Tender on condoms supply challenged, HC seeks Centre's response

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response of the Centre on a plea by a condom manufacturer challenging the government's decision to award a tender for supply of male contraceptive to a state-run agency at a higher price than what the private company offered.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought response of the Centre on a plea by a condom manufacturer challenging the government's decision to award a tender for supply of male contraceptive to a state-run agency at a higher price than what the private company offered.

A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul asked the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to file a short affidavit indicating its stand and also asked it to produce the relevant records before the court on the plea of MHL Healthcare Ltd (MHL).

"Have you (Centre) rejected their (MHL) bid? You should have told them that you are not accepting their offer. File a short affidavit. Respondent shall make all relevant records available to this court," the bench said to the ministry, which was represented by Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, and listed the matter for further hearing on November 7.

MHL, an approved rate contract holder of the government for the last eight years, has challenged the award of tender for supply of condoms, which will be distributed by accredited social health activists (ASHA), to a government undertaking at a higher price than what was fixed or determined in the tendering process.

The government had floated the tender for procurement of 503 million pieces of condom in October 2013 and MHL had submitted its technical as well as price bid of Rs 206.88 per 100 pieces of condom, the petition, filed through advocate Rishi Agrawala, has said.

MHL, thereafter, qualified in the technical bid, but as its price bid was found to be on the higher side, the government had made a counter-offer of Rs 149.40 per 100 pieces and sought confirmation of the same from the company within a stipulated period.

MHL had confirmed the counter-offer, however, it recently found out that the ministry had placed an order with HLL Lifecare Ltd (a Government of India Undertaking) for 200 million pieces of condoms at a price of Rs 180.77 per 100 pieces.

The company has sought directions to the Centre to take supplies of condoms from MHL at the rate of Rs 149.40 per 100 pieces fixed by the government.

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