Uttarakhand High Court orders adverse comments against army contractor to be removed

The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday gave directions to the effect that adverse comments against a contractor may be removed because the contractor had not delayed completion of a project on purpose, but because of reasons beyond its control. The court directed the chief engineer, Central Command to pass appropriate orders on the recommendation made by the chief engineer, Military Engineering Services, Bareilly Zone within two weeks.

The Petitioner is a partnership firm that deals in civil construction work and is enlisted with Military Engineering Services. Petitioner was awarded two contracts, namely:

(i) Construction of Baffle Range at Dehradun and(ii) Construction work.

Sandeep Kothari, Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that the first Contract, namely, Construction of Baffle Range was to be completed on or before 31.12.2020 and the said work was completed by the Petitioner well within the stipulated time.Regarding the second work, namely, Construction work for Second Arty Regt at Birpur, Dehradun, Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that initially, the second work was to be completed on or before 29.08.2021. However, subsequently, the said deadline was extended by the Competent Authority up to 5th March 2022, due to the collapse of the bridge leading to the construction site and various other reasons.

Thus, according to the Petitioner, there is no delay on the part of the Petitioner in executing the work, therefore, the remarks made against the name of the Petitioner in the quarterly workload return for Contractors that Petitioner is not capable to handle more load due to slow progress is uncalled for and is liable to be removed.

Pankaj Chaturvedi, Central Government Standing Counsel, on instructions, submitted that the Office of Chief Engineer, Military Engineering Services, Bareilly Zone has recommended to Chief Engineer Central Command to remove the adverse remarks mentioned against the name of the Petitioner in the quarterly workload return issued on 17.03.2021. He further submitted that Petitioner had executed the work pursuant to the first contract well within time and regarding the second work, he stated that the deadline, initially fixed, has not expired as yet and the Competent Authority has further extended the deadline to 05.03.2022.

A Single Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Tewari while considering the Petition held that since Chief Engineer, Military Engineering Services, Bareilly Zone has himself recommended for removing the adverse remarks of slow progress mentioned against the name of the Petitioner in the quarterly workload return and now the final decision is to be taken by Chief Engineer Central Command.

“Therefore, the writ petition is disposed of with a direction to respondent no. 1 (Chief Engineer Central Command) to pass appropriate order, in accordance with the law, on the recommendation made by respondent no. 2 (Chief Engineer, Military Engineering Services, Bareilly Zone) as early as possible but not later than two weeks from today” , the order reads.

Source: ILNS
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