New Delhi: The Supreme Court today allowed
the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to conduct
bidding for 94 toll plazas nationwide, but refrained it from
awarding work to the winning firms.
The Apex court`s order would affect NHAI`s work, as the
Highway regulator has already notified 35 toll centres for
bidding and is in the process of doing so for the rest.
A bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir, directed NHAI to
go ahead with the proposed bidding, under the policy of
collection of toll through open bid system, and directed it to
finalise the contracts.
However, the bench, which also comprised Justices Cyriac
Joseph and Deepak Verma, put a rider that the Authority would
not give work orders to successful bidders.
In a policy shift, NHAI has decided to award toll
collection contracts only to entities that specialise in
tolling, partnership firms, companies or cooperative
The earlier rules allowed contracts to be awarded
individuals as well.
The Court`s direction came while hearing a bunch of
petitions challenging the orders of the Allahabad High Court,
which had on July 1, 2010 stayed NHAI`s bidding on 9 toll
plazas in the state and directed it not to proceed with the
Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati, appearing for NHAI,
submitted before the apex court that the High Court`s order
was unnecessary and was hampering the work of the Highway
He said the government, as a policy, has decided to award
tenders only to entities with specialisation in tolling,
partnership firms, companies or cooperative societies.
NHAI in its petition said that according to the Ministry
of Road Transport and Highways individuals were not managing
toll plazas properly, leading to public inconvenience and a
decline in revenues.
Following that, NHAI on July 1, 2010 issued advertisement
inviting bids from entities for toll plazas in Uttar Pradesh,
a move that was challenged by contractors in the High Court.