Delhi HC seeks response from Indian Defence Ministry in plea against rejection of bid to supply carbines to Armed forces

The Delhi HC (High Court) has sought a response from the Defence Ministry and other departments related to the Army on a plea moved to an Authorised Arms vendor against the rejection of its bid to supply Close Quarter Battle (CQB) Carbines to Armed forces worth Rs 12000 Crores.

This petition has been moved through legal firm Lex Panacea by BSS Materiel Limited which is an authorised vendor of Indo Russian Rifle Private Limited (IRRPL). IRRPL is a joint venture of India and Russia and manufactures CQB at Amethi.

A division bench headed by acting Chief Justice Manmohan has sought the response of the Ministry of Defence by the next date of hearing on August 9. The bench issued a notice on the petition at the end of April.

The bench had issued notice to the Ministry of Defence, the Chief of defence staff, the secretary DMA and five others including the Additional Director General (ADG) Acquisition Technical (Army).

It is stated that the IRRPL had moved a bid to supply of 425213 CQB to Armed forces through BSS Materiel Limited. Its bid was rejected by the Ministry.

Petitioner BSS Materiel Limited has challenged a letter it received from ADG Acquisition on December 11, 2023, stating that its techno commercial offer stands ‘non-compliant’ for not meeting the financial criteria of Average Annual Turnover and net worth that is stipulated in the Request for Proposal (RFP).

This offer was submitted on May 2, 2023, as the authorised vendor of the original equipment manufacturer, the plea added.

The petitioner BSS Materiel Limited has sought a direction to set aside the letter of ADG Acquisition and declare it compliant under RFP.

It has also sought a direction to allow it to participate in the evaluation procedure on a cost-no-commitment basis and a future direction to participate in the evaluation procedure as per the trial methodology forming part of the RFP.

It is submitted that there is a ambiguity of entity and it is a flagrant violation of the Doctrine of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The financial criteria of which the entity would be examined is not discussed in the RFP, the plea stated.

It is also stated that the petitioner submitted its bid/response to RFP as a Medium Small Enterprise (MSE) which the respondent also recognises while not demanding Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) required to submit a response to RFP.

The petitioner BSS Materiel Limited has also submitted that it sent a letter to the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) in July and August 2023 for assessment of the Annual Turnover and Net Worth of Orginal Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) IRRPL.