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Supreme Court says registry not listing matters

Bombay High Court had on Monday directed Adani to pay a cost of Rs 5 lakh for bringing to court an 'unmeritorious case'
Supreme Court.
Supreme Court.
File photo

PTI   |   New Delhi   |   Published 29.06.22, 12:39 AM

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said the registry was not listing matters despite orders from its vacation benches and added that cases would be listed according to the set procedure.

A vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala said it had on Monday directed a matter to be listed for Tuesday but the registry had said it would not be listed.

“We didn’t want to say it in open court but it’s a fact. Yesterday, we made an exception. We had directed a matter to be listed for today but the registry said that it would not list the case. We don’t want to say anything more,” the bench told senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was seeking urgent listing of a plea filed by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (Adani) against a Bombay High Court order.

The bench said there was a set procedure in place for the listing of matters during vacations and asked Singhvi to approach the mentioning registrar for urgent listing. If the request was denied, then it could look into it.

The same vacation bench had on Monday ordered for hearing on Tuesday the Centre’s petition against the Tripura High Court order on a PIL challenging the grant of security to industrialist Mukesh Ambani. Despite the order, the matter was not listed for Tuesday.

Singhvi urged the bench to list the matter, saying the Bombay High Court order was given to them on Monday in which it had dismissed a plea filed by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (Adani) challenging the disqualification of its bid in a tender issued by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) for upgradation of a container terminal in Navi Mumbai.

Singhvi said: “I am India’s leading port manager and cleared the port trust bid in December 2021 but I was disqualified four months after that. I had challenged the disqualification before Bombay High Court, which passed the order on Monday evening. Now the authority is proceeding ahead with other bids.”

The bench asked Singhvi what is the nature of the contract. The senior counsel said the nature of the contract was the operation and maintenance of the Jawaharlal Nehru Terminal through public bids.

The bench said: “We have already told you our difficulty. There is a procedure prescribed. You mention the matter before the mentioning registrar, he will examine the urgency. If the request is not accepted for urgent listing, then you can mention it before us. Let’s see what the registrar has to say on this.”

Bombay High Court had on Monday directed Adani to pay a cost of Rs 5 lakh for bringing to court an “unmeritorious case”.

Of this, Adani had already deposited Rs 4,24,800 with the JNPA at the time of submitting its bid. The high court has asked the JNPA to retain the amount and directed Adani to deposit the remaining amount.

Adani was disqualified by the JNPA from a tender process to privatise the port authority’s container handling facility on May 3.

According to the JNPA, the terms and conditions in its tender document said any firm involved in contract termination at other ports would be prohibited from participating in the terminal privatisation bidding process.

In December 2020, a coal-handling terminal at the Visakhapatnam Port Authority that was operated by a unit of Adani was terminated.

Adani, however, claimed in its plea that its disqualification was illegal.

The high court has said it had gone through the details of the petition and the JNPA’s arguments and concluded that JNPA had not committed any illegality.

“Far from committing any illegality, the JNPT (Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust) instead gave a fair opportunity to the petitioner (Adani) to bring the dispute (Visakhapatnam port authority episode) to the fore,” the HC has said.

It has said that in cases related to tenders, the court could only intervene if glaring illegality or a breach of a constitutional right had been committed.

In the present case, however, there was no illegality involved and the JNPA was right in disqualifying Adani, the HC has held.

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