|Case No.||W.P No. 22389/2022||Date of Filing||09/11/2022||Status||Pending||Petitioners||The Karnataka Rajya SC/ST Guttigedarara Sangha||Respondents||1. State of Karnataka, Urban Development Department 2. State of Karnataka, Finance Department 3. Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike|
On behalf of Karnataka Rajya SC/ST Guttigedarara Sangha (Karnataka State Contractors Association), CLPR has filed a Public Interest litigation – WP 22389/2022- challenging a series of Government Orders and Circulars which are violative of the fundamental rights of contractors belonging to Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe communities and in violation of Section 6 of the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurements Act, 1999 (“KTTP Act”).
Section 6 of the KTTP Act was amended in 2016. It mandated and reserved 17.15% of the total tenders in a financial year for the contractors belonging to the Scheduled Caste community and 6.95% of the total tenders for the Schedule tribe contractors. Besides, the upper limit for such contracts were sealed to the tune of Rs. 50.00 lakhs. Further, the Karnataka Transparency and Public Procurement Rules, 2017 were also amended to support this reservation, by giving a randomisation process to the selection of tenders from the SC and ST communities respectively via insertion of Rule 27 A.
That being the case, the Government of Karnataka under the Chief Minister’s Amruth Nagarothana (Municipality) Project issued a series of Government orders. As per the GOs, Rs. 3885 crores were allotted to the urban local bodies for infrastructure works and provided guidelines for issuing tenders by creating packages which mandate that tender packages shall not be less than Rs. 10 Crores for the BBMP and also directs that for City Municipal Councils, the works shall be for Rs. 100 lakhs in one or two packages. This would mean that almost all of the tenders for infrastructure work would be more than Rs. 50 Lakhs, thus completely eliminating any tenders being awarded to small contractors from SC/ST communities as per the mandate of section 6 of the KTPP Act.
Through this PIL, relief is sought to quash such Government orders, subsequent circulars, and tender notifications issued by the Government of Karnataka and BBMP respectively, which had created packages for works at different levels, at a higher tender amount exceeding the upper limit of Rs 50 Lakhs reserved for the SC/ST community. Further, it is also prayed before the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka to direct the Respondents to frame guidelines to ensure that calls for tenders and works shall not be clubbed into packages exceeding Rs 50 Lakhs without providing for the reservation to contractors belonging to SC/ST community as mandated under Section 6 of the KTPP Act.
On order dated 21.11.2022, the PIL was admitted and the Hon’ble Court directed the State counsel to seek instructions and is listed on 13.12.2022.
This post was written by Harikrishnan R, a litigation associate at CLPR.