High Court Slaps Rs 5 Lakh Penalty on Himachal Pradesh Housing Authority for Deceptive Dealings with Private Firm

In a decisive ruling, the Supreme Court has wielded its gavel, imposing a hefty fine of Rs 5 lakhs on the Himachal Pradesh Housing and Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA). The charge? A collusion of deceit with a private company, orchestrated to snag a tender under false pretenses, thus hoodwinking the High Court in the process.

Rendering a reversal of the prior High Court decision, Justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal presiding, unearthed a nefarious plot. They uncovered how HIMUDA, in cahoots with a private entity (identified as Vasu Constructions), manipulated legal channels to camouflage irregularities and illegalities stemming from the tender process. The clandestine maneuver aimed at ensuring the contract landed securely in the lap of Vasu Constructions, masquerading under the veil of a court-sanctioned order.

The court’s judgment, as articulated by Justice Bela M Trivedi, minced no words, stating unequivocally, “We have no hesitation in holding that the respondent no. 1 (HIMUDA) in collusion with the respondent no. 2 (Vasu Constructions), had taken the high court for a ride and misused the process of law for covering up the irregularities and illegalities committed in the tender process…”

The audaciousness of HIMUDA’s actions did not escape the discerning eyes of the Bench. They cast a critical gaze upon the High Court’s earlier decision, lambasting it for its oversight in approving the contract to Vasu Constructions. The High Court’s lack of due diligence and failure to heed the warnings from an independent committee were starkly evident.

Expressing incredulity at the oversight, the court remarked, “It is a matter of surprise for us that the High Court also could not notice the ill-intention of the respondents nos. 1 and 2…”

Consequently, the court ordered HIMUDA to fork over the substantial sum of Rs. 5 lakhs to the Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association within a fortnight. However, it extended a lifeline, granting HIMUDA the liberty to initiate a fresh tender process, provided it adhered scrupulously to the law and due process.

The saga unfolded against a backdrop of contention dating back to December 2018 when HIMUDA initially granted a letter of intent to Vasu Constructions for the construction of a commercial complex in Shimla. Yet, procedural irregularities marred the process, leading to its eventual cancellation amidst litigation and complaints.

Despite the convoluted legal entanglements, the Supreme Court’s verdict stands as a beacon of justice, holding accountable those who seek to manipulate the system for personal gain.

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