The High Court of Karnataka pulled up the state government for its arbitrary and irrational sand policy with regard to a matter related to public auction of sand by the government.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice H G Ramesh and Justice P S Dinesh Kumar was hearing a petition by bidder who had moved the court challenging rejection of his bid by the government for conditions not mentioned in the policy. According to the petitioner, the government had rejected his bid stating it was too high.
The bench asked Rajender Kumar Kataria, secretary, Department of Commerce and Industries (Mines and MSME), who was summoned by the court, to set up sand depots like fair price shops or Indira Canteens to avoid injustice to the people. The bench observed that the government's policy was senseless and said that also did not clearly specify the highest allowed bid for the auction.
Justice Ramesh orally observed, "You call for a public auction, allow the bidding to take place and then say the bidding amount is too high. Where have you said in your policy that this is the highest amount of bid for the auction."
The court suggested that the government needs to have a rational policy. Instead of rejecting the bid, the government should fix a ceiling on sand bidding. Because of your (government's) baseless rejections , more petitions are being filed in this court."