The SC granted relief to Adani Ports in relation to the bidding process | Whuff News

The Supreme Court on Monday said Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones (APSEZ) can participate in tenders floated by “public bodies”, giving relief to India’s largest port developer and operator, which has faced multiple disqualifications from state-owned port projects against the background of the case.

MR Shah and Krishna Murari High Court said the Andhra Pradesh High Court order upholding the termination of the agreement between the private company and the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) will not prevent Adani Port from participating in future public bids.

APSEZ has been disqualified from bidding to upgrade the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority’s container terminal in Navi Mumbai, based on a clause in the JNPA tender.

The clause says that disqualification/termination of a contract with a public entity within the past three years will automatically disqualify the bidder from future tenders. The JNPA cited this clause to say that the termination of the VPT contract automatically disqualified APSEZ from participating in the JNPA bid in Mumbai.

The Supreme Court said: “Disqualification from the termination of the tender by the VPT shall not prevent or act as a disqualification for the petitioner for future tenders floated by the public body. Since the disqualification clause was not challenged before the HC, the petitioner will be free to challenge the same before the HC.”

Adani Ports has challenged before the apex court the judgment of the Bombay High Court, which imposed costs of Rs 5 lakh while rejecting the plea of ​​disqualification for the JNPA contract.

ALSO READ: Adani Ports Q1 net down 17% to Rs 1,092 cr; total income increased slightly

JNPA has issued an invitation asking parties to participate in bidding for the operation and maintenance of their container terminal in Navi Mumbai for 30 years. Before the bidding started, the JNPA board came across an Andhra Pradesh HC order upholding the termination of the concession agreement by VPT. The JNPA board sent notices to port firms asking them why it should not be disqualified from bidding. Adani requested “without prejudice” participation in the bid. However, the board informed Adani Ports on May 2 that it had been disqualified from the tender process. Adani then moved the Bombay HC, which did not favor it and the port company then moved the Supreme Court on June 28.

Release after multiple disqualifications

  • Dec 2020: Vizag Port served a termination notice on Adani Vizag Coal Terminal APSEZ branch after force majeure
  • Oct 2021: APSEZ disqualified from Vizag Port tender for mechanization of Western Quay 7 and 8
  • Dec: APSEZ disqualified from Kandla Port (Deendayal Port Trust) tender for mechanized fertilizer and other clean cargo handling facilities without giving any reason
  • May 2022: APSEZ disqualified from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust’s container terminal tender
  • July: APSEZ disqualified from JNPT tender for shallow waters and coastal berths
  • August: Deendayal Port cancels tender after APSEZ emerges sole bidder Mormugao Port seeks port ministry direction after APSEZ among only two bidders for wharf redevelopment tender

Sector experts feel that the court has clarified the issue that saw various positions from high courts across the country.

“The latest judgment provides clarity on how to approach the qualification of such bidders and will help APSEZ participate and qualify for evaluation/qualification at the RFQ stage,” said Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, practice head and director at CRISIL Research.

“This is good for the sector as APSEZ has been quite active in participating in bids floated by major ports,” he added.

Meanwhile, APSEZ legal and policy disputes have caused the company at least four disqualifications so far. The company’s SPV, Adani Vizag Coal Terminal, was served a contract termination notice by VPT in 2020. The former had invoked the “force majeure” clause.

In October 2021, a few days after sending a notice of termination of its coal terminal contract with VPT, the company was disqualified from a tender for the mechanization of two Western Quay berths floated by the same port authority.

Two months later, the Deendayal Port Trust (DPT) also canceled the APSEZ tender for mechanized fertilizer and other clean cargo handling facilities, though without giving any reason. Soon after the Bombay High Court rejected the company’s appeal regarding the JNPA tender, the port authority has once again disqualified it from the coastal and shallow water berth tender, according to reports.

Another tender for berth privatization by DPT was canceled after APSEZ emerged as the sole bidder for the project. Business Standard recently reported that the ministry of ports, shipping and waterways will also reorganize the Rs 842 crore tender for Goa’s Mormugao Port after APSEZ was among the only bidders for the project.

The order comes at an opportune time as the port operator is reportedly working on a Rs 4,243 crore mega container terminal project at Tuna Tekra, a tender floated by Deendayal Port Trust.

Source link