The Bombay High Court yesterday rejected a writ petition that challenged the Maharashtra Government’s e-tender conditions for supplying sanitary napkins to Government schools.

The Court said that the safety and menstrual hygiene of school-going adolescent girls is of paramount importance and for that purpose, high quality will have to be maintained.

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice S.V. Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep V. Marne held, “Naturally, as the safety and hygiene menstrual practices in school-going adolescent girls is of paramount importance and for that purpose the high quality will have to be maintained, we do not find that there is any illegality in the tender conditions of past experience and turnover. … We are not inclined to go into the other challenge on the ground of temperature required to be maintained, as the petitioner is not qualified for bidding of the tender.”

The Bench dealt with a petition filed by a start-up owned by a 69-year-old man challenging the conditions imposed by the State through the tender related to the supply of sanitary pads to 9,940 schools across the State.

Advocate Srirang Katneshwarkar appeared for the petitioner i.e., the company while Government Pleader P. P. Kakade appeared for the respondents.

In this case, the State of Maharashtra floated an e-tender for the selection of a supplier for the supply and installation of automatic Sanitary Pad Vending Machines, Sanitary Napkins & Incinerators along with sanitary pads in Government schools in the State of Maharashtra Prathamik Shikshan Parishad (MPSP).

The petitioner claimed to be a start-up and MSME. As per the tender conditions for a tenderer to be eligible to apply, it should have possessed the past three years’ experience and a turnover of Rs. 12 crores. The petitioner did not qualify for both conditions.

The High Court in view of this matter noted, “As the project is for safe and hygiene menstrual practices in school-going adolescent girls and is for supply of sanitary napkins in the Government schools in the State of Maharashtra, naturally, the predominant factor that would have to be kept in mind by the State is the quality of the sanitary napkins to the school-going girls and for that purpose the past experience is utmost necessary. Further, the supply is to 9940 schools in the State of Maharashtra. Large number of supplies would be required and for that purpose the past turnover and experience would be relevant.”

The Court further asserted that it would not sit in appeal over decisions of executive authorities or instrumentalities and that the plausible decisions need not be overturned, and latitude ought to be granted to the State in the exercise of executive powers.

“As has been rightly pointed out by the learned counsel for the petitioner that this Court would not sit over as an appellate authority and this Court would interfere only if it is found that the decision is arbitrary, the conditions are illegal, irrational, then only this Court would interfere”, said the Court.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the plea.

Cause Title- Kirvan Vendsol Pvt. Ltd. v. The State of Maharashtra & Ors.

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