P&A on track with bullet train win in Supreme Court


P&A Law Offices represented the National High Speed Rail Corporation when the Supreme Court of India quashed an order of Delhi High Court directing it to reconsider a disqualified bid submitted in a foreign-funded project.

The Supreme Court order in National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited v Montecarlo Limited & Anr was made on 31 January.

P&A’s team was led by partner Amit Mishra, and included partner Gaurav Mahajan, senior associate Sanjeet Ranjan and associate Yash Kumar. Solicitor general of India Tushar Mehta argued the matter, and Kunal Chatterjee was the advocate-on-record.

Delhi High Court’s 23 August 2021 order was prompted by Gujarat-based Montecarlo’s petition regarding the tender process related to implementing the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project, which is foreign-funded and popularly known as the bullet train project.

The Supreme Court held that Delhi High Court should not have interfered with the tender process floated by National High Speed Rail Corporation unless there were specific allegations of mala fides and/or favouritism. Asking the high courts to exercise caution while entertaining writ petitions challenging a tender process midway, and/or while interfering with the tender process in the contracts, the Supreme Court said: “There shall be different considerations so far as the judicial interference is concerned between the foreign-funded contracts and the ordinary public works contracts funded from public exchequer.”

Montecarlo had argued that funding for the project was not aid, but a loan, and decisions concerning the tender process were a matter of judicial review.