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'Grant 'Make in India' policy benefit in tender': Antivirus developer's plea in Delhi HC

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | June 05, 2023 05:37 PM

NEW DELHI:The Delhi High Court has issued notice to Centre on a plea by antivirus developer Quick Heal Technologies Ltd, assailing the process and tenders issued by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, containing "discriminatory and restrictive" conditions towards local suppliers, and specifying preferences for international brands, despite the prevailing binding and mandatory "Make in India" directions.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Subramonium Prasad said: "Issue notice. Counter-affidavit be filed within four weeks. List on 22.08.2023."

Quick Heal Technologies Ltd. was represented by senior advocate Jayant Bhushan.

The antivirus developer's petition, filed by advocate Kumar Mihir, submitted that the prevalent situation of restricting specifications of products to international brands and names is contradictory to the " Make in India" (MII) and other related public procurement policies and guidelines issued by the Union of India.

"It is submitted that the Union of India is actively encouraging and promoting Indian goods and suppliers as against foreign products with its 'Make in India' policy whereas on the contrary its own divisions are specifically requisitioning international brands, in fields where there are equally competitive local brands," said the plea.

The plea argued that Articles 14 and 19(1)(g) are two of the cornerstones of the fundamental rights guaranteed, under the Constitution, to the petitioner, which is one of the leading domestic antivirus brands.

"The petitioner is being deprived of the same in view of the arbitrary and illegal conditions prescribed by the respondents in giving preference to foreign manufacturers or goods of foreign make, as against local suppliers in complete disregard of the prevailing rules," it said.

The plea contended that various MII orders clearly specify that in public procurement of less than Rs 200 crore, no global tender enquiry shall be issued and preference would be duly accorded to local suppliers.

"It is humbly submitted that the petitioner has a legitimate expectation that the government agencies will follow the MII orders in letter and spirit, however, due to non-compliance, the right of the petitioner to fairly participate in the bidding process has been negated by the restrictive and discriminatory conditions being resorted to by the respondents...," said the plea.

The plea sought a direction to stop the bid process in pursuance to the bid document dated May 12, issued by the NIC and bid document dated May 19 by the NIC, and also a direction to issue bid documents in terms of MII policy.

"Issue a writ of Mandamus, or any other appropriate direction thereby directing Respondent to forthwith direct grant of benefit of Make in India in its Tender Documents," said the plea.

 

 
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