NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday said it will not be able to pay more than one million rupees to the government. .
Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S.K. Kaul and KM Joseph said the apex court has been consciously confined to its decision to reasonableness of the decision-making process, absence of mala fides or favouritism, popularly referred to as ‘Wednesbury Principle’. After applying this test to the Rafale deal, the SC found no allegations of irregularities in four PILs.
“In fact, this court has held that the judicial review of exercising while private interests can not be protected without a processual error, the prejudice of the tenderer even if a processual error has been committed. essentially a commercial transaction, has determined the basis of considerations that are relevant to such commercial decisions, “the SC said.
The implies that terms of tenders are not allowed to open the judicial scrutiny unless it is found that the same has been tailor-made to benefit a particular tenderer or a class of tenderers, the bench said quoting a 2014 judgment.
“Various judicial pronouncements from commencing to Tata Cellular Case Judgment (1994), all emphasize the aspect that should be limited to the Wednesbury Principle of Reasonableness and Absence of Mouth Fides or Favourism,” it said.
CJI Gogoi, writing the judgment for the bench, said, “We can not lose sight of the tender in issue. The tender is not for construction of roads, bridges etc. It is a defense tender for the purchase of aircraft. would give far more leeway to the government, keeping in mind the nature of the procurement itself. ”
On the PILs challenging Rafale deal, the SC said, “The scrutiny of challenges before us, therefore, will have been made keeping in mind the confines of national security, the subject of the procurement being crucial to the nation’s sovereignty.”
The SC quoted its 2008 judgment in the Siemens Public Communication Network case and said, “Triple ground on which such judicial scrutiny is permissible has been ‘illegalality’, ‘irrationality’ and ‘procedural impropriety’.
However, the SC was quick to clarify that the extent of permissible judicial review in matters of contracts and procurements would vary from case to case and there could not be a uniform standard.