Transparancey Through Judicial Preview
The Government in a welfare state is the regulator and provides large number of benefits and dispenses of services to its people. In the process of dispensing the benefits and services, the Government enters into contracts i.e. contracts between private individuals, on the one hand and Government or its instrumentalities on the other.
The constitutional reorganization of Government contracts is to be found in Article 298 and 299(1) of Constitution. Article 298 provides that the executive power of the union and each state shall extend to the making contracts for any purpose. So it provides the state can enter into a contract in exercise of its executive power. Article 299(1) mandates the requisite conditions which contracts in exercise of the executive power of the union each state is required to fulfill. These provisions in the constitution relating to form of contract on behalf of the Government is mandatory. The Government is still the Government when it acts in the matter of grating largesse and it cannot act arbitrarily. It does not stand in the same position as a private individual”.
Since the Government no longer enjoys the absolute discretion to enter into contract with anyone the Government must choose the party in a non – discriminatory manner.
The state must act fairly and make a choice in the selection of a contracting party by affording equal opportunity to all contenders by examining their claims fairly.
“Every activity of the Government has a public element in it and it must, therefore be informed with reason and guided by public interest. Every action taken by the Government must be in public interest.
If it chooses invite tenders, it must abide by the conditions specified in the tender notice. If the party fails to fulfill the conditions of the tender notice, it cannot be accepted.
In respect of conditions of eligibility, its strict compliance is required, the state, and its instrumentalities are required to adhere norms. Standards and procedures cannot be departed from, arbitrarily. The award of contract, its action would be tested for its validity
The Government of Andhra Pradesh through its enactment dated. 20th August,2019 passed an Act namely Andhra Pradesh Infrastructure (Transparency through Judicial Preview) Act, 2019. The Legislative intention behind this Act is to bring transparency in the infrastructure bidding process in the state through judicial preview thereby to ensure optimum utilization of public resources and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto.
The very purpose of constituting the Judicial Preview is that all infrastructure projects including Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects of the value of Rupees 100 Crore and above to ensure conformity in procedure, rules and guidelines prescribed by State and Central Governments from time to time. Also, provide the Terms of Reference for the Judicial Preview and also specify the guidelines, rules as applicable from time to time, in the conduct of such preview. The mission is to achieve objects supra within the visionary outlook supra.