National Highway And Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited vs Chabou And Co – Article 226 Constitution – Judicial Review

Constitution of India, 1950; Article 226 – Judicial Review- Courts lack the expertise to correct administrative decisions and the intervention of the Courts should be limited to ensuring that the decision-making process is free from arbitrariness, bias, or mala fides. However, the Court cannot scrutinize whether the decision itself is sound or the most appropriate-The Court, while exercising jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India in a public interest litigation, should not have directed that the work on the highway, including the work of maintenance and repairs, must be undertaken by a particular contractor- The Court can, and was right in expressing concern for the delay in completion and execution of the works, nevertheless, the Court could not have issued directions on who should be assigned the task of execution. The directions are well beyond the power of judicial review as they impinge upon the role, the duty and the task assigned to the NHIDCL. The Courts can and do issue directions in public interest but would hesitate in donning or taking over the role of the NHIDCL in deciding who should execute the work- The terms and requirements for eligibility prescribed by the authorities depend on the nature of the contract and the scope of the work undertaken. The contracts are in the nature of a commercial transaction, and thus require the authority to primarily focus on commercial considerations in arriving at a decision. The authority calling for the tender, is therefore the best judge to prescribe the conditions of the tender – Referred to Directorate of Education v. Educomp Datamatics Ltd., (2004) 4 SCC 19, Tata Cellular v. Union of India (1994) 6 SCC 651 and Air India Ltd. v. Cochin International Airport Ltd (2000) 2 SCC 617.

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