HC dismisses petition on Palike tenders

Former Mayors P R Ramesh, M Ramachandrappa and former chairman of KSRTC T Prabhakar had challenged the notifications for several projects on the ground that they violated Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act and Transparency Act. They had contended that proper procedure was not followed for pre-qualification of tenders and specific sides were favoured in the process. Continuation of the administrator after the expiry of six-month term was also questioned by the petitioners.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice Manjula Chellur did not find any merit in the contention that continuation of the administrator in excess of six months was neither legal nor legitimate.

“In the absence of duly elected councillors, the only manner in which the affairs of the BBMP could have been administered was by the appointment of an administrator,” the Bench observed.

The Court said in the absence of a standing committee, it was the administrator who was vested with the powers of discharging the duties of the committee. Therefore sanction and approval granted by the administrator can validly be treated as sanction and approval of the standing committees and/or the corporation itself.

Referring to the contention that rules were not followed in awarding projects worth more than Rs five crore, the court said accord of approval at the hands of Cabinet of Ministers satisfied the requirement of approval at the hands of the State government. “It is apparent that the approval at the hands of the Cabinet of Ministers constituted sanction at the hands of the highest prescribed authority,” it said. The Bench was also satisfied with the pre-qualification process.

“Merely because certain orders came to be passed by this Court finding fault with the State Election Commission and/or the State government in not holding elections to the BBMP, cannot be the basis of inferences in the nature of extraneous consideration, malafides or arbitrariness,” the Bench noted.

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