication cannot be taken to be a show cause notice to the petitioner before proceeding to blacklist it.
It also opined that a notice for blacklisting is required to specify as to what would be the consequence if the noticee does not satisfactorily meet the grounds on which the action is proposed. The notice is also required to state the grounds necessitating the action and the penalty proposed specifically and unambiguously. The show cause notice is also required to adhere to the principles of natural justice.
As the orders of blacklisting have been passed for an indefinite period which is not permissible under the law, the Court set aside the impugned order is set aside. However, the Court granted liberty is granted to the State to proceed against the petitioner by issuing fresh notice, strictly in accordance with law.
[Baba Construction Pvt. Ltd. v State of U.P., 2023 SCC OnLine All 937, Order dated 20-09-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Counsel for Petitioner : Advocate Vibhu Rai, Senior Advocate Abhinav Gaur
Counsel for Respondent : Chief Standing Counsel Dharmendra Singh Chauhan, Advocate Suresh C. Dwivedi