A division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja has dismissed a writ petition challenging the decision of Ambernath municipal corporation which issued e-tender for the collection and transportation of solid waste only through electric vehicles.
The municipal council had engaged the petitioner in 2016 for a period of five years, through a work order for the collection and transportation of municipal solid waste. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the election to the general body of the council could not be conducted and an administrator came to be appointed. The administrator had granted three extensions to the petitioner beyond the period of five years and the third extension was granted for a period between October 1 and December 31, 2022, or until a new quotation for solid waste collection was received.
On October 27, 2022, the administrator issued an e-tender wherein one of the clauses said that the collection and transportation of solid waste can only be done through an e-vehicle. The petitioner challenged the e-tender on the ground that the administrator has no authority to take a policy decision and proceed with the appointment of a new contractor for the collection and transportation of solid waste. Further, it was argued that the provisions for 100 e-vehicles for door-to-door collection and transportation of municipal solid waste are not immediately available and, therefore, such terms of the tender notice would render the entire process unworkable.
The court in its order noted that as per section 316 of the Act of 1965 when an administrator is appointed, he steps into the shoes of the municipal council. Further, the administrator is empowered by law to discharge all the duties and functions that the municipal council could have discharged in the ordinary course of business.
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