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Contractor cannot take construction of houses for slum dwellers for granted: Karnataka HC [Read Order]

By Rintu Mariam Biju      29 January, 2024 06:08 PM      0 Comments
Contractor cannot take construction of houses for slum dwellers for granted Karnataka HC

BENGALURU: While refusing to grant an extension time to a contractor to complete the contract work, the Karnataka High Court pointed out that a contractor or tenderer cannot take the construction of houses for slum dwellers “for granted”

“Merely because it is construction of houses for slum dwellers, a contractor or a tenderer cannot take it for granted. It is these slum dwellers who need the houses to reside, as the condition of living of slum dwellers is to be improved on a war footing. It is in that avowed objective that the Board directed rehabilitation by reconstruction of slums by building houses in those areas. 10 years have passed by but construction of houses is not completed. The petitioner ought not to have dodged the completion even though extension was granted twice. It is unable to complete”, Justice M Nagaprasanna observed. 

The Court was dealing with a plea challenging an order passed by the Karnataka Slum Development Board (Board) which rejected a construction company’s request for an extension of time for their work order. 

In the present case, a 654-day extension was granted for the work in 2018, and further, a year’s extension was granted in 2020. The KSDB subsequently cancelled the contract.

The firm's lawyer stated that, while there was a gap in finishing the job, KSDB had not provided building sites in a timely manner, hampering their efforts. The lawyer contended that if others completed the job today, it would cost twice as much as the business requested, putting a strain on the state’s exchequer. 

The counsel appearing for the state government contended that despite several extensions, the firm was unable to complete the job, and that many dwellings meant for slum people were only half finished. As a result, slum inhabitants offered to help with the building.

Relying on the photographs which were appended to the additional statement of facts produced by the Board, the high court expressed its shock at the “appalling situation of the contract being left high and dry by the petitioner, as it is said, a picture is worth thousand words”. The undisputed photographs produced of the houses show that they are grossly under constructed, half-constructed or 3/4th constructed. “Merely because the petitioner has constructed 60% or even 70% of houses, that would not ensure to its benefit for a direction of extension to be granted to the petitioner”, the court highlighted. 
Further, the court said this,

“The petitioner is an unwilling horse, though taken to a lake bed, is not ready to drink water. I use this metaphor to drive home that that the petitioner despite being granted time, time and again, has not completed the work. Therefore, no indulgence can be shown to the petitioner on any ground whatsoever”

While rejecting the petition, the High Court directed the Board to issue appropriate work order and get the houses of poor slum dwellers completed within a time frame and not put the lives of those slum dwellers in jeopardy, as by now they have suffered enough.

 

[Read Order]



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